People Who Prefer White Wine Spend Money Differently Than Red Wine Drinkers

Posted: May 30, 2019

A survey looked at the personality traits and financial habits of vino fans

You are what you drink.

White wine imbibers tend to be more frugal and extroverted than red wine drinkers, a new survey suggests.

A poll by OnePoll on behalf of Coravin, a Massachusetts-based company that makes gadgets for drinking wine, surveyed more than 2,000 Americans aged 21 and up on their personality traits. The survey found that white wine drinkers tend to spend around $3 less per bottle than red wine drinkers, who spend an average of $40 per bottle versus the $37 that white wine drinkers spend.

Nearly half of red drinkers (45%) considered themselves “wine aficionados” compared to 31% of white wine drinkers. And red drinkers showed they knew slightly more about wine in a series of follow-up questions compared to white wine lovers.

But are these knowledgeable, free-spending red wine drinkers really getting more out of their wine experience? Spending more money on wine doesn’t always mean you’re getting the best bottle. A $6 bottle of red wine (St. Andrews Cabernet Sauvignon 2016) sold at Coles supermarkets in Melbourne, Australia earned the coveted “double gold” medal from a panel of sommeliers, retail buyers and distributors, beating out more than 1,000 wine submissions around the globe in a blind taste test in 2017 at the Melbourne International Wine Competition. And an $8 bottle of Exquisite Collection Cotes de Provence Rosé earned a silver medal at the International Wine Challenge (considered the Oscars of winemaking) in May 2017, proving that cheap wine can be fine wine.

A separate study from the Journal of Wine Economics did a blind tasting of more than 6,000 wines to see if there was a correlation between price and overall rating and found that people typically weren’t even able to tell if the wine they were drinking was expensive and if it was, they actually liked it less.

“Individuals [without wine training] on average enjoy more expensive wines slightly less. For individuals with wine training, however, we find indications of a positive relationship between price and enjoyment,” author and wine critic Robin Goldstein wrote in the study, “Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better? Evidence from a Large Sample of Blind Tasting” for the Journal of Wine Economics.

Other findings in the OnePoll survey were a bit quirkier: White wine drinkers tend to be more extroverted, while red drinkers are introverts; white wine drinkers enjoy punk music versus red drinkers, who prefer jazz. And white wine drinkers identified as “sarcastic, perfectionists and curious” and also tend to be night owls, while red drinkers are early birds, and identified as “humble, adventurous and organized.”

Some wine experts say they see personality differences in red and wine drinkers. “There tends to be a clear element to differences between white and red wine varietals related to [personal] energy. I notice that white wine sells more often for the after-work crowd versus red wines — however, when our guests settle in for dinner or have a night cap, red wine tends to be their go-to order,” Matt Strauss, a partner at TAO Group and wine curator at The Rickey in New York City, says.

Other industry experts were skeptical of the findings.

“For every extroverted white wine drinking customer there is an equally verbose red wine drinker and vice versa. I can’t point to any sort of trend here.”

“I see no correlation with the type of wine clients drink and their spend on wine or their personality,” Alex Papetsas, general manager and beverage director at Kellari Taverna in New York City, who says his best-selling wine by the glass is a Chardonnay that’s a little over $20. “I sell almost the exact same amount of $100-plus bottles of Chardonnay as Cabernet Sauvignon.”

Papetsas says everyone becomes more extroverted when they drink: “For every extroverted white wine drinking customer there is an equally verbose red wine drinker and vice versa. I can’t point to any sort of trend here.”

Published: May 30, 2019 5:49 a.m. ET

By Jeanette Settembre
May 30, 2019

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