Home Arts & Leisure Classifying types of Filipino wine drinkers 

Classifying types of Filipino wine drinkers 

By The Glass

THE WINE Snob, a.k.a. The Image Conscious Drinker, is the type of wine drinker who will splurge five-digit amounts on a bottle of Bordeaux 1st Growth, Grand Cru Burgundy, or a Super Tuscan wine.

IN my long and continuing experience with wine drinkers both locally and regionally, either as a winery representative, a wine lecturer, a wine bar owner, or a wine importer, I have come to realize that wine drinkers can actually be classified into eight types. This is my categorization of Filipino drinkers in general, though it is possibly applicable also to our fellow regional wine drinkers since wine is not an inherent part of Asian culture. Please read and see if you fall into any of the classification below.

The Eager Learner — This type of drinker is a serious student of wine, and learning is an ongoing thing. The Eager Learner will research (books, Google, Vivino, etc…) a lot on the subject before making any wine purchase, whether it be in a restaurant or a wine store. They will spend time to read the back label thoroughly and compare the different available wines. When there are chances to interact with wine experts, the Eager Learner will have the most thought-out questions. The Eager Learner is also quite adventurous. They are willing to explore and experiment with different wines, different regions, even those from unpopular regions, made from relatively unknown varietals. They let their taste buds decide what wines they like or do not like. The Eager Learner is your prototypical genuine wine enthusiast.

The Social Drinker — This type of drinker only imbibes wine when the situation calls for it. Their preferred drink may be beer or a cocktail, but they would drink wine to blend in. They can order a Chardonnay or a Cabernet Sauvignon, not because they like these varietals, but because it sounds a lot more sophisticated than saying Red or White wine instead. They would also consciously learn about some of the most popular wines and wine regions so they can engage in conversations that involve wine. The level of wine interest is purely for socializing.

The Professional Drinker — This type of drinker only takes wine because their profession calls for it. The Professional Drinker is most likely in the Food & Beverage industry. They only drink and learn of wine because to them, wine knowledge is an additional credential in their resume. They will drink to impress their superiors or their clients. But there might not be actual appreciation, and knowledge of wines may be very superficial at the onset. It however does not mean the professional drinker will not evolve into a genuine wine enthusiast. I saw this with many wine representatives I dealt with when I was working in the Asian region. During their sales calls, these representatives talked of wines with conviction and fervor, but after working hours, they’d hit the bars and order beer to unwind.

The Old-World Stickler — This type of drinker is a staunch believer that Old World wines are superior to New World wines. They find the average New World wine to be too fruity, too oaky, and too high in alcohol. The Old-World Sticklers will argue and defend their favorite Bordeaux and Hermitage wines against what they consider to be New World impostors like Napa Meritage and Barossa Shiraz to name a few. They are used to the characteristics of Old World wines like earthiness, flintiness, and complexity, as compared to the expressive fruit power and high viscosity that premium New Word wines offer.

The Image Conscious Drinker — This type of drinker only buys popular expensive brands. They are the ones who will splurge five-digit amounts on a bottle of Bordeaux 1st Growth, Grand Cru Burgundy, or a Super Tuscan wine. They know almost all the 60 Bordeaux Grand Cru wines by growths, from 1st to 5th, and even their tough pronunciations. They are also fond of the Napa cult wines, the Australian A-listers (Penfolds Grange, Henschke Hill of Grace, etc.), Louis Roederer Crystal Champagne, etc. etc. They, however, will not spend money on expensive wine brands with no proven track record. They are also your typical garden varietal Wine Snobs. They will never be caught drinking simple and unknown wines and may prefer water or abstaining from wine if there are no good brands available.

The Critic’s Pet — This type of drinker loves wine because of its sophistication and mystique. They were romanticized into loving wines because of the beautiful prose of tasting notes they read in the Wine Spectator and similar publications. While they are also genuine wine enthusiasts like the Eager Leaners, they are however, unlike the Eager Learners, not very adventurous and are not very receptive to new regions, varietals, etc., unless, of course, these regions or varietals are recommended by their trusted wine magazines and sources. They are just not very confident about their own wine judgment and rely solely on so-called expert opinions and high scores of wine critics. The Critic’s Pets are suckers for awards and 90+ points scores and are the ones who would buy wines with gold medal stickers on the labels when seen on the retail shelves.

The Wine Gulper — This type of drinker looks at wine as just another alcoholic beverage. They drink wine because it is probably the only beverage with alcohol available to them during certain circumstance. They do not appreciate wine and could not care less if it was Carlo Rossi they drink or Chateau Margaux. You will find a lot of Wine Gulpers at wedding receptions, parties, and events sponsored by wine companies. Obviously, it is the alcohol “buzz” the gulpers want, and nothing else.

The Epicurean — This type of drinker appreciates good wine because they are into gastronomy and food and wine pairing. Their appreciation of wine is part of the total pleasure of dining. They put a premium on good food with good wine and can be the most fanatical wine drinker if they found certain wines that meet their high criteria. You see a lot of Epicureans in wine events, especially Wine Dinners and “Degustation” gatherings.

If I was to be asked which type I belong to, I would say I started as a Professional Drinker because of my job with a huge Californian winery. I did not even drink beer before I joined the winery. Then I evolved into an Eager Learner, as I acquired the wine taste and started appreciating the gamut of wine flavors and layers. Soon I could not stop wanting to taste as much wine and imbibe as much wine information as I could. It is what is called “catching the wine bug” and this happened to me almost unconsciously. Eventually, I became an Epicurean, as the synergy of food and wine is simply too hard to resist.

So, which one are you at this stage of your wine drinking? Or is there another type of wine drinker I may have overlooked? Let me know.

The author is the only Filipino member of the UK-based Circle of Wine Writers. For comments, inquiries, wine event coverage, wine consultancy and other wine related concerns, e-mail the author at protegeinc@yahoo.com or via Twitter at www.twitter.com/sherwinlao.