If you were to answer the question of which generation loves wine the most purely based on stereotypes, you might guess that it is our nation’s elders who are popping the cork with greatest frequency. After all, they have the financial resources to afford excellent vintages, and they tend to be more cognizant of wine’s health benefits. Nice try, but you’re wrong.
MILLENNIALS WIN THE DAY
The Wine Market Council reports that millennials were drinking a surprisingly high 42 percent of all the wine consumed in the United States in 2015, a full 13 percentage points above levels from the previous year. That comes to 159.6 million cases. As it turns out, millennials are drinking more per sitting as well, coming in at over three glasses as opposed to just under two for baby boomers.
THE IMPORTANCE OF TASTE
Millennials are also embracing a wide variety of wine types that include Moscato, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. By contrast, older drinkers who did not grow up with the diverse range of choices that are now available today tend to be more staid and rigid in their white and red wine selections. Finally, the dawn of subscription box and other internet services, like wineonsale.com, has made it possible for people to purchase white and red wine online, leading to even more options. Since younger consumers have been faster to embrace this technology, they are the first to benefit from it.
JUMPING ON THE TREND
The psychological makeup of younger people is also part of the reason for the upsurge of wine’s popularity. Open to new tastes and wine-making regions, millennials and Gen Yers are not constrained by preconceptions or stigmas and are willing to give virtually any wine a try. Aided by social media, they readily share their new discoveries, and that takes the trend to another level. In many respects, this is why drinking wine has “gone viral” among our nation’s youngest drinkers.
PREPARING FOR THE NEXT GENERATION
In fact, all indications point toward Gen X as the nation’s most adventurous wine-lovers. These young enthusiasts are already more willing to pony up $70 for a bottle of wine. As their financial resources grow and they gain career and stability, wine of all types is sure to take a prominent place in their social lives as well as their budgets. The internet, with its convenience, diverse selection, low-cost shipping and access to wine-related information, will probably be one of the main vehicles that Gen X and Gen Y buyers use to obtain their Merlots and Pinots.
These days, wine isn’t just for special occasions like holiday dinners; it’s a part of everyday life. Each generation is finding ways to embrace wine and make it uniquely theirs.