The Next Big Audience: Millennials are coming into their own as wine consumers

Will there be a Zoom hangover after COVID? I value Zoom for facilitating remote work and retaining some human element to meetings.  However, I loathe the days when I ride the Zoom wave all day long with professional and personal zoom meetings lasting late into the evening; and then I just crash.  Part of me misses my bi-weekly five-hour commutes to Penn Yan because I at least had a two-hour quiet period during the drive on Route 17 where poor cell service kept me free of calls.  Post-COVID, Zoom will remain important communication tool for me and I look forward to resuming my travels across to reconnect with the industry.
I made an error in my message last week regarding Silicon Valley Bank’s State of the Wine Industry Part 2.  The webinar was held on Thursday and not Wednesday.  When you live on Zoom, sometimes the days just blend together.  I recommend making the time to watch Part 2 (it is only an hour) because the panel tackled some sticky issues regarding the future of the wine industry: changing wine consumer demographics, on-label nutritional information, and how the industry should address DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion).

The webinar panel also noted that, “2021 is likely to be the year that Gen Xers knock baby boomers off their decades-long perch as the leading consumer cohort of wine.”  NYWGF’s own consumer research also shows that Gen X woman are important target and influential audience for New York wineries.  This research is available to any NYWGF winery member and the recorded webinar is available to anyone to watch HERE

Brittany Gibson, Executive Director of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, provided her members an excellent summary of the panel’s discussion on changing wine consumer demographics.  She described her main take away as, “Millennials are coming into their own as wine consumers. They are the next big audience.”  Brittany provided the following summary on the report’s description of “Millennial values”:

  1. Their friends are important. Wineries can leverage this value by putting extra emphasis on wine club as socialization (whether in person or virtual). They want to be where their friends are… if their friends are in a club, they want to be too!
  2. They are conscious about what they eat and drink. There was much said about making use of back labels to show caloric content and so on, but also about becoming better storytellers to communicate about the natural process and limited ingredients in wine.
  3. They believe businesses have social responsibility and expect transparency of social values, and diversity in hiring and advertising. For Millennials, this isn’t political, rather, they believe it’s simply a way of life. While recognizing the discomfort surrounding issues of race and diversity, Rob opined that businesses cannot afford to be silent on the issue.

Again, I encourage that Press Deck readers take the time to view the SVB webinars, as they provide excellent thought starters for adapting your business to the evolving beverage industry.  I also recommend registering for B.E.V. NY, which provides the New York industry an excellent opportunity to dive further into wine business geekery.  New York wineries and grape growers who join or renew their NYWGF membership by Feb 26th, will get a FREE ticket to B.E.V. NY.  Thanks to Zoom, we have been able to recruit an exciting line-up of speakers including internationally renowned wine writer, Jancis Robinson.

Picture of Sam Filler

Sam Filler

Since his appointment to Executive Director in 2017, Sam Filler has led the New York Wine & Grape Foundation in supporting sustainability efforts and has spearheaded marketing initiatives to elevate the image of New York wines.