The World Organisation for Wine (WOW) has run into accusations of sexism, tokenism and wokery following its recommendation that wineries declare a wine’s gender on their label.
‘There’s been a lot of discussion on social media about whether it’s ok to call a wine masculine or feminine,’ said WOW’s Knut Job. ‘Some of it antediluvian, much of it virtue-signalling and very little of it enlightening.
‘It’s clearly an issue that arouses strong opinions, so we think that the best solution is for producers to state their wine’s gender on the back label.’
From now on, WOW said, wines deemed ‘masculine’ can display the terms he/him underneath the grape variety. Feminine wines can use she/her. Non-binary wines will be labelled they/them.
Pinot Grigio, Muscadet and Airen which have no discernible characteristics of any kind are being encouraged to use the term ‘meh’.
The traditionalist group Claret Bores Anonymous has criticised the move for being ‘woke, impractical and impossible to understand – unlike the rest of wine labelling which is much-loved and totally comprehensible.’
However wine competitions have welcome the decision, saying that it will allow them to create dozens more trophies.
A joint statement, signed by every competition on the planet said ‘With awards for Best Masculine Pinot, Best Feminine Pinot and Best Non-Binary Pinot replicated across every category, country and grape variety we’ll be able to give out masses more top awards, which we will then cynically take as proof that quality is increasing.’
A further benefit, they said, was that awards ceremonies could ‘last for days not hours!’
Journalists, too, have been positive. Particularly those of a certain age.
‘This makes my life much easier,’ said wine writer, Wynn Write-Air. ‘I never really understood what the problem was with all the masculine/feminine nonsense in the first place, but was too scared to say anything in case I got monstered on Twitter.’
Putting a wine’s gender on the bottle would, he said, ‘clear things up once and for all and give me carte blanche to fall back on lazy descriptors that nobody in the real world understands.’
Columnist Anthony Claret-Trouser agreed, saying that gender-classifying wines would ‘allow me to understand the wine’s character without tasting it, so I can make up tasting notes with confidence and sell the unopened bottles on eBay.’
However Pandora Box of the group Women Against Misogyny, Bigotry and Merlot (WAMBAM) said that the new labelling suggestion was a step backwards.
‘It totally misses the point,’ she told Fake Booze. ‘The whole concept of femininity being synonymous with ‘pretty and delicate’ or masculinity being ‘strong and powerful’ is simplistic, retrograde, outdated, bigoted, narrow-minded and insulting.’
A WOW spokesman said that this was precisely why they thought the new plans were such a good fit for the wine trade in the first place.
Calm down dear
Giovanni Fiatuno of Gruppo Bunga Bunga in Tuscany said that his members were behind the plan and that the team at WAMBAM were over-reacting.
‘I’m not sexist,’ he said. ‘But Ms Box’s is a typically feminine response – sensitive and emotional. It’s probably her time of the month.’
Women, he said, should consider the issue in the same way that men do, ‘by listening coolly and logically to the arguments, and then ignoring anything which is inconvenient or complicated.’
Other parts of the drinks world have reacted with astonishment to wine’s new gender-specific labelling changes.
‘I can’t believe that the wine world is still having this discussion in 2022,’ said whisky commentator Isla Malt. ‘I mean, does anyone still care about this stuff any more?
‘And by ‘this stuff’ I mean wine…’
Click here to discover the winners of our Most Sexist Tasting Note of the Year.