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Lady’s Guide to Great Wine

Every time we turn around there’s another study about women and our value to the American economy. Now dubbed “super consumers,” we have more influence on every aspect of spending and saving than ever before, and with good reason! Collectively, we represent about:

  • 85% of all household spending decisions
  • 80% of all healthcare decisions
  • 50% of the American workforce and the clear majority when adjusted for self-employment
  • 60% of college enrollments
  • More than $10 trillion in managed assets

Yes, ladies, we’ve been very busy. So, when it comes to our social time, we’re also very particular. We choose our friends carefully. We plan our trips — whether a vacation abroad, a day-long hike, or a quick trip to the store — with precision. If Covid taught us anything, we’ve learned to cherish and protect our together time, and to create settings where special memories can be made. It is in this spirit we present this “Lady’s Guide to Wine”.

Women in Wine History

Originally — and through the 50s — the majority of wine made and sold in the US was fortified, sweet wine such as Muscatel, Port, and Sherry. These wines had high alcohol content and were inexpensive, and early advertising presented them as a sweet mealtime drink, though they really were (and still are) dessert wines. In 1934 the Wine Institute of America opened and tried to reeducate Americans away from dessert wines and toward table wines. It was a struggle — until two key events happened in 1962.

  • The first was on February 14, when First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy gave a televised tour of a renovated White House. In it, she included the beautifully set dining room, complete with wine glasses at each table setting. The market for glasses immediately surged and wine purchases started to increase.
  • The second was February 26: Julia Child’s first broadcast of The French Chef. Julia always ended the show with a glass of wine to enjoy the meal she had just prepared.

These two women transformed the occasional glass of wine to an art form and made it an integral part of entertaining and enjoyment with every meal.

photos of Jackie Kennedy and Julia Child with wine


From Setting the Table to Building Community, Women Hold Sway

From the casual ladies’ lunch to more formal holiday dinners and everything in between, a great glass of wine is always part of the plan. Whether you’re in a restaurant, around your kitchen island, or in your backyard, there’s a sense of pageantry that goes with popping a cork and pouring that first glass. Your community is with you and for a short time, all’s right with the World. No wonder wine is referred to as the language of love. It even seems to taste better when shared with those you love.

An impressive 55% of all wine purchases are made by women, and 42% of those women are millennials. It’s a surprising statistic since the vast majority of us are intimidated when we walk into a wine shop or look at the wine list in a restaurant.

  • Why are we most comfortable grabbing a bottle or two from the grocery shelves and quietly mumbling “This’ll do,” when it’s easier than you think to find the perfect pairing for your budget, lifestyle, and setting?
  • If you love a great glass of wine as much as we do, but recognize your wine routine is a bit stale, here’s your chance to simplify the process of choosing and enjoying great wine.

What does your perfume say about your wine preferences?

Fun Fact: Women have better palates than men! We’re able to pick up more scents and tastes, meaning we have a more sensory experience with things like wine and perfume. So, is it possible that your favorite perfume will determine your favorite wine? Some experts say, “Yes!” – or, at least it can be a fun exploration. Our tongues can sense sweet and sour, bitter and salty tastes. But our sense of smell governs up to 80% of what we perceive as “flavor”. See what your perfume says about you:

chart that aligns perfume preference with wine taste

Dining Out

Ordering wine in a restaurant doesn’t have to be intimidating once you know a few “insider” tips. Arm yourself with the knowledge you need to order wine in a restaurant with confidence!

How to order wine like a PRO!

  • Plan Ahead. Most good restaurants have their wine list on their website. Know before you go!
  • Take Control. Most people don’t like to be in charge of ordering wine for the table and will gladly yield the task to you — so ask for it.
  • Consider Everyone. Ask your friends if they have a preferred wine/color or meal selection and plan accordingly. Remember – five glasses to a bottle, so depending on party size, consider a variety.
  • Take Your Time. Don’t be intimidated by the sommelier. They WANT to help you, so smile when you see them coming. Maybe narrow your selection to two and ask for the Somm’s recommendation. Everyone will be impressed.


Hot Tip: BYOB and Corkage Fees

In some geographies like Pennsylvania and New Jersey, BYOB restaurants are common. That’s great because the wine markup in restaurants is usually two (and in some cases up to four) times the list price. If you have a favorite wine you’d like to share with friends and would rather not buy from the wine list, you can always call your restaurant ahead of time and ask if they have a corkage fee. Many restaurants do.

So if it’s a special occasion and you’re popping a $100 bottle with your beloved and paying a $30 corkage fee, you’re still saving at least $70 by not ordering the exact same bottle off the menu. This is especially worthwhile if you’re pulling finer, older vintages out of your cellar for special occasions.

group of women drinking wine


One of the best ways to share your passion for (and knowledge of) wine is entertaining at home. Don’t worry about trying to choose wines that will please every palate. Proudly serve your favorites, expertly paired with foods you love.

Expert Tips from the Pros

  • Proper Temperatures No thermometer needed! Don’t let your whites get too cold or your reds get too warm.
  • Lean into the Pageantry Engage your friends in opening the wines and sharing why you chose each one. Maybe it was a secret gem you found or your favorite for whatever food you’re preparing.
  • Use a Decanter Nothing impresses guests like a beautiful wine decanter. For red wines, they serve the important purpose of aerating the wine to open flavors and aromas. But you can decant white wines, too, because – well, decanters are cool. If you do, choose a narrow beaker style because white wines don’t really need to “breathe” in the same way. Decanters can be a beautiful part of your table décor when open bottles aren’t welcome.
  • Large Format Bottles A magnum of your favorite wine is a real crowd-pleaser. Large-format bottles are very accessible and surprisingly affordable when ordering directly from wineries.

Buy Wine Like a Pro

One of the best ways to share your passion for (and knowledge of) wine is entertaining at home. Don’t worry about trying to choose wines that will please every palate. Proudly serve your favorites, expertly paired with foods you love.

Not everyone is lucky enough to live in California or a designated wine region where you can pick up your favorite bottles from the winery. The vast majority of wine shoppers continue to purchase wines from either a wine/liquor store or a grocery store. In fact, so many of us grab a bottle in a grocery store, and larger chains have the buying power to offer a deal or two. Each wine drinker consumes an average of two cases of wine in a single year. That volume is enough to keep lots of wine moving from the shelves of retail shops. 

But what you should know about buying wine in a grocery store (and most larger wine shops) is that you will never be able to truly expand your wine skills and knowledge beyond knowing your favorite grape varietal. That’s because:

  • Unless you shop the “super secret corner” of the wine shop, you’ll only be offered current vintages. Like amazing women, wine becomes more interesting with age. Once you fall in love with a varietal or two, take the time to learn about the wineries that make wines of that varietal (in different parts of the world) and start to explore various vintages. If you’re a red wine drinker, once you discover the magic of wines that are 5-10 years old, you’ll never shop in a grocery store again – unless your relatives are coming for the holidays!
  • Grocery stores are often selling wines provided by their distributor. Wine is often controlled by state law, and distributors are the companies authorized to sell wine to wine shops, grocery stores, and other retail outlets and restaurants. Your grocery store is the distributor’s customer, and they decide your selection. Given that there are more than 16,000 wineries in the US and the vast majority of them only sell their wines online or at their cellar door, do you ever wonder what you might be missing?


View the rest of our guide as a PDF to read about wine quality, acquiring great wine, and wine as an investment.

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