Is a Wine Made by a Man Worth More or Less Than One Made by a Woman?

Academics in Bordeaux decided to run a survey. We read the report to save you having to do so. 

Reading time: 1m 30s

Respondents were asked to say what they would pay for each of these
Respondents were asked to say what they would pay for each of these

Would a wine drinker pay more or less for a bottle, depending on the gender of its producer? This may not be the kind of question that has crossed many people’s minds but, as the French newspaper Liberation reported, it clearly interested Alicia Gallais and Florine Livat of the Kedge business school in Bordeaux. In April 2021, they ran an online survey of 1,000 French and 500 Belgian wine drinkers who were presented with 10 options.

There were images of five pairs of differently labelled reds from ‘Chateau Lesvignes’ in the Graves region of Bordeaux. One pair had no producer’s name; another gave the name of a male vigneron – Georges Cadieux – with the third naming a female producer – Nathalie Panetier. The remaining two pairs declared, respectively, that they were made by the evidently female, but identity-free, 'Femivin', and by the – neutrally gendered – Vignerons Indépendants.

The report of the study frankly declares that “the gender of the winemaker matters in wine valuation.” And this was the message that Libération chose for its headline. In fact, however, further reading of the conclusions reveals no such thing as, to its credit, Vitisphère reflected in the way it covered the story. Given the choice between a wine made by Georges or Natalie, the respondents expressed no greater readiness to pay a higher price for either. They were also happy to pay a full price for wine bearing the name of les Vignerons Indépendants - a well-established organisation.

The apparently negative reaction to wines supposedly made by women referred to the lower value given to the bottles labelled as having been made by 'Femivin' which, if they'd tried googling it (this was an online survey after all) participants would have discovered to be an 'intimate wash for women'.

In other words, the only real lesson to be drawn from the research is that a random selection of French-speaking wine drinkers liked the idea of purchasing wine from a human being of either gender equally, but weren’t particularly inclined to buy it from a very specific brand of soap.

The report was published by Cambridge University Press and the Journal of Wine Economics, and will presumably be widely quoted by other academics who are pursuing this line of enquiry. Hopefully some of them may delve a little deeper.

Interviews Wine

In 2011, Caro Maurer was the first German-speaking woman to achieve the prestigious Master of Wine (MW) title. She spoke with Alexandra Wrann about the rocky road that got her there, this year’s symposium of the Institute of Masters of Wine in Wiesbaden and the fight against climate change.

Reading time: 10m 30s



Latest Articles