NEW YORK — The days of “properly” pairing wine with your food are over, according to a new survey. A poll of 2,000 Americans over the age of 21, asking about their wine preferences and pairing knowledge, finds 90 percent believe wine pairings are “out.”
Nearly seven in 10 respondents said quarantine has driven them to become more knowledgeable about wine. Two in three said their tastes have become much more sophisticated during this time. Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the Idaho Wine Commission, the survey analyzed respondents’ quarantine habits and discovered that 84 percent said this time allowed them to reconnect with themselves and learn new things.
More Americans are enjoying the ‘finer things in life’
Oddly enough, living in lockdown also has many respondents feeling classier. In fact, 69 percent said taking more time for self-care has left them feeling like a new person. Some of the new-found sophisticated habits respondents have picked up during quarantine include watching documentaries, cooking the perfect steak dinner, and buying nice bottles of wine they normally wouldn’t purchase.
A third of respondents also hosted a virtual wine and cheese night as well as had a romantic date night with their significant other. To back up these new hobbies, the results show 81 percent of Americans agreed there’s nothing better than bonding with someone over a bottle of wine – whether it’s in-person or virtually.
One in five respondents also kicked their new-found sophistication up a notch by purchasing a nice turtleneck sweater and making their own charcuterie board. Three-quarters of those surveyed also shared that finding the perfect glass of wine to drink is often therapeutic for them.
Among the nine in 10 respondents who focus on taste rather than proper food pairings, 21 percent say they opt for a red wine when eating fish. Another 17 percent grab a white wine when having a nice steak. The results also show that 63 percent are more inclined to pair their wines with what they’re watching on television rather than what they’re eating.
Respondents shared they opt for a white wine when watching a sitcom (43%), but turn to a red when sitting down to watch a reality show (42%) or a drama (39%). The perfect wine pairing was more of a toss-up when watching a docu-series, with 30 percent opting for a red, 22 percent preferring a white, and 21 percent grabbing a rosé.
People are even more split when watching the news, with 34 percent favoring white wine and 32 percent choosing red. Americans watching adult animation are equally split between red and white, at 24 percent each.
Exploration can lead to the perfect wine
Despite these perfect pairings, a quarter of respondents said they’re always bored with their go-to bottle of wine.
“Finding new wines to drink requires the following three: information, expansion, and exploration. Information gathering from books, magazines, zoom meetings, social media, and wine shop recommendations will help guide you,” says Meredith Smith, a winemaker for Sawtooth Winery in Idaho’s Snake River Valley in a statement. “Be open to expansion beyond your inner concentric circle of wines to a broader circle and your circles may continue to gradually broaden. Exploration of different varietals, regions, AVA’s, styles, and winemakers may guide you in a new direction that will be rewarding especially when you find a new perfect wine.”
This wine rut may be due to label blindness, as 68 percent of those polled said they can never remember the names of wines they like and end up trying to find a label they recognize. Seventy-seven percent said they also judge a wine based on its label when they do leave their comfort zones and try something new.
“The results found that nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents said quarantine has made them more adventurous when shopping for wine – this is something we’ve noticed as well during the pandemic – which is allowing more Americans to search for emerging regions and thereby have the opportunity to try an Idaho wine,” adds Earl Sullivan, owner and winemaker of Telaya Wine Co. in Boise, Idaho. “Additionally, wine consumption is up and Americans seem to want to try a variety of new wines, which we also saw this year – our customers were always excited when we released new wines to try outside of their favorites.”