A Man’s World? Nah.

There is currently a thread over on the Wine Spectator Forums about why there are fewer women that post than men, by a lot. To be honest, before reading this, I hadn’t spent too much time thinking about it. I have been posting on the bulletin boards over at Wine Spectator for over 10 years, and have both learned a lot and made many new friends

Yes, I have internet friends, and yes, some of them are listed in my contacts by their online handle, rather than their actual name. I should also mention that FKGuy also posts over there, with considerably more frequency than me. Is it odd to “meet” someone online, then actually meet them in person? No, not anymore. In fact we have been to several JDate or Match.com weddings. But eleven years ago, all online-interaction-turned-in-person-interaction seemed a bit like online dating, and I was already married, so it was weird. Fast forward a decade and now it seems perfectly normal for people we have only met online to show up at our house for dinner.

Our group of wine loving friends has expanded, and it seems that, indeed, many of the men are frequent Wine Spectator posters, while the women, not so much. It also seems like many women  – many of my friends included – go to wine dinners or events, simply because their husband wants to go. Now, I don’t think that it is a bad thing, it is just a fact. So it seems (also not much of a surprise) that I am the exception, rather than the rule. On the flip side, I do strongly believe that wine is meant for sharing, and good company and good food is far more important to the wine drinking experience than picking out the slightest hints or random favors.

So why is this the case? Is it just my friends? There are many talented women in the wine world – winemakers, bloggers, etc. So, why does it seem that women are less participatory in the discussion of wines? One of the men (who was, at one point, a stranger that showed up at my house for dinner) said “They seem to be more “I like it“, or “I don’t like it“, or sometimes “It’s just so-so.” It’s more about the moment than what’s in the glass.” Yes, it is sometimes about the moment, but the truth is women have better palates than men, and women, in general, have better senses of smell than men.

This means that, in fact, women should be, and often are, better at picking out the nuances and subtleties of a specific wine. That is, if they are interested enough.