Get those pinkies up in the air: three out of four Americans claim to have an appreciation for the “finer things” in life, and it typically develops at a much younger age than you’d expect.
According to a recent survey of 2,000 respondents above the age of 21, the average American first begins to appreciate the “finer things” when they’re 26 years old.
Almost four out of five said they were even younger when their tastes became more refined, while only one in five said it took them until age 30 or older.
So, what makes a person more mature? At the top of the list, respondents cited having an opinion about the stock market (38%), being knowledgeable about different wines and spirits (35%) and investing in expensive tailored clothes (35%).
One in three believe that visiting museums is something adults are expected to do, while another one in three mentioned talking about current events — and one in four don’t care about seeming mature at all.
Reported by OnePoll on behalf of Wine.com, the data also suggests that male respondents feel especially pressured to present themselves as sophisticated.
In fact, 42% of men cited knowledge of wine and spirits as a marker of maturity, compared to only 30% of women.
The survey’s “timewine” also indicates that the average respondent starts drinking wine at age 23 and takes them two years before they begin to fully appreciate the experience.
When they first started drinking wine, 67% said they stuck to standard varieties like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.
It’s not until age 24 that the typical respondent begins to actively seek out foreign wines — coincidentally around the same time that they start developing a taste for gourmet cheese.
“It doesn’t take long to develop a love of wine,” said Addie Wallace, Director of New Business Strategy & Insights at Wine.com. “It’s a category where the more you know, the more you want to know. You can spend a lifetime learning about it!”
And the learning curve is steep — seven in 10 admitted that when they first started drinking wine, they couldn’t tell much of a difference between wine varieties of the same color.
Now 60% believe their knowledge makes them “sommelier material,” and for good reason — the average respondent has over a case of wine on hand at home.
Still, only one in five could correctly identify the name of the largest type of wine bottle when tested (the “Nebuchadnezzar,” which is equivalent to 20 standard-sized bottles).
Regardless of their wine knowledge, selecting a wine is not straightforward. 58% of respondents indicated flavor is the most important attribute when selecting a wine — but 42% have purchased a bottle just because the label looked cool.
“The hardest part of shopping for wine is that you usually don’t know what it’s going to taste like. When faced with the proverbial ‘wall of wine’ at the store, the bottles look nearly identical and the labels – if you speak the language! – note only the place of origin and not the flavor.” Addie Wallace added. “The savviest drinkers get around this by going online to read professional reviews and get expert recommendations, so that they can both shop and sip with confidence.”