This past week industry publication Wine Intelligence explored recent studies about Millennials, the new generation of wine drinkers whose tastes and preferences have attracted research and study in a way that gives the California Gold Rush a run for its money.
 
“US Millennials have long been a key player in America’s economy, but are now an increasingly dominant force,” the article began. “With 21-34 year olds projected to reach 75.3 million this year and outnumber the Baby Boomers by 2028, what can we expect to see over the next few years and how is this reflected in the wine industry?”
 
Reporter Eleanor Hickey answered the question with a series of insights about the Millennial market. 
 
She began by addressing the issue of consumer trust.
 
“One interesting feature that is driving this new economy is the perception of trust,” Hickey wrote. “It is not so much about placing your trust in one particular company or brand, but rather about putting your trust in the crowd.”
 
She pointed to Airbnb and Uber as prime examples of how reviews by experts and users are, when making decisions, more important than the people offering the services.
 
“In the wine category, US Millennials are tending to set greater store choice by cues such as recommendations from wine professionals and peers,” she wrote. “Seven out of 10 consider recommendations by shop staff and leaflets when making a purchase, compared to only half of regular wine drinkers.”
A second trend is the sheer buying power of Millennials: $600 billion per year, she wrote. 
 
“Again, this is a trend that extends to the wine category, where we can see double the  number of Millennials purchasing wine at higher price points than American regular wine drinkers,” she said. 
 
Millennials also have a different outlook on work and leisure, the story said – they are more concerned about the work-life balance than Baby Boomers and they love to take advantage of their free time.
 
“This desire to explore, experience and learn is demonstrated in their drinking habits,” Hickey wrote. “Seventy percent of Millennials state they have a strong interest in wine and around half of them drink wine several times a week.”
 
Along with this increased interest in wine is love for previously obscure varietals. 
 
“Non-mainstream varietals such as Carmenere, Pinotage and Tempranillo are significantly more recognised and popular with this younger demographic than with wine drinkers as a whole.”
With these things in mind, Hickey said, the future of wine market is a fascinating one.
 
“From a wine industry perspective,” she wrote., “it will be interesting to observe further upcoming trends and their subsequent influence across generations.”
 
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