Is this a generalization that applies across the country? Does it occur in most wine stores? Or is my experience an aberration? I tend to believe that it is far more common than many might think and deserving of more attention.
When a white wine drinker comes to the store, they generally are seeking Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. And it is difficult to get them to choose another white wine rather than their preference. They are usually very firm in their choice, reticent to purchase anything else. All you might be able to do to help them is to recommend a specific wine within their preference. They rarely want to hear you discuss the wonders of Portuguese Vinho Verdo, Spanish Albarino, or French Muscadet. And even if they do listen to you, they will often still choose their preferred white.
When a red wine drinker comes to the store, they generally seek a larger range of wines, from Cabernet Sauvignon to Malbec, Pinot Noir to Chianti. However, I've found them to be far more open to alternative suggestions. They aren't as firm in their preferences, willing to take a chance on a different red. They will try a Portuguese Red Blend, an Uruguayan Tannat, or a California Pinot Meunier. They tend to be open to hearing about different types of red grapes and wines, and will opt for your recommendations more times than not.
Why is this the case? What makes these white wine drinkers much pickier? Why aren't they more adventurous? It seems that the vast majority of those white wine drinkers are women. What does that mean, if anything? The ages of these white wine drinkers varies throughout the range, from the 20s to 80s, so it doesn't seem to be age related. It isn't price related either.
It's a curious enigma.