Will Millennials change the wine market for good?

Millennials are rumoured to have a big impact on the wine market the following years. They might even shift the whole wine industry to a new different direction. The way they consume their wine is different, compared to previous generations. That includes the varieties they prefer and the way they buy their wine.

But first of all, who exactly are Millennials?

Millennials are called the babies born between 1982 and 1999 so we talk about a very desirable demographic for marketers aged 18 to 35. This generation is technologically savvy, environmentally engaged, and they crave stories about the things they like.

What behavioural characteristics of Millennials might affect the wine industry?

millennials drinking wine

  1. Millennials are more open to new flavours and wines around the world. They like to try new varieties from around the world. They also travel more compared to previous generations.
  2. Millennials do not care how much wine has aged. They do not tend to drink the way previous generations did.
  3. They want “authentic” stories behind their wine and the quirkier the better. They prefer cool graphics, trendy logos and cool packaging. According to Taylor Parsons, the director of Republique restaurant in Los Angeles, millennials are in a constant quest for the next cool thing.
  4. Millennials care about an eye-catching brand. They prefer stories and personal connection with the brand than how a famous critic values their wine. According to Jason Jaco Beit, head sommelier of Batard restaurant in New York, this generation seems more interested in the narrative and the story of the wine rather than the wine itself. More specifically, lots of mediocre wine is being sold on the basis of a good story!
  5. They might not care about famous critics but are highly influenced by Social Media and peer reviews. They also use apps such as Vivino and Delectable which allow them to instantly share their wine reviews.
  6. As a very tech savvy generation, they shift their focus on online shopping so that they can enjoy their favourite wine without too much hustle.
  7. They are anytime wine drinkers. They don’t keep their wine for a special occasion as previous generations used to do. They will drink during lunch, dinner, while watching TV, timing doesn’t really matter.
  8. They kind of drink everything. White wine will do as much as red wine!
  9. As a matter of fact they seem to have a particular interest in Rose wine which seems to explode this market with a yearly 13% increase.
  10. There has also been a significant growth in red blends. They have changed how people view red blends than varietal. They seem more premium nowadays. This might probably be the most powerful result of millennial consumers so far. According to Brett Scallan, the vice president of marketing for Ste. Michele wine estate, the red blend category hardly existed 5 or 10 years ago and has now become the second largest segment in the wine industry primarily driven by Millennials
  11. Prosecco is more popular among Millennials as it is an affordable luxury especially among women and it is preferred to Champaigne which is still considered to be rather premium and for certain occasions only.
  12. They appreciate thoughtfully produced wine. There is a growing interest among Millennials for organic or sustainably produced wine. 51% of Millennial women between 21-24 say organic is an important purchasing factor.
  13. They prefer to buy wine to drink in their houses rather than pay the mark up in the restaurant
  14. Favourite wines: Prosecco as it has a very good price to quality ratio, red blends (Bordeaux), Riesling, Beaujolais, Moscato, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, pinot Noir are some of Millennials favourite wines.

Here some interesting numbers about Millennials…

  • 54% haven’t purchased—and have no interest in purchasing—wine in a can.
  • 86% buy a bottle or glass of wine they’ve never tried before at least two to three times a month.
  • 22% subscribe to a print wine magazine, newsletter or other publication.
  • 85% have met someone after work for a glass of wine at least once in the past month.
  • 43% have visited four or more winery tasting rooms in the past 12 months.
  • 61% have commented on wine on Facebook or read the wine comments of others on Facebook in the past month.
  • 72% have posted a photo on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or other social media showing wine they enjoyed in the past month.