Drink Magazine

I’ve Been Thinking About This “Lite Wine for Women,” and I’m Not So Happy

By Jodiaz

I’ve been thinking about this “Lite Wine for Women,” and I’m not so happy

Yeah, yeah, I know… Guys love “lite” beer, targeted at men who have developed an extra pack. “Drink as much, but at a fraction of the calories.” Seems like something so great. I’ve always felt there’s something wrong with “diet” food, though. Eating and drinking “on a diet” is not eating and drinking as a “lifestyle”… A commitment to putting the best stuff in our little engines, so we get the best performance. (Would you put dumbed-down gasoline in a Pantera?

And… Wine isn’t beer, so forget the “lite,” or “light,” or anything else you want to call it. We call it “plonk.”

I’ve written about this before… lite wine targeted at women, and I’m still not buying it.

I’ve spent my whole life dedicated to jumping on the scale every morning to see what my weight is. If it’s not where I want it to be, I make the daily sacrifice to get it back where it belongs… against all odds:

  • foods and beverages with daily caloric intake
  • womenopause – nothing men about it, guys, so I invented my own name
  • and gravity… Oh yeah, gravity…

Does anyone really believe that I’m going to jump all over “lite wine?”  Not a chance in a blizzard, I’m happy to say.

Why?

Simple: Manipulation of what was meant to be….

After readying Monday’s story on Bloomberg.com: Wines Targeting Women Are Long on Legs, Short on Flavor, “According to the new “girly-wine” brand marketers, we want to be skinny, to toss our hair playfully like ponies as we pick our bottles to match moods, not foods. We also crave an easy-sipping flavor profile with a naughty edge of sweetness. ” Baloney, ” I say. Women of a sound mind, body, and spirit want to do the work (drinking a wine without “lite” manipulation).

I ask:  Wouldn’t you have to drink twice as much to get that over-all glowing feeling of camaraderie that normal wine brings? Wouldn’t you have to enjoy twice or three times as much of the reduced alcohol, to get back to where you used to start to get “the glow?”

Real women want real wine; not some gimmicky come hither, “We got less calories for you and a bit of sweetener.” God only knows what that can be, since it’s less caloric than a normal glass of wine; is it watered down so there’s less sugar? It all sounds very uninviting. Maybe it’s my age, not being able to innovate at such a younger level. Maybe it’s just me having a developed palate that knows this is just wrong for me… Maybe I need to get with the times? (I think not, though.)

I just got an Email this morning about another new brand, not the one in yesterday’s story. It read:

___ Light stands up to taste tests. Bursting with fruity aromas and a touch of sweetness, it’s a fresh choice which can be enjoyed at every occasion, plus it has the added benefit of containing less calories and alcohol than your usual glass of wine. With just 60 calories per glass, that’s 30 per cent less than a standard glass of wine, and less than one unit of alcohol per 125ml serving, the crisp flavours of its Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grapes are perfect to enjoy on its own or with a Mediterranean fish stew; with the Shiraz Rose an ideal partner to fresh ‘superfood’ salads.

So, one more thing. I’m gong to share the comments from a woman wine writers’ group that I belong to. What they have to say is very telling of lots of things. With their permission:

Enobytes: “I understand the promoter’s vision of zeroing in on the 20-30 year old demographic. However, I think it is a failed attempt at realistic marketing. The emphasis of amusing banter over quality is disrespectful to all. Besides, I completed my hair flipping, playing with pony days when I was four.”

Rachel Humphrey Voorhees: This is totally insulting. I for one enjoy big, bold badass wines. Not watered down crap.

Sandy Barrett: Me, too, no whimpy wines for me.

Catie McIntyre Walker: This isn’t the first time, about five years ago or more a large wine company in California (I think) seemed to think they knew the answer to what women really wanted – trying to remember the wine, I think it was called “O” and it was a watered down, low calorie Chardonnay. Ugh for the wine and ugh for the insult. I am a fan of big ol’ tannic reds, myself.  Same with non-alcoholic wine. If that is all I will ever have left – give me a diet Coke.

Dana: um extremely insulting.

Caroline: Well girlies, when I spoke to Mr Augustin for my naked Champagne article he told me Zero Dosage would take off because… women think it has no calories??!! Though this did offend me I thought about it for a while, paged through some girly magazines and came up with the following theory: There are 2 types of women, the dumb ones who only care about their figure and looks and the rest of us. Category 1 is the easiest to influence as they do not ask too many questions, so the “watered down, low calorie wines” is aimed at them. They are the same girls who buy all the trashy magazines and are totally obsessed by the way they look – best it is like one of the many celebs, because their looks will get them a rich guy and turn them into a desperate or OC house wife. So however much we women in this group may feel offended by this , we have to accept there are the other women out there who live their lives that way :-( And those women don’t really know about wine, nor do they care about it, they just drink it cause it is fashionable and if it has less calories and not too strong a flavor so much the better:-) Would like to add that not only women are divided in 2 halves, I feel we have the cavemen and the rather more sophisticated men as well. However as the cavemen do not hang out in the circles we do, we often forget they exist;-)

Catie: Dumb ones: it goes even deeper than that. After all these years that sulfites are not the problem for headaches, I still hear women tell me they can only drink white wine because of all of the sulfites in red wine. Then when you try to tell them (and why – with a simple chem lesson) there are more sulfites in white wines and the processed French fries they just gobbled down with ketchup (also with sulfites), they stare at me like I have three heads. Interesting as I have never had a man tell me that – only women. One more thing: Caroline talking about the OC Housewife. I will admit to my secret little vice of watching that TV show. It’s like a train wreck a coming … two different occasions they have gone wine tasting and I was mortified of not only their behavior, but also while they want to be all sophisticated because of OC, their savviness about wine was zero. Now because they have visited a tasting room at least twice now, they have started their own line of wines. The launch party was awful – they knew zero about their wines and used horrible little cheap glasses with thick rims. Where was the Riedel? Okay, I am ranting …

Melanie: I thought it was an interesting exercise when Bart O’Brien launched Seduction, a very bold red blend in early 2000. But, he made good wines. Clearly it took off because there is now a line that is targeted toward women (Flirtaton, etc., which I think jumped the shark, but I haven’t tried). Normally I’d say women don’t – at least none of the women we know — but I attended a birthday trip to Sonoma with an old friend and her friends who I didn’t know. We spent hours at Sonoma Cutrer (blowing off several small vineyards per her request) because it was “playdate wine.” I about stuck a fork in my eye.

 


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