Women now the top wine consumers in Germany

The majority of wine drinkers in Germany are now female, according to research from Geisenheim University. Professor Gergely Szolnoki presented this and other wine market insights at the Meininger's International Conference, held the day before ProWein.

Professor Dr Gergely Szolnoki, Geisenheim University
Professor Dr Gergely Szolnoki, Geisenheim University

More women than men now buy wine in Germany, according to research presented at the Meininger’s International Wine Conference, held the day before ProWein.

“Every year since 2006 we have different surveys in Germany,” said Professor Dr Gergely Szolnoki from Geisenheim University, who presented a snapshot of wine consumer behaviour in Germany. “We do not use the vast online surveys, but use the most expensive and effortful survey, which is face-to-face, every two years.”

There are four major factors that influence wine consumption behaviour, according to Professor Szolnoki. “Age, gender, social class and frequency.”

When it comes to gender, women have now overtaken men in wine consumption, being responsible for 56% of overall wine drinking and 55% of the value. While men still pay a fraction more for wine—an average of €5.14 per litre of wine versus €4.88 for women—women are paying more overall, at an average of €185.00 per year versus €175.00 for men.

“Ten years ago the difference between men and women was much more marked than here,” said Professor Szolnoki. “It is not just that women overtook men in pure volume, but also the types of wine they prefer have changed considerably.”

Men still drink more red wine than women, and are less likely to drink rosé; however, taste preferences are slowly converging.

Social class also has an impact on the wine market, with Germany’s upper crust drinking “significantly more wine” than everybody else.

Income bracket also determines where people buy wines, with people on a lesser income choosing their wines from a discounter or supermarket, and wealthier people buying from specialist retailers. Overall, the “more you drink wine, the more you will buy in the specialist retail trade,” said Dr Szolnoki.

The biggest wine buyers of all, who not only buy more wine but are also prepared to pay more for it, are the over-65s. “These are the consumers who used to go to the wineries and buy ex-cellar,” said Dr Szolnoki. “Unfortunately, these are quite old. Will a new generation follow them or not?”

The news is not all bad for exporters to Germany. While the big spending older wine lovers prefer German wines, the youngest cohort (up to age 29) are equally happy with both German and imported wines.

The theme of this year’s Meininger’s International Wine Conference was “Wine as a Brand: How to Create Big Brands” and was held at the InterContinental Hotel, Düsseldorf, the day before ProWein.

There will be a full report of the conference in Issue 2, 2019 of Meininger’s Wine Business International.
Felicity Carter

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