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Grape and Wine Conference

What women want

Survey results provide somemarketing insights thatmany wine producersmight not have expected. By Susan McIver


hen it comes to wine, women’s tastes and

preference are not what you might expect, and they also make a surprising impact on wine sales despite much marketing being directed towards men.

Those were the findings of a recent nationwide survey on women and wine conducted by Lisa Stewart of Brandleap Marketing in Kelowna.

“Women make 83 percent of the household purchases of wine. Get to know what they want,” Lisa told workshop participants at the recent B.C. Wine Grape Council annual conference.

Most wineries are owned by men who make decisions on what they like. In general, the women who responded to Stewart’s survey were well-educated, married or in a relationship, lived in households with a combined annual income of more than $100,000 and were within the 30 to 55 age bracket.

They assessed themselves as having an intermediate level of knowledge of wines.

Reds topped the list of wines preferred by respondents. In descending order they were Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Syrah/Shiraz.

Whites occupied the next six spots, again in descending order, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Champagne, Gewurztraminer and Chardonnay.

22 British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Fall 2011 SUSAN MCIVER

Lisa Stewart, right, of Brandleap Marketing, conducted a nationwide survey on women and wine. Pictured here during the B.C. Wine Grape Council annual conference, she shares a laugh with Tari DiBello, left, of DiBello Wines in Summerland, and Darlene Freding, of Saddle Ridge Vineyard in Oliver.

The vast majority of respondents said they did not have any sensitivity to either red or white wines.

“Women don’t buy brands, they join them. They need to feel connected and they want control and options,” Stewart said. “Cleanliness is also important.” They want to know about the grower and how the wine is produced, in addition to the qualities of the wine itself.

Women more often will ask questions when deciding on a purchase than men and they will more readily believe information received from another woman than from a man. “Women trust women. It’s important to have both women and men working in your wine shop,” Stewart said. The top influence affecting a woman’s wine purchase is having heard about it from friends.

Speaking with a

knowledgeable person at the winery ranked second, followed by recommen- dations from wine merchants, type of wine and the price point. A large majority of respondents said label design is the single most attracting feature of wine packaging.

If the washroom in a wine shop isn’t perfect, women will begin to question how the grapes are handled.

The same principle holds true at produce stands and restaurants.

The smart retailer will provide services tailored to women.

“If you have a cellar door club, make sure there is

parking nearby or preferably have someone available to do carry-outs,” she said.

When asked which national media source influenced their wine purchases, more than half of the women surveyed replied “none”.

Some women, however, are influenced by websites, blogs and reviews by acclaimed wine critics. Women over 55 years are twice as likely to use Facebook as are men of the same age, and they are the fastest growing demographic joining the social networking site.

About half the respondents over 50 said they own an iPhone or a Smartphone. “You might want to consider an encompassing electronic marketing program,” Stewart said. Complete survey results are available from her at

Since the beginning of BC Wines, Flory Bosa has devoted her talents to ensuring the best supplies for her customers. Flory joined the industry in 1989, and worked with the BC Amateur Winemaker Association. Today she serves the needs of small, medium and large wineries. If you want to get the best from your grapes, come to Bosa. Where wine, and winemakers, matter.

6908 Palm Avenue Burnaby BC 6044739463

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