It seems to me that Women’s Day is now light years away from remembering the brave actions of women in the 50’s. It’s more an excuse for every brand to make tenuous links to their product, often in a sexist and puerile fashion, in the hope that sales will ensue, and wine is quite as bad as the next brand. So, inspired by beer-writer Lucy Corne’s article on how to Piss off a Woman who Drinks Beer. Here are 5 assumptions that people really shouldn’t make about women when it comes to wine. Especially not this month
1. It’s the man who orders and tastes wine in a restaurant.
I will say that I have experienced a slight improvement in the former with most wine lists now being offered to all diners or at least left hedging its bets in the middle of the table. But the idea of a woman tasting the wine when it’s brought to the table EVEN if she was the one who ordered it? Nope, clearly still a revolutionary concept. And one which reduces your tip to zero if you do it to me.
2. Describing a wine as ‘feminine’.
I don’t even need to go after this one on a feminist hobbyhorse – I can simply slay this monster on the grounds of inaccuracy. Because what do you mean by feminine? Are you talking Mother Theresa? She was a woman. Or do you mean Emmeline Pankhurst, Lilian Ngoyi, Michelle Obama, Billie Jean King, Joan of Arc, Albertina Sisulu and the lady with the bloody lamp? No, you mean Charlize and Scarlett, Beyonce and Kim – pretty, girly, delicate cos that’s obviously what girlies like to drink. Speaking of which…
3. Thinking that anything pink, sweet, low-calorie, low-alcohol, fizzy, with a bow on it, with a naked fireman on it, with a twee name, with lace, with a pink label, with any other shade of pink anywhere in or on the bottle is what women want to drink.
No, no, no, no – how patronising, how assumptive, how crass, how ignorant. And how unlikely to secure the wine-spend of most women I know. And continuing on this vein….
4. No fortifieds for females.
Nope – apparently not when it comes to port or port-styled wines anyway! Sickly-sweet brown sherry and fortified muscadels are fine for chickies, but if you want to drink port, it seems you still need a beard. And let’s not start on the sexist-marketing of brandy – what, you think no woman likes a tot of fine brandy at the end of her evening too? Oh mind you, she’s not even present at those all-boys club meetings, business dinners and comradely drinks at the bar which go on in all these adverts because clearly she’s at home ironing nappies and drinking sweet pink fizz instead.
5. Hijacking Women’s Day to talk about wine.
Yeah, I know, mea culpa as much as the next journo, but hey, why not when everyone else is? It’s not that I object to wine brands jumping on the bandwagon of Women’s Day as such – it’s a tough sell out there and every little helps. But why don’t they make real connections instead of entirely-spurious and sexist links? Like Warwick Wines – they have a genuine link, promoting the first female winemaker in SA and member of the Cape Winemakers Guild, Norma Ratcliffe. Or push the fact that your wine brand supports women’s empowerment initiatives or education projects, not just that it should be sipped after a pedicure with some chocolate on the side.
Rant over and I shall take a good slug of a non-pink, non-fizzy, normal-caloried, dry wine to recover. And will raise a toast to the legions of strong, empowered, kick-ass women all around the world – more power to your collective elbows wherever you are!
- Cathy Marston