Sonoma State Wine MBA Students Get it Done

If you are ever inclined to ask, “just what the hell are they teaching those kids in college these days,” I’d point you to a recent story for Wine Industry Advisor written by Madeleine Rose that examines the results of a Wine MBA class project at Sonoma State University. Though the survey is very small in sample size, the students at Sonoma State have uncovered some interesting hints at how the generations approach to wine is both similar and different. And she also confirms that the kids are being taught how to study a marketplace.

Though small in sample size (109 mainly Californians were surveyed for the study), the Sonoma State University MBA class project demonstrated that Millennials are more motivated by wanting to relax when they choose wine, while Baby Boomers are more likely to reach for wine when setting their sights on socializing. Meanwhile, the students discovered that the middle child, GenXers, were rarely motivated to choose wine when the opportunity to pair it with food was presented.

The survey also showed as previous studies have, that Millennials are more likely to rely on the look of a label in making a purchase.


I’ll probably live just long enough to confirm my hypothesis about Millennials: that they will look very much like their grandparents when it comes to wine drinking and to the extent they look different it will largely be due to a greater choice of wines and greater choice of legal inebriants.

What’s really good to know, however, is that Sonoma State University is training their students so that there will be qualified people to do the studies that prove me right.



5 Responses

  1. Helene - October 8, 2018

    Interesting, if small, study. Any money on the fact that most California Generation Xs did not get introduced to wine at home? In most of Europe and certainly in the UK it is legal to serve (in your own home) alcohol to children aged 5+. So, of course, that is what is done in middle-and upper-class families who regularly consume wine with dinner. By the time the kiddos are away at secondary school they even have Wine Societies with weekly or monthly tastings, spittoons included, of course. So I’d be very surprised if the gap between Baby Boomers and Millennials will exist in much of Europe, apart from France where Generation X drinks beer.

  2. Liz Thach, MW - October 9, 2018

    Dear Tom, Thank you for your great feedback on the study, and your faith in the SSU Wine Business Program!

  3. tom Wark - October 9, 2018


    The faith is well earned.


  4. Joel Miller - October 9, 2018

    Ditto re:LizT’s comments, thanks for the recognition of the SSU Wine E/MBA program. Methinks we’re just beginning to see the emergence of a brave new (and improved) wine world on the shoulders (and craniums) of our stellar graduates.

  5. nimabi - November 25, 2023

    Thank you very much for sharing, I learned a lot from your article. Very cool. Thanks. nimabi

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