Proprietary Research

The state of equality in the wine industry

2020 Gender Survey conducted by The Wine Nerd and Lift Collective

About the Study

This study is a collaboration between Lift Collective and The Wine Nerd. It analyzes anonymized responses from 554 survey respondents, in an effort to quantify key points of discussion about gender inequalities in the wine industry.

It is important to call out that the demographics of our respondents are likely not representative of the industry. This should be kept top of mind as data is interpreted and conclusions are made.

The study did not collect race, ethnicity, or place of residence. In future studies, these questions may provide additional insight into the intersectionality of these responses. The study also did not have enough representation from non-binary respondents, so we were not able to do further gender breakdowns than male and female.

demographics data

Representation Across Roles Has a Long Way to Go.

Representation is an important point in equality, and if our perception is that a role is dominated by one gender, it is more likely to stay that way. 


We asked people what percentage of various roles in the wine industry they thought were held by women. No roles had perceived equality. Tasting Room Associates (58%) and Wine Writers (42%) were closer to equal, whereas Winemakers (27%), Sommeliers (32%), and Vineyard Managers (18%) were perceived to be heavily male dominated. When responses were compared by age and tenure in the industry, Millennials and people in the industry for less than 2 years estimate that the roles were more equal in representation. This suggests change and optimism, but the differences are only slight improvements.

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representation data

Is Hiring Fair? Well, it Depends.

On average, respondents thought that their organizations’ hiring practices were 2x more fair than the industry as a whole. Women are nearly 2x more likely to think hiring in the industry is biased than men. Younger generations believe industry hiring is more biased. Lastly, there are significant differences in perception about hiring fairness in the industry across roles: winery and import/distribution side roles are more optimistic about the industry than hospitality, sommeliers, media and education roles.

hiring fairness data

Compensation is Aligned, but the Opportunities for Career Growth are Not.

wages by gender data

Estimated annual income distribution was not significantly different between male and female respondents. However, 27% of male respondents feel they are not compensated fairly for their work, compared to 35% of female respondents. 

The differences are large between men and women regarding understanding opportunities to increase their income and negotiation.

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The majority of male respondents understand how to increase their income (64%) and feel comfortable negotiating (60%). Female respondents were half as likely to agree with either statement, reporting 31% and 28% respectively. 

Both genders felt their organizations are lacking substantial or fair paid leave: 39% of men agreed and 31% of women agreed.

Career Advancement is Relationship-Based.

73% of respondents said they believe that career advancement is mostly relationship based. Women and men generally agree, but women had a higher variation in responses. Likewise, men reported higher rates of agreeing that they have an equal opportunity to advance. While we didn’t ask specifically why people believed they didn’t have an equal opportunity to advance, we did ask about how many mentors people have. Twice as many women than men reported having less than 2 mentors, with 11% of women reporting having no mentors.

career advancement data

Barriers to Equality Anchor on Standards and Leadership.

When asked to identify the biggest reasons why there is gender inequality in wine, respondents agreed that standards (65%) and promotion to leadership positions (60%) are key reasons. Fewer respondents agreed with reasons that place “blame” on women -- too few qualified women in the pipeline (11%), women leaving the workforce (10%), fewer women aspiring for leadership roles (9%) and being less likely to do what it takes (1%).

 

There were also statistically significant differences in how men and Baby Boomers responded as compared to all respondents. For example, these groups were less likely to think women have challenges being promoted to leadership roles. These two groups had very similar rates of choosing each reason for why there is gender inequality in wine, and 80% of Baby Boomers in our survey were female.

barriers data

Equality Still has a Long Time Horizon.

61% of respondents estimate it will take 10+ years to reach equality in wine. 8% believe it will never happen. This distribution varies by age and gender: again Baby Boomers and men are more optimistic about time until equality. One hypothesis of why this is the case is because of the generational divide in views about equality and progress on gender issues in wine amongst women. 91% of millennial female respondents said their views differed from older generations and a large portion saying they differ significantly (35%) or were completely different (12%). 82% of baby boomer female respondents said their views differed from younger generations, with again a large portion saying they differ significantly (32%) or were completely different (4%).

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time to equality data

Harassment has Impacted Careers.

92% of respondents were willing to answer questions about harassment. Of those responses, 64% of women and 30% of men have been harassed or assaulted by a peer or colleague. 42% of respondents report that their response to harassment or flirting impacts their career opportunities. 

Most importantly -- among people who reported being harassed or assaulted, women were more than 2x as likely to report that their response to such behavior impacts their career as compared to men (53% versus 23% respectively).

harassment data

60% of people reported that they feel they have a safety net or outlet within their organization to report any unwanted advances, and 54% feel that those behaviors are handled adequately. 58% of respondents report that their organization has an HR department, and of those with an HR department -- the rates at which people believe they have an outlet and that those behaviors are handled adequately rise to 69% and 59% respectively. 

Methodology

The survey was performed using TypeForm. All data analysis was performed anonymously. We offered a giveaway to win a free conference pass in return for taking the survey. We used a combination of multiple choice and 5-point likert scale questions. For agreement questions, we sum “Slightly Agree” and “Strongly Agree” and “Slightly Disagree” and “Strongly Disagree” to get summary responses. 

 

Age buckets: Generations were bucketed using the following cutoffs

  • Baby Boomer = greater than 55

  • Generation X = between 35 and 54

  • Millennial/Generation Y = between 21 and 34

Role buckets: Respondents’ current roles sorted into the following categories:

  • Supply Chain: Import/Wholesale/Distribution/Sales

  • Retail Side: Hospitality/Sommelier/Bev. Director/Off-Premise Sales

  • Education: Media/Education

  • Winery Side: Production/Winery Employee

  • Owner/Executive

  • Consumer*

*Consumers were excluded in analysis of industry specific questions.

Key Considerations for Future Studies

The study has a disproportionate amount of female respondents complete the survey. Thus the study cannot make conclusions about the state of the entire population due to biased sampling (who had access to the survey and who chose to complete it). Future studies could explore a more top down approach to collecting data by partnering with wine corporations and businesses to have all of their staff complete the survey. 

The study did not collect race, ethnicity, or place of residence. In future studies, these questions may provide additional insight into the intersectionality of these responses. The study also did not have enough representation from non-binary respondents, so we were not able to do further gender breakdowns than male and female. 

We also plan to make this study ADA compliant in the future to be more accessible to all wine industry professionals.

 

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