Realistically, most people fall into two camps when it comes to wine – you’re either a red or white drinker. There’s the odd person who prefers rosé but in the main, it’s red or white.

Is there any reason for this binary choice and what does it mean for both camps? Red wine drinkers are often seen as more mature, well-travelled and educated and white wine drinkers can be seen as younger and not so clued-up yet. Could it be the way in which young adults are introduced to wine and other alcohol that influences their choices?

Starting off all-white

When young adults first try alcohol, they often start off on a light white wine or some fizz at a family occasion. White wines are often seen as “safer” when it comes to hangovers and this, as well as the fact that a first glass of fizz is drunk within the security of a family setting, forms an association.

People get to know their limits with white wines, usually, so any deviation from the familiar can make people feel nervous. There’s also been lots of marketing in recent years that shows young women having a riot with their friends over a bottle (or two) of Pinot Grigio. If you drink white, you’re young, fun and adventurous…

So where does this leave the reds?

It’s instinctive to feel a bit apprehensive about red wines and many people don’t try them until their late 20s and even their 30s. It’s dark, you can’t see through it; plus, doesn’t it cause banging hangovers?

Some reds are more challenging than many whites – you get tannins, oaky flavours, they can be more bitter. They are more associated with older people who have had to acquire a taste for red.

Does this mean they’re more mature, though? Not necessarily. Reds are associated with maturity and life experience, but only in parts of the world where alcohol consumption follows the pattern outlined above. It’s not unusual, in Europe, to see younger people enjoying a glass of local tinto. If you’re stuck in a white wine rut, then bust out and try some lighter reds. You won’t instantly grow up, but you’ll be expanding your palate!