Are Millenials Helping or Hurting the Wine Industry?
Updated: Apr 29
Millennials are consuming less wine than any previous generation; why is that? The reason boils down to one simple factor.
Until recently, the wine world has generally been perceived as a pretentious business with a strict set of principle rules. Consuming fine wine was reserved for the elite or the special occasion. Its rich history, combined with the complex nature of the science behind growing and harvesting grapes, had grown to be intimidating to many. This perception began to change when countries like South Africa, Australia, and America emerged into the scene, creating their own set of rules and experimentation. These countries would later fall under the category of New World Wines (anything that is outside of Europe). The intimidation factor was lifted, and wine became more accessible to the everyday wino. But the main reason why millennials choose to pass on the vino isn't due to daunting history; it's much simpler than that.
The reason that drives these adults to consume less wine is what influences us to do (or not do) anything these days; money. According to research from Mintel, 28% of young millennials prefer to drink at home, because the cost of a single glass of wine at a bar or restaurant is not feasible or fiscally responsible. And we're all about the quality to price ratio; are you really getting your money's worth if you sip on three glass of house wine for $45, when you can take six shots of tequila for the same price?
No room in the wallet for Chardonnay
Because of the increasing generational wage gap, winemakers have had to reevaluate the industry as a whole and become more conscientious about how to drive sales. Wine drinking is often a social affair among young people, and winemakers can't afford to not tap into that demographic. Because of this, millennials are forcing the wine industry to change the way they market their products.
It's not that they don't enjoy wine. In fact, they're solely responsible for revolutionizing certain aspects of the industry, with some of the most popular examples being the rise in popularity of rosé, and the once taboo canned wine, which has now become an 80 million dollar industry. These cans, which can contain up to half a bottle of wine, are only about a third of the price of a bottle of wine. Convenience and savings have always been at the forefront of millennial's minds; so if we're given an opportunity to drink some wine by the poolside, we'll skip the fancy wine glass and take it in a can.
Is my wine delivery in the drone zone?
Another driving factor with wines sales is how newer generations are choosing to buy products. The internet boom has allowed for an innovative and new-age way of shopping - online. Online wine and liquor sales have only been increasing, and with new wine club subscription models such as Winc and Bright Cellars, with the simple click of a button, we can have wine delivered right to our door. This development in recent history is one that the wine industry has never had to deal with and millennials are pioneering this change.
While it isn't completely true to admit that Millennials are harming the wine industry, their predecessors, Gen X, are still consuming and spending more on wine as a whole. However, just because wine is no longer affordable in its original form, does not mean that the industry as a whole will crash and burn. Most millennials admit that if they had to spend on wine, they would. So all this does is garner change in an age-old craft. This shift in supply and demand is encouraging winemakers to start looking at the industry in a new way in order to make wine accessible to the average consumer.