The United States is considered to be one of the most diverse wine markets in the world, with approximately 85 million people who enjoy wine on a regular basis. Every year, new consumers across all generations bring positive trends and segments to the industry. No longer do they follow the path their parents paved as trend setters. Instead, they are becoming game changers to the way wine is consumed, purchased and made across the globe.
Take for instance the explosion in rose style wines. They may be pink in color but they are in no way the sweet juice that sold untold millions of cases not that long ago. Dry and refreshing is what they crave, with wineries and winemakers more than happy to please their palates.
Among each generation, education is key. With extreme advances in the internet and social media, the wine world is their oyster. Information about a certain wine, region, price, tasting notes and everything associated with a particular bottle is just a click away.
Wine Terminology gives new definition to these changes in consumer generational behavior and spending trends. Let us define each group and determine which category, you the ready, may fall into.
“Engaged Explorers”…….. This group includes the Millennial or Y Generation, which refers to those that fall in the group between 22-37-year of age. They have been identified to be the most frequent social wine drinkers, with many falling into a select group where money is not an object towards the purchase of certain wines. This group has been described as the most experimental sector, actively seeking to expand their knowledge with new and unexplored styles of wine from around the world.
“Premium Suburbanites”…….. This would be Generation X, with ages ranging between 38-53 years old. People in this group tend to be the most frequent wine drinkers of all the category’s. A bit older and a bit wiser, their palates may be a bit more savvy and expanded, yet they are among the group who tend to look for value, thus spending less per bottle. They prefer to purchase wines and brands they have become more familiar with, resulting in being less adventuresome as they once were. Though credited with having the highest knowledge when it comes to all subjects of wine, they know what they like and not much is going to change those acquired habits.
“Contented Treaters”……. This segment has fondly been designated as middle aged. They are known as the Baby Boomer generation, which ranges between 54-72 years old. We, or should I say those in this age group are an extremely more affluent wine consumer, willing to spend whatever it takes to fulfill the experience of tasteful pleasure. They enjoy a larger range of wines, both domestic and international. This group is more likely to have a wine cellar or a more extended portfolio of wine in their possession. Having spent many years going through trial and error, they have acquired an advanced wine vocabulary, allowing them to describe, discern and speak about a wines nuance with greater character.
“Senior Wine Hunters”……. Known as the Greatest Generation, when it comes to the world of wine, the majority fit into a category known as the silent generation. With the average age starting at 73 years old, trends reveal that this group is less likely to indulge in the consumption of wine. They grew up enjoying beer or hard alcohol as their drink of choice and have not wavered from that trend. Those who do purchase wine as their favorite beverage tend to be the ultimate value shopper, where box and jug wines find their way home with them. Yet, there is that silent minority who have a higher tendency to treat themselves to a more expensive and collectable bottle of wine. In reality, life is too short for them to drink anything inferior.
Did we forget any group? What about the “Social Newbie”? Granted the average age to purchase wine in the United States in most states is 21 years old, this latest group of youngsters is labeled “Generation Z”, those between the age of 3-22 years old. Though the newest and youngest on the plant., this group has not yet fully integrated wine into part of their daily life style. However, they will be the next sector to enter into our wine drinking and purchasing world. With the knowledge and wisdom of the generations that have proceeded them, and hopefully much of it passed down, it will be quite an interesting scenario in the years to come to experience the newest trends, styles and advances that they bring to the winemaking world.
We value your opinion, please feel free to comment no matter which generational group you fall into.