What women don’t want…

French wine marketers have been rightfully pilloried for not knowing up from down in terms of marketing low- to mid-range wines. And now for something completely different: Wine for women. Roll the tape:

“We offer different wines to drink for a variety of occasions, whether it is a girls’ night out, individual tasting pleasure, a romantic dinner, after love making, or a business success.” [WineSight brochure via Decanter]

“After love making”? Zey are so French! Does a man need a separate bottle for such an occasion, a big zin?

And isn’t this deja-vu? Oh yes, Beringer rolled out “White Lie” a few years ago, which, mercifully, cannot be found now. And a magazine called Wine Adventure, marketed as “the first ever wine magazine for women,” barely lasted a year after its 2005 roll-out.

No matter. British retailer Marks & Spencer seem to think marketing to women will aid the sales of a pink port for “ladies.” Have your say about gendered wine products in the latest poll!

poll now closed

Related: “Mourvedre: the next big red?

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19 Responses to “What women don’t want…”

  1. Ugh.

    I wish I could express my disgust in more languages. This post inspired quite a rant on my blog.. thanks for lighting the fire 🙂

  2. I tried White Lie, it was worthless.

  3. Brilliant, they should come up with some sort of glass shoe in which to bottle it in. Jackpot!

  4. How about a chocolate shoe?


  5. What exactly will happen to a man if he drinks a “woman’s” wine? Should he take some prenatal vitamins too and live life on the wild side?

  6. The worst offender was always Sutter Home’s “Little Pink Box”:


    A woman I know who runs wine tastings hated the whole concept. “What the hell is that, a box of tampons?”

    Things like this and the single-serving Sofia cans are insulting to women who love good wine, and are often far more expensive than the crap White Zin and wine coolers consumed by women who want their beverages cold, sweet, and not tasting like wine.

    On the other hand, I appreciate some of the marketing concepts towards guys–Jarhead Red, the Fess Parker wine with Davy Crockett on the front, Red Truck, etc. Especially here in the south, sometimes it helps to bring along one of these “manly wines” to a BBQ where some guy is willing to try wine for the first time because there’s a rusty pickup truck on the label. At least there’s real wine inside the bottles, and not some carbonated sugar concoction masquerading as wine.

  7. While I possess XY chromosomes, I would think that most self-respecting women would be rather insulted by pink port. I also recall White Lie and wrote a rant against it on my old blog (only to get a couple of angry replies from women).

    Last I checked, women already buy a substantial majority of the wine in the United States already. I don’t think they need help from pink packaging. At most, some would probably appreciate well-meaning confidence boosters when it comes to higher-priced wine, but quite a few men could use the same help.

  8. “”

    How’s that for wine marketing?? And, apparently, it works– I have had quite a few women tell me they love it!

  9. oops– I tried to post the image.. here’s the link: http://thedish.blogs.com/content/images/bitch_barossa_grenache_2004.jpg

  10. haha funny, all.

    Lacey, at least the “Bitch” label is edgy, which definitely counts for a lot.

  11. Just some more information on Sublimelle approach:

    Women and men have generally a different sense of wines as it has been showed by different experiences (last in date an experience made by the famous Gault et Millau in may 2007).

    It has been also scientifically proven that women have naturally a better sense of smell and taste than men which result in the fact that women tend to prefer wines with a very large range of aromas, subtle, supple and harmonious.

    As there are perfumes dedicated to women or men, it is obvious that there is an interest in wines dedicated to women or men

    Sublimelle is a selection of natural French wines carefully choosen and not a range of wines specially made.

    The Sublimelle labels are not pink because the artist who designed them who is a woman don’t like the colour pink.

  12. So do Sublimelle’s marketing team equate perfume and wine?

    Yanis posted a similar comment on my blog, to which I replied, in part:

    “By creating a wine specifically for women’s tastes you insult the palates of male wine drinkers and wine professionals as well as female wine drinkers who have the ability to choose their own wine. You imply that these women need help picking a wine that will appeal to their superior sense of smell and taste. I’m sure every other winery in the history of the world thinks their wine is suitable for discerning tastes, both male and female.

    Rereading your comment, I can’t help but wonder: are men’s palates too unrefined for your wines?”

    I was just about to head over here to see if you’d weigh in, Doc, but Yanis beat me to it. Your thoughts on this?

  13. does, not do. I promise, I passed English 101.

  14. Dear Marissa,

    I have never insulted anyone except in some situations as everyone can do in current life and I am not proud of this. I have always thought that the most important standard in life is the respect to others.

    Women have generally a better natural (and I insist on generally and natural) sense of smell and taste than men: this is the result of numerous scientific ressearchs that you can easily find in the web. It is also obvious that,as any sense, it can be improved by practising. If you have a problem with this, please send a complain to the Nature.

    Sublimelle is a range of various French wines that have been selected according to certain common characteristics. That’s all. You can like them or not: palate is as unique as fingerprint and in wines there is many thruths.

  15. What about “Little Black Dress” wine? Marketed to women in their 20’s and 30’s, with slightly better than Cosmo and Sex in the City style, and tie-ins with E! channel.
    I’ve barely graduated beyond Yellow Tail, but I can tell you right now, LBD Merlot was *horrible* nasty wine. The only non flat thing about it was that the bottle is round.
    My comparisons? Whistle Stop red, Kestrel Drop Dead Red (and Lady in Red as well) etc. Middle of the road, “cheap” drinkable reds(albeit blends….)
    They might not be super shishi wines, but I would rather drink Mad Dog 20/20 than another bottle of LBD Merlot. Yuck.

  16. FEH. Gender branded booze is uniformly gross (see: Bud Lite, wine coolers).

  17. Jeff on HBO’s ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ has a phrase: “It’s a big ball of wrong”. I think that idea describes the pink/woman friendly phenomenon perfectly. As a woman working in the wine industry, this “pink” trend rankles me to no end.

    What’s next, pink beer?? (This would not go over well with a woman who often drinks Guinness…)

    Here’s my idea: Make good wine, and let people decide whether they like it or not, regardless of gender. What a concept!!!

  18. […] game for the title. Games also of note: White Lie and Wine Sight might be a catfight in the “wine for women” pairing; Noel Pinguet (Huet) vs Nicolas Joly in a biodynamic show-down; and Leeuwin Estate […]

  19. […] bold prediction: these will go the way of Beringer’s White Lie and the French WineSight. Dammit, marketers, gendered approaches to marketing are best left to important things like razors […]


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