"Too often a pub’s wine offer can consist of an overpriced bottle of house white (that might well be one that goes for under a fiver in a supermarket) that has been stuck in the fridge with the cap off for who knows how long."
he unsurprising story of the week is that men are more comfortable drinking wine at home than they are in the pub.
This was proven in a survey of 1,500 people commissioned by Côtes du Rhône wines.
I did not really need to see this research to know this because a) I am a man and b) I am more comfortable drinking wine at home than I am in the pub.
Admittedly I am not all men but I do go to a lot of pubs and I do have eyes so I would have been fairly confident that this statement was true before the results were revealed.
But the question is why?
The survey suggests that the reason only a quarter of chaps will have a wine in the pub compared to the 90 per cent who will have a sup at home is because they fear the ridicule they will face.
There may be something in that because we can collectively behave like a flock that marches to the beat of the alpha male (which is often ‘pint of lager please love’) but for my money there is more to it than this.
Actually, money is a good place to start. Wine doesn’t come cheap by any stretch, and a large glass of anything is likely to cost you between a fiver and £8. This creates two problems, many people just don’t know what change they are going to get from a tenner for glass of wine
and, secondly, why pay £8 for 250ml when you can get twice as much beer at half the price?
Yes, the ABV is lower, but there’s machismo at play here too. Men like to hold a pint in the pub. It’s in our DNA, it’s part of our culture and it is part of our identity. We talk of ‘going for a pint’ and ‘having had one too many pints last night’. Even when we say ‘fancy a quick half?’ we all know it is a euphemism for a measure twice the size.
The rise of craft and higher ABV beers with natty bespoke glassware has resulted in more men feeling comfortable with a half (or even two-thirds), but this will take a while to spread its way across the country from our metrosexual metropolises. It will take even longer, if ever, for some men to stand in a pub holding a stemmed wine glass whilst chewing the cud with chums and colleagues.
For most men the only time they will drink wine is when they are having a meal in a pub or are sharing a bottle with a woman. Or both. This is when it is deemed acceptable to drink wine, so what can pubs do about?
The answer is ‘a great deal’ because the truth is most pubs, and there are some notable exceptions here, just do not do wine very well.
Compare it to beer. We are comfortable with beer, we recognise the fonts of the nationals and will take time to have a look at the micro brews on offer. We also know what we expect to pay.
With wine the brands just don’t resonate in the same way. This need not be a problem for pubs just as long as they work hard on the display, menus and have staff who can explain the offer to customers.
Too often a pub’s wine offer can consist of an overpriced bottle of house white (that might well be one that goes for under a fiver in a supermarket) that has been stuck in the fridge with the cap off for who knows how long.
If pubs can do their bit to improve the wine offer I am sure men will worry less about being ridiculed for drinking a product in public that millions already enjoy at home.