Millennial Women: The overlords of wine

There is some pretty fascinating information in an article by Jack Heeger in the Napa Valley Register that covers the findings of a study of consumer wine drinking habits sponsored by the Wine Market Council. The most intriguing information concerns the habits of 21 to 28 year old wine drinkers…THE MILENNIALS!!

Debora Scott of TRD Frameworks, the firm that conducted the survey, told Heeger:

"They don’t necessarily pay attention to regions, but look at wines
that catch their attention. To
this group, the visual appeal of the bottle is great. They don’t
necessarily know brands, but they recognize a (familiar) label when
they see it. They start with a price range and a varietal, then just
look at the bottles, and for many it’s a non-traditional label."

This sounds like typical introductory wine drinker habits to me: They know what they can afford, they have an idea of what kind of wine they want to drink. Then, it’s find a label that appeals to them. The question after that is two-fold: Are Milennials brand loyal and are they inclined to step up in price as their disposable income increases.

Though I have no data on this, I’d bet they are both brand loyal AND will eventually be drinking Napa Cabernet and Carneros Pinot as their incomes increase.

Heeger also noted the following in his article:

"While Millennials are drinking more wine — the good news — much of it
is imported wine, which i s the bad news. Merrill said that imports are
nearly at an all-time high, and that is a challenge
of great importance
to domestic producers.

Why do I get the feeling that the huge wine companies are in the process as you read this of creating the brands and promotions that will lure Millennials to lower priced, yummy, "fun" wines? That Millennials are drinking lots of Australian wine is not so much "bad news" as it is an indication that Australia was the first to market with "cute" wines and has done a good job of following up with more. I expect the drinking habits of American Millennials to shift somewhat to show more favor to American "cute" and "fun" brands.


"Scott said her findings indicated that men, when with male friends,
generally drink beer,
while women tend to drink wine with their female
friends. Men, however, drink wine when
they are with women. One male
respondent said, "Any time women are around, wine is a
good choice.

"Scott said this is an indication that Millennial men get the cue from women in their lives."

I’m tempted to come back with a big "DUH.." But I have to stop myself. I wonder if this deference shown to "women in the room" is a new phenomena, particularly among a younger group? It certainly is a finding that should remind marketers that what is being drunk at gatherings is highly dependent upon the circumstances of the gathering and the venue.

And, it should be a heartening confirmation to women that men do indeed know who’s the boss?

Posted In: Wine Business


2 Responses

  1. Mary Baker - January 20, 2006

    There’s also information (see URL) on the study performed by Dr. Liz Thach at Sonoma State University on marketing to Millennials. According to Dr. Liz:
    “The price of wine was frequently mentioned, since one common trait of Millennials is practicality. ‘They are financially savvy, and don’t like owing money,” reports Thach. “Use marketing messages that focus on value and quality but with no slick advertising, just unvarnished truth voiced by everyday people.'”
    I like the Lady Croft/Cradle of Life theme. Works for me!

  2. mark - January 21, 2006

    Hi Tom-
    Great post–I commented and trackbacked to you on this because I think it’s so important…The Australians “get it” when it comes to this thinking–and I don’t think many others do…

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