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The Next Generation

Living in the wine country, you meet plenty of oenophiles. It doesn’t take very long to realize that people who love to drink wine come from all walks of life. As a member of the Millennial Generation, it’s exciting to see so many young people becoming passionate about wine whether or not they’re in the industry. The process of discovery never ends. Throughout your life you can find new wines you adore, refine your palate and explore new sensuous gastronomic experiences. There is something magical however about the emergence of a nascent palate: The rebirth of a formative wine drinker into the Covenant of Dionysus.

During these tumultuous economic times, the wine industry has been on unsure footing. After all, as much as some of us think of wine as a necessity, in reality, it is a luxury product. Despite the tenuous atmosphere, the Wine Market Council reported last Friday that wine consumption grew in 2010, making this the 17 consecutive year of growth in the United States. Baby Boomers are drinking more wine and their choices are becoming more sophisticated, yet the driving force of the new growth is the younger generations. According to the Council’s 2010 Consumer Tracking Study, Millennials are drinking 34% more wine than in the past. Perhaps their palates don’t yet require wines from the upper echelons of price and quality. What is important is that they’ve discovered wine and what’s more, they like it a lot!

The Millennials are also interesting in that they’ve broken from historical patterns. They are increasingly choosing to drink wine over beer at a younger age than previous generations. While many Generation Xers are beginning to diversify in their wine buying habits, the Millennials’ tendency to show a willingness to try new things is leaving people wondering if tastes will quickly shift to higher price points. A Nielsen study of 7500 Millennials conducted in 2010 showed that generally they are more likely than other groups to equate product cost with quality.

Everyone knows that Millenials are the generation that is hooked in, with more people owning smartphones and having active social network accounts than any other segment. This should matter to wineries not just because of new tools available to them to spread the word, but because Millenials are more likely to plan their purchases in advance, which is a good fit for online buying.

The Wine Market Council expects continued growth in wine consumption this year, continued to be driven by younger generations. Deerfield stays on the cutting edge with an employee dedicated to reaching out to wine lovers around the world through the web. Deerfield has wines from $18 to $125 a bottles so that everyone can enjoy handcrafted luxury wines.