I am guilty. I enjoy that glass of wine after a long day of multi-tasking at work. I usually pour it when I am cooking dinner. For me that glass of wine signals relief and a time to relax, decompress, and enjoy the evening with my partner. I am far from alone in my love of (and often need for) wine.
A 100 year-old Maine woman recently said that wine is the secret to her long life! Wine drinking almost seems to be a female ritual — at home, in social situations, and in restaurants and bars worldwide. Wine is seen as a “classy,” acceptable alcoholic beverage. A Wine Market Council report proclaims wine is winning with women, who account for 57% of wine volume in the U.S. More women than men drink wine. Statistics show that female wine drinkers are mostly Millennials, urban educated professionals, and more ethnically diverse.
According to the Wine Institute, “women have put a new face on the wine industry, taking lead roles in sales, marketing, hospitality and distribution.” Women are now winemakers, winegrowers, and oenologists. Women are even entering the once male-dominated field of wine sommelier in record numbers. In fact, 80% of sommeliers in Japan, Sweden, and Russia are women.
On the consumer side, wine is the “Mother’s Little Helper” of Millennials and GenXers. “Mommy juice” symbolizes peace for overworked and over-stressed women and frazzled moms everywhere. Wine-related Facebook pages and groups like Wine Sisterhood. Wine Woman, Wine Ho’s, Wine Mavens, Women Who Wine, Coffee, Wine, Mommy Time, the Mommy Wine Down, and OMG I So Need A Glass of Wine or I’m Gonna Sell My Kids are among the most popular. Wine makers continue to target us specifically with brands like Girls Night Out, Mommy’s Time Out, Little Black Dress, and Lula B. Some 26% of us have purchased wines that have been created for and marketed specifically to women, according to the WMC Female Wine Drinker Survey 2015.
Targeting women on its website, Mad Housewife Cellars asks, “What’s domestic bliss without a little wine?” The company’s philosophy, “Above all else, wine should be fun, relaxing, and something you can afford to look forward to at the end of each and every day. This is your time; Time to enjoy a moment to yourself; a moment without the madness. Wine should never intimidate, make you think too hard, or create a new line item in your budget.”
Wine has a lighter alcohol content at 12% compared to 40% than in hard liquors. Add to that a lower calorie count and perceived health benefits, and it’s no wonder we’re flocking to the beverage in staggering numbers. Wine is “less threatening to the middle class ideal of the nurturing, stable mother. The danger here is that wine becomes a relatively acceptable crutch for dealing with the numerous demands society places on women, evading the importance of addressing women’s mental health and normalizing potential indications of substance abuse,” says femmagazine.com.
In an article in The Huffington Post, Emma Gray wrote, “Wine means different things to different women. It may make us feel beautiful, or be what helps us calm down or open up or connect with our peers. Often women’s emotional connection to wine is benign and positive, but as with any substance, there is a darker side to the daily rite. And whereas no one would hesitate to declare that someone who was kicking back glasses of vodka on the rocks every night had a problem, doing so with wine seems more harmless and is unquestionably more socially acceptable.”
“Over the last decade many female writers have discussed the way alcohol — and wine in particular — has become a way for women to get through the day, especially when that day includes an increasing number of tasks and roles and the pressure to complete them all with a smile on your face,” Gray writes. Unfortunately, using wine as a reward for making it through the day can lead to consequences and greater risks like Alcohol Use Disorder.
In the United States, one “standard” drink is 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism warns women about the dangers of drinking beyond moderation. Women weigh less than men and have less water in their bodies where alcohol resides. “Women’s drinking patterns are different from men’s — especially when it comes to how much and how often they drink. Women’s bodies also react differently to alcohol than men’s bodies. That means women face particular health risks from alcohol.”
Among women’s health risks are liver damage and inflammation and heart disease. Additionally, women who have one drink per day also have a 10% greater chance of developing breast cancer compared to non-drinking women. Any drinking during pregnancy is risky, putting a fetus at increased risk for learning, behavioral, and other problems. So, if you find yourself wanting or needing more than the occasional glass of wine, you might want go discuss it with your health professional.
All books are available at amazon.com. Click on title to learn more.
Women of Wine: The Rise of Women in the Global Wine Industry
by Ann B. Matasar
We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True
by Gabrielle Union
If You Give a Mommy a Glass of Wine
by Renee Charytan and Rick Van Hattum
Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol
by Ann Dowsett Johnston
Wine Market Council Unveils New Stats on Consumer Wine Consumption Habits – Winebusiness.com
Lori Leibovich: A Glass of Wine – Realsimple.com
On Women and Wine – Femmagazine.com
Women, Drinking, and Wine-as-reward Culture – bostonglobe.com
Women Spur New Trend in Wine Marketing – wineinstitute.org
Why Women Have A Complicated Love Affair With Wine – huffingtonpost.com
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