#MomWine: A Brief Historical Look into the Wines They Love Best from the Women Who Deserve It Most
Posted on May 4, 2016
“Mom Wine”. It’s a thing. If ever there was a group of people that deserved a drink at the end (or beginning) of a day’s work, it’s moms- steadfast and ever-supportive. So what’s with the new concept of “Mom Wine” and the culture surrounding it? From wine coolers and Merlot to screw tops and single-serves, moms have been “Tipping It and Sipping It” throughout the decades. The question is what has influenced this “Mom Wine” culture, both new and old? Where has she been, where is she headed?
We all know the image- a woman, fist held high, a polka-dotted rag tied around her head. Who is it? It’s Rosie the Riveter, the cultural icon representing the industrious spirit of women jumping into the workplace during WWII. Equal parts work hard and play hard, the “‘F’ it” spirit of Rosie never died, her longevity extending far beyond the conclusion of the war when most women returned to home life. If you’re worried about us going “there,” relax, y’all. The fact remains, however, that the influx of women in the workforce DID influence a social movement stretching far beyond the 1940s. The cultural and familial landscape was forever changed and we believe that moms of today, the moms-on-the-go, are a modern embodiment of that of that spirit. Employing the “get shit done approach,”moms want it all and want to reward themselves with a little “somethin’ somethin’” after making their lists and checking them twice, sometimes thrice. Forget “Mommy’s Time Out”. The new Momma Rosie is ALL in…and she’s bringing her wine with her.
1980’s- Wine Chiller? No, COOLER
Picture it: The early 1980s. A hot summer’s day, just after sundown. The kids are in bed, the recession is in full swing- what, oh what do you drink? Enter the wine cooler. Like Bartles & Jaymes or its predecessor, California Cooler, the wine cooler was the favored “mom wine” of the post-disco era. A unique blend of fruit juice and vino, the cooler was JUST sweet enough to:
A.) Leave that weird sugar residue in your throat
B.) Appeal to a majority of demographics
The genius of the wine cooler lies not only in the fact that the high sugar content and artificial flavorings masked the taste of the alcohol (perfect for a less-demanding, unaccustomed palate), the alcohol content in a cooler proved to be higher than beer. The other key factor in this perfect storm of popularity? Wine coolers were cheap, both to purchase and to produce. With unemployment topping 10% and rivaling that of the Great Depression, the US economy was off to a very rocky start in the early 1980s- cheap was good. Through clever advertising campaigns and ringing celebrity endorsements (hello Bruce Willis for Seagram’s), the wine cooler represented a version of escapism, speaking to a generation of individuals in need of a light-hearted good time.
1990s- Moms See Red
Rebounding from the misery of the early 80s, the 90s saw the U.S. thriving and booming- full fur, ALL diamonds. Low unemployment, a flourishing stock exchange, the dot-com craze- all contributed to one of the longest stretches of prosperity in American economic history. The wine cooler is done- made obsolete by higher wine tax, quality control, and Mike’s Hard Lemonade. People want more, moms want more…and better. Cue ‘‘The French Paradox, a segment
produced for the popular television docu-show, 60 Minutes. In this segment, the discussion centered itself on the health benefits of wine, specifically red wine, when consumed in moderation. Mom culture sat up and took notice, hearing the words “health” and “wine,” living together in harmony. The result was simple history- a brand new demographic looking towards the grape for better heart health. Consequently, the awareness brought about a surge in production of many red wines, most notably, the fruit-forward Merlot. Moms loved its accessibility, its taste, and the fact that it was just “French” enough to feel fancy.
The 2000’s – The Great White Grape meets The Great Recession
By Y2K, moms and non-moms alike had learned a lot. Napster and Myspace were launched. Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie were a “thing”. Steve Jobs changed the world with a digital rectangle. Carrie Bradshaw chose Mr. Big. and Britney Spears went bananas. Yeah, it was a good time. Not only was it a pop culture juggernaut in terms of decades, the 2000’s saw wine sales starting to take off with a vengeance. Jumping to almost $10 billion in U.S. sales between 2000 and 2009, according to Wine Institute, sales could have climbed higher and at a faster rate had it not been for that little bump in the road we call The Great Recession. Bringing almost every business in the United States to a standstill, the recession put the brake on the wine business for 19 months. Once again, moms everywhere found themselves in need of a cost-effective way to get “their buzz on” with class. Say hello to our little friend Chardonnay, the approachable, friendly, easy to drink wine with the ability to put the “tips” in “tipsy”.
Priced starting from $5 to $7.99/bottle, Chardonnay was a beacon of liquid light, helping moms through the worst recession in America since The Great Depression.
Fun Fact: According to Statista.com, by 2012 Chardonnay accounted for $1.83 billion of wine sales in the U.S.
The 2016 Mom – Functionality is the Name of the Game
Just like our beloved Rosie of days gone by, the 2016 Mom is a modern-day superhero, often accomplishing multiple tasks with ease and grace. Whether saving the world in heels or a Lululemon yoga pant, what we’ve discovered about the here-and-now “mom wine” is that it’s less of a focus on the varietal and more about its accessibility- the ease with which it gets INTO the glass. Case in point as stated by one mom we spoke with,
“I’ve only been able to find Cavit Pinot Grigio in single-serves, which aren’t my favorite but they do the trick”.
As one new dad notes,
“New moms go from ‘selective’ to whichever wine is ‘closest and readily opened”
“I used to prefer reds (mostly pinot noir and malbec), I can’t risk having anything that will stain if a 2-year old knocks it over.”
Boxed wine, screw top, single-serve bottles- less form and more function.THAT is what speaks to the “get it done attitude” of today’s mom.
- Boxed Wine: More bang for your buck with the added convenience factor- It’s up to four bottles of wine in one box that stay fresh for weeks at a time. Additionally, with multiple award winning boxed wines to choose from (Bota Box, Black Box Wines, and Bandit), boxed wine is no longer the watered-down juice of the 80’s and 90’s, but a “Mom Wine” mothers have come to know and trust.
- Screw tops: Because who doesn’t love a good screw…top. Just as easy on as it is off, screw tops offer the ability to take your wine with you wherever you go- corkscrew be damned. As one mom so eloquently shared, “Screw tops rock!”
- Single-Serve: It’s like one and done. Need we say more? As summed up by one mother of four (twins, toddler and one on the way), “I prefer single serve bottles because I’m not tempted to indulge in half bottles (I need to be on my game in case a kid gets sick at night.”
The moral of the story? Moms are ditching the stuffy stigma and embracing wine as a grocery, not a luxury. With a can-do, no-BS attitude (a la Rosie), Moms everywhere are charging into the battle of motherhood armed and ready with a vino in hand saying, “I’m more than just a pretty face, I’m a Mom,”. Mom Wine. It’s as ever-evolving as motherhood itself. Agree? Not so much? Let us know why on Twitter/Snapchat (@thegrapegirls) or Instagram (@anywineanytime). Need even more Grape Girl goodness? Check out our YouTube page and poke around The Grape Girls website while you’re here, why don’t ya. We HEART you, and raise our glasses to mom’s everywhere….tacking the world’s hardest job, one glass of Chardonnay at a time.
PS – Show us what you’re drinking with your mom this Mother’s Day by using the hashtags #momwine and #tipitandsipit!
Lo & Tee