How Drunk is Gen Wine? Millennials & Wine Consumption

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Wine Diva

Millennials drank more wine last year than any other generation in recorded history.

In fact Millennials drank nearly half of all wine in the United States in 2015.

According to research from the Wine Market Council 79 million Americans ages 21 to 38, drank 159.6 million cases of wine in 2015.

That’s an average of two cases per person!

Geez kids – what happened to keg parties and stealing booze from your parents?

Ahh Millennials. The selfie-centered short attention spanned Americans born between 1980 and the mid-2000s.


According the government census they are the largest generation in the U.S., representing one-third of the total U.S. population.

They are at the beginning of their careers and will be an important engine of the economy in the decades to come.

Millennials are projected to spend more than 1.4 trillion dollars in the U.S. by 2020.

They have short attention spans, never look away from their smartphones and apparently never stop drinking.

A new report by the Wine Market Council announced millennial wine drinkers are downing around 3.1 glasses a sitting and 17% of bought a bottle costing over $20 in the past month.

The report also noted that Millennials have shown to have one of the most varied tastes in drinking wine preferring varietals such as Malbec, Moscato, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.

Some wine companies have decided to meet the demand of the Gen Y by creating a boxed wine with four full bottles.

Jennifer Lawrence drinks wine
Jennifer Lawrence drinks wine

Gen Y drank more than any other generation…ever.

Millennials Are Expensive Wino’s

The study also found 17% of Millennials have paid over $20 a bottle for wine in the past month, it was only 10% for all other age groups.

More and more younger Americans are drinking premium wines.

Marketing and social media

Over half of wine-drinking Millennials said they talk about wine on Facebook.

And more than a third of take to Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram to praise their latest, greatest bottle of Pinot.

Millennials are masters of technology which has revolutionized marketing strategies that were not possible with any other generation.

They are a much better bargain from a marketing cost standpoint as social media and user generated content are the only ways to communicate with them.

According to Bruce Tulgan, author of Not Everyone Gets A Trophy: How To Manage Generation Y bars and wine and spirit purveyors are focusing on Millennials exclusively.

“Technology has become more and more complex, but it’s also far easier to use. Social networking and other menu-driven, Internet-based technology allow multiple users to collaborate by using collaborative software.”

He also went on to state that romancing Millennials via social networking and apps reaps big rewards.

“They respond to brief, straight, simple messages that allow them to get more information.”

The best way to attract them is to convey a very clear value proposition.

But don’t force, he warns, “One of the quickest ways to turn off a member of this sophisticated, tech-savvy tribe of bar/club patrons is to attempt to try too hard in relating to them and subsequently fall short.”

Tips for marketing wine to Millennials according to and Direct Marketing News:

Understand their appreciation

Millennials appreciate wine more than many wineries would expect.

Quality and variety.

  • How the product is made?
  • The history of the winemakers.
  • Wineries’ innovations, philosophies and techniques.
  • Authenticity.
  • Sustainable footprint.
  • Understanding what Millennials appreciate most about the wine drinking experience empowers wineries
Social Media and Wine
Social Media and Wine



Engage with them on social media

If wineries want to be successful at marketing to Millennials, it is crucial to establish a social media presence. As Direct Marketing News noted, Millennials get more value with regard to wine from social networks than they do from trade publications and scores.



  • Create designated Pinterest boards
  • Proactively engage with users by tweeting about wine
  • Share pairing tips and tasting guides on Facebook

Suggest wines for occasions Millennials can relate to, including pairing with certain foods, hosting a game night or just watching Netflix.

Leverage YouTube and Instagram to teach Millennials about winemakers and the wine making process.

Wineries have the opportunity to create loyal customers among the millennials by engaging with them on social media.

The Elite Daily “Millennial Consumer Study 2015” stated 62% of Millennials are more likely to become loyal customers with brands that engage with them on social networks.

Millennials and Wine Drinking

Leverage their social nature

Millennials are inherently social and wineries can tap into that market by tapping into their lifestyles. Direct Marketing News also pointed out that Millennials want wines for everyday occasions.

Planning guides, wine pairing guides and other group-oriented content  empowers them to engage with different types of wine.

Wineries can also engage Millennials by hosting creative wine tasting events.

Integrate reviews

Reviews are a very important resource to Millennials. In fact, Bazaarvoice found in its 2012 study, “Talking to Strangers:

Millennials Trust People over Brands,” and 73 percent said it was important to read opinions before making a purchase.

Wineries can effectively market to Millennials by integrating reviews into their product pages and social media outlets

Create original content

Wine grapes

According to the Elite Daily study, 33 percent of Millennials rely mostly on blogs before they make a purchase and 43 percent  value authenticity more than quantity. Wineries can cultivate a positive relationship with Millennials by creating their own blogs.

Wineries that create original content are engaging more effectively  and enhancing their inbound marketing efforts.

According to research compiled by Napa Technology, 89% of Millennials will pass up major name brands and buy wine they have never heard of before.

They also prefer fun to traditional for labels and wine that comes with a back story about how it was created.

State of the union for the wine industry.

The U.S. is also the largest wine consuming nation and according to the 2015 Unified Wine Symposium 33% of Americans drink wine several times per week and 67% drink wine occasionally.

Wine sales have increased in the $12 – 30 range and are expected to continue with the strong dollar, lower oil prices and a desire for premium wines.

So all people are drinking better wines, not just Millennials.

Direct to Consumer Shipping increased 15.5% from 2013 and almost 60% of the average wineries sales are direct. So consumers are buying mostly online wholesale wines.

  • Revenues for U.S. Wine Sales: $37.6 billion
  • Total cases shipped: 375 million
  • Percentage Imports: 31% (down from 34% in 2013)
  • Percentage from California: 60% ($24.6 billion in revenues, up 6.7% from 2013)
  • Percentage from Other States: 9%

2015 is the 23rd consecutive year of grown for wine sales in the United States.

Wine grapes

Hot Wine Trends

  • Sparkling wine is “hot” – up 7%, and will continue to grow
  • Red Blends are still very popular, with brands like Apothic and Menage a Trois Red performing well.
  • Most popular varietals will continue to grow: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand
  • “Eco” Wines slowly gaining more attention with 16% of U.S. wine consumers now looking for these labels.
  • Wine Kegs in restaurants selling both value-priced and premium wine by the glass are gaining attention (I am actually looking into one for the home).
  • Wine Apps are growing in popularity with up to 36% of U.S. consumers using them to check prices and reviews before purchase.
  • Wine Cocktails are getting a positive reaction with Millennials

All American wine consumers are buying wholesale California wines online and getting big discounts.

Napa Valley Wine

Wine in California can be traced back to the late 1700’s when Father Junipero Serra planted vineyards in the Missions he founded.

Those early vines were called “Mission Wine” as the wine used for religious purposes.

The vine cuttings used for Mission Wine came from Mexico and were brought to the New World by the Spanish Conquistador Cortés in the early 1500’s but the birth of the commercial wine industry didn’t develop until the mid to late 1800′s.

California is now the world’s fourth-largest wine producer and 90 percent of the wine Americans drink comes from California.

John Patchett opened the first commercial winery in Napa County in 1859 and the next year his wine received an official review published in the “California Farmer Magazine”. “The white wine was light, clear and brilliant and very superior indeed; his red wine was excellent.” Can you just imagine how that would have gone viral on his Twitter feed?


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