Women and Wine – It’s Becoming a Dangerous Combination

There is a profound change happening in the world of alcohol consumption.  Women are consuming much more alcohol than in the past.

When you go to the recycling place, you always see women recycling wine bottles.  There are countless stories of women passing around a wine flask at school functions and a great bottle of wine is now even considered an appropriate gift after the birth of a child.

You don’t have to look very far to see signs of this increase either.  There is a group on Facebook called “Moms Who Need Wine” and it has more than half a million members.  It seems as though everywhere you turn, there are t-shirts and tv shows all about adult women who depend on wine to deal with the stresses in their lives.

The tv franchise “The Real Housewives” even has several of it’s stars release their own brand of wine.

Women Are Drinking More

Each year, the United States sells more than 800 million gallons of wine and women purchase and consume most of it.

Between 1998 and 2007 there has been an increase of 30% of the number of women arrested for drunk driving.  The number of arrests of men has also increased, but only by 7%.

Poll have poll has revealed a trend that many people find surprising.  The better educated a woman is, the more likely she is to drink alcohol.   The number of women who consider themselves “regular drinkers” has also increased by nearly 10% between 1992 and 2002.

The Beginning of the Trend

The increase in the number of women who drink can be attributed to a marketing change in the 1960’s.  At that point, wine was mostly consumed in restaurants and the men were given the wine list to make a selection.  Wine was also not considered something that was consumed by the normal person because most people drank beer and spirits.  They either thought wine was too complex for them to appreciate, or they thought only winos on skid row drank wine, and then it was out of a brown paper bag.

The vineyards in California identified a market that was ripe – housewives.

When Jackie Kennedy made it to the White House in the early 1960’s, the wine business got another boost.  She gave a televised tour of The White House.  The First Lady had established a reputation for impeccable style with her clothing.  However, those designer labels were not realistic for the everyday housewives.

However, women who were looking for some way to emulate the impressive First Lady, could do one thing.  They could set their table with the same type of crystal that was highlighted in the tour.  And they did.  Then they bought wine so they could use their new favorite accessory.

Another new marketing technique was to start in-store tasting booths.  These booths were staffed by middle-aged women and they were designed so that the older women could influence the younger women into becoming wine drinkers.  They also offered advice that would help the younger women pair the perfect wine with their dinner.

In the 1970’s there were more women involved in making wine, and they created more wine’s that appealed specifically to them, and to other women.  The popular women’s magazines also picked up on the trend and frequently highlighted their magazines with tips on how to choose and serve wine to their guests.

Society Changes

The trend continued as society has changed.  More women began to attend college, which has a deserved reputation for high alcohol consumption.  More women then began to enter and remain in the workforce in positions that were formerly held by men. When this happens, women seem to replicate the drinking habits of men to help them deal with the stress.

Other studies have suggested that this increase is due to women who make the choice to stay at home with the kids.  They are stressed out because the baby is crying, they are bored and they aren’t earning their own paycheck.  Many of these began to turn to a nice glass of wine to help them deal with these problems.

These are many of the reasons for the increase in women using alcohol on a more regular basis than in the past.  Now it’s time for us to figure out how we can stop and even reverse this troubling trend.

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