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Women's Wine-Drinking Habits Examined in Global Vinexpo Survey

U.S. women prefer red wine and most often buy based on grape variety and price, according to WineSpectator.com results

Dana Nigro
Posted: April 28, 2009

Women in the United States who frequently drink wine tend to prefer red wine, drink it most often with meals and make their purchasing decisions based on grape variety and price, according to a survey conducted online by WineSpectator.com.

The WineSpectator.com survey of women's wine-drinking habits and attitudes toward wine was conducted in partnership with Vinexpo as part of a larger global survey of more than 4,300 women in France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Vinexpo, organizers of the world's largest wine and spirits trade exhibition, which is held in Bordeaux every two years (the 2009 event is this June), joined forces with different publications in each country. (Polling methods varied by country, depending on the publication.)

Among the U.S. respondents, 93 percent said that they drink wine at least once a week. When they do, it's most often with meals (80 percent)—also the most common occasion for all the women surveyed globally—and/or to relax at the end of the day (67 percent).

When asked to choose up to two reasons why they drink wine, 92 percent of the American women said they like the taste, while 71 percent said because it goes well with food—also the most common reasons among global respondents. Image is not a key concern; less than 2 percent of American women and 11 percent globally said they drink wine because it's fashionable. In addition, 97 percent of the U.S. respondents believe that wine is compatible with a healthy, balanced diet.

The vast majority of the American women, 79 percent, typically choose red wine over white or rosé. Red was the preference of 60 percent of all the women surveyed globally.

For the Americans, the two most important factors in choosing a wine are the grape variety (68 percent) and the price (56 percent); women globally cited those factors nearly equally along with country of origin (all 56 to 57 percent). Women who considered label and package design to be important were in the minority: only 4 percent among the Americans and 22 percent of all women surveyed. American women also said that they more often like to try new wines (65 percent) than to buy a wine they have had before and liked (35 percent).

Just over 84 percent of the U.S. respondents buy most of their wine in a specialty wine shop, though most women purchase from multiple sources. Able to choose a second answer to the question, 30 percent said they bought wine from supermarkets, 24 percent in restaurants, 22 percent direct from wineries and 9 percent on the Internet. Globally, most women also preferred buying from wine shops, but in an interesting distinction with the United States, 64 percent reported buying wine in supermarkets and 21 percent online. Fewer Americans may turn to these sources partly due to the state laws restricting supermarket sales of wine and regulating Internet sales and shipments of wine.

When they do buy from a retail store, 66 percent of the U.S. women spend an average of between $11 and $20 per bottle, while another 26 percent typically spend between $21 and $50.

For advice in choosing wines, the American women said they most often turn to wine merchants (46.2 percent). Respondents were able to select two answers to this question; many also said they consult newspapers or magazines (35.7 percent) or sources on the Internet (26 percent), relatives or friends (22 percent) and sommeliers or waiters (15 percent). And 33 percent said they make their own choices without help from others. Globally, more women chose on their own or turned to a relative or a friend for tips (both 44 percent).

The 431 women surveyed in the United States ranged in age from 21 to more than 60 years old, with the largest segment, 38 percent, ranging from 31 to 45 years old.

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