Welcome to Mark O’Neill’s Wine Blog

During this period of lockdown sales of wine online have increase significantly. At this point I have to declare a personal interest as the owner of an online wine store called The Wine Place. The title of this article is ‘who buys wine?’. According to Bodeboca, the largest online wine store in Spain, the majority of wine buyers online are male (86%) between 30 and 45 years old (50%).

Yet at The Wine Place we have nearly the opposite taking place in terms of who buys wine. Most of our online customers are women, approximately 70%, who in terms of age, they never age! I know that we all are very sceptical about statistics given the avalanche of information we receive daily during quarantine. However, there are reasons why I think we attract more women than men.

When on holidays, in general men would rather walk very slowly in bare feet over hot coals than ask for directions. While for most women, asking the way to find a street or building is not a big deal. The same can be said when it comes to asking about wine.

Our selection of wine is distinctive because they are wines from all over the world, consequently, many if not most, customers are unfamiliar with the names, grapes and regions. So it is a good idea to ask. For many men, instead of asking they stay away and prefer to stick to the wines they know, from Rioja and something local to where they were born.

What we find is that not knowing is a good thing for many women who are curious to discover new wines, because while they may not have the wine knowledge, they are prepared to ask and listen, without having to demonstrate they know more.

In the world of wine just whenever you think you know a lot, it is time to go and read some more. The people I enjoy talking to about wine are those who are curious and want to learn and discover for themselves the styles of wines they enjoy, and are prepared to go beyond their comfort zones to taste wines that are slightly different.

Going back to ‘asking directions’, I find that the majority of men want to tell me about what they know and which wines are, in their view, the best. Whereas, the majority of women have a different attitude, they want to know about the wines, they are awake the fact that choosing a wine is personal, also if the advice you give is good, then they are more open to try new wines and continue on a never ending road of discovery.

In normal times we hold regular tastings, and when I am talking about and tasting a new wine, I say to people that you need to relax, allow yourself not to know and trust your senses in order to discover the nuances and complexity of a wine. By the way, the sense of smell is the least developed of our senses. For many men this is too much of a challenge. So they don’t discover new experiences because the need to be right is more important that the need to not allow yourself not to know.

Another reason why I think we have more women returning as customers is because they tend not to find and a particular wine and stick with it. They are prepared to explore and learn by making comparisons. There are thousands of different wines from thousands of different place. A good wine will take you to that place.

Foto de Kelsey Chance on Unsplash

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I am a Northern Irishman based in Valencia. My career in wine began more than three decades ago, in London. I am the founder of TheWinePlace.es, an online store, where wine enthusiasts can enjoy a selection of international wines and Verde Marte, a company dedicated to exporting Spanish wines. Also, Thewineplace.courses, an "approved program provider" of the courses of the prestigious WSET. I share my passion for wines through my media work writing weekly columns for the Spanish newspaper El Mundo and 5 Barricas, an online wine magazine.

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