Posts Tagged ‘Generation’

America's new tastemakers...

America’s new tastemakers…


Meet the rising young stars who are changing the way the world drinks.
Ian Brand, 32
Winemaker, Coastview Vineyards, Le P’tit Paysan, Monterey, CA
After moving from Utah to California to pursue surfing, Brand found his real calling at Bonny Doon in Santa Cruz, where he was assistant winemaker from 2004– 2007. He has also been winemaker for Nicholson and Pierce Vine- yards and consults for various clients in the region. Innovative, experimental and eager to push the envelope in the Salinas Valley and beyond, Brand is known for his progressive approaches to plantings, commitment to organic farming and tireless promotion of Monterey as the next region to watch in California.
Bibiana González Rave, 35
Winemaker, Rave Vines & Wines, Santa Rosa, CA
Originally from Colombia and trained in France, where she earned dual degrees in viticulture and enology, González Rave spent years doing two harvests a year, from South Africa to France and California, and was until recently the winemaker at Lynmar Estate, where she earned stupendous reviews for her silky Pinot Noirs and complex Chardonnays. Last year she decided to go out on her own, launching Rave Vines & Wines, where she is laser focused on one place only: Pahlmeyer’s Wayfarer Vineyard on the Sonoma Coast. The first of her cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay will be from 2012. In addition to making a small amount of her own wines, she’s partnering with husband Jeff Pisoni on a Sauvignon Blanc brand.
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Boom go the millenials…


John’s Grocery in Iowa City is an upscale wine retailer whose customers include doctors and employees of the nearby University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. As such, says wine buyer Wally Plahutnik, his customers are knowledgeable and service oriented, regardless of age and demographic. Except for one very intriguing thing.

“I can’t get the older ones to use the camera on their phone to take a picture of the wine label,” he says. “The younger ones, no problem. But the older customers still come in and tell me they had a bottle of wine, but can’t remember the name. And when I ask them why they don’t use the camera, they just sort of look at me.”

In this, Plahutnik is in the middle of one of the biggest changes the wine business has ever seen—the revolution in consumer demographics, of which the role of new technology is just one small part. The Baby Boomers, born between 1948 and 1962 and widely regarded as the best friend that retailers and restaurateurs ever had, are becoming increasingly less important in the marketplace. Their replacement? The Millennials, two generations behind them but already numerically more significant among core wine drinkers, according to the 2012 Wine Market Council report. Though the Boomers make up 38% of wine drinkers, they consume only 32% of the wine. The numbers for Millennials are 29% and 38%.

 More broadly, Boomers will account for less than 20 percent of the U.S. population over the next eight years, and the number of Baby Boomers younger than 60 will fall by more than two-thirds, according to a 2012 study by Jeffries-Alix Partners. Meanwhile, Millennials (born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s) older than 25 will make up almost one-fifth of the country’s population. And that doesn’t take into account the 8 million Millennials who will turn 21 and start buying wine over the next three years.

“The Boomers are famous for consuming more stuff than anyone else in history,” says Dan Graham, a vice president with the Dechert-Hampe marketing consultancy in southern California. “The question is not so much whether the Millennials will be like them, but how to reach them, since they’re so different from the Boomers.”

The key is understanding—or, first, trying to identify—those differences. It’s one thing to market to Millennials with cute wine names or to approach them through social media because they use it, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to work. The Millennials may not be as jaundiced as their older cousins, the Gen Xers (born between born the mid-1960s and the early 1980s) about marketing, but they’re still more wary than the Boomers.

Also important, and often overlooked: Any discussion of the Millennials must take into account three things. First, that since the end of World War II, the U.S. economy experienced unprecedented growth. Will that continue? Many of the projections on Millennial spending assume they’ll have the same economic opportunities that the Boomers did, and that may not be the case given what appear to be major structural changes in the U.S. economy (to say nothing of ongoing wrangling about government spending).

Second, the Millennials are saddled with $1 trillion in college debt, which could limit their spending in a way that didn’t bother the two older demographics. One guess is that the Millennials’ penchant for low-cost social events like Wine Riot and the success of companies like Groupon represent evidence that they want to go out but can’t afford the bars and clubs that the Gen Xers and Boomers could.

Third, says John Gillespie, president of Wine Market Council, there appear to be some differences between younger Millennials, ages 21-28, and those 28 -36. The latter, he says, act more like Boomers—more willing to spend money, for instance. The younger group may change as it ages, too, but no one knows for sure.

Moving forward, every business looking to capture Millennial dollars needs to know what sets them apart from the Boomers—things that take into account not just demographic but economic and cultural differences:


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If you are like me, you get offers of reports on trends in the wine business about every day. Several years ago I saw a synopsis of an extensive report that seemed pretty interesting. For the mere price of $2,500US I had a several hundred page report on my desk in about a week. Now this was when I still had an expense account so please don’t start emailing me more sucker offers.


Click to enlarge!

Click to enlarge!


Sadly, much of the report seemed like it was written by a fresh-out-of-college student, or at a minimum someone who never lived in the wine business. It was rehash of everything you already knew. To make matters worse, I was cited in several places for things I’d said. That instantly devalued the purchase. Why would I listen to me? I always lie.
One of the largest issues in a family owned winery is getting your message out in a way that impacts your customers and prospective customers, helps deliver the right message in a way they hear it, and create an emotional connection with your brand. There is no way you can do that one customer at a time. Its not scalable. And while going with the standard cohorts of Millennials/GenX etc is tempting, that isn’t going to be very effective in the end because of the wide variance in tastes within the cohorts. So you have to find a way to segment your customers and prospective customers into groups so you can then customize a message for that group. That is scalable but it requires defining the groups and individual characteristics of the groups as well as their motivations. If you can do that, then you can do direct marketing and even events with like-minded people.

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Wine is on the rise.

Wine is on the rise.

The Wine Market Council finds that wine drinking has expanded to more venues.
Amid a still-challenging economic environment, wine sales continued to grow in 2012, according to the Wine Market Council—an independent, nonprofit trade association—and The Nielsen Company, which presented their annual findings on U.S. consumer trends in wine. Key discoveries included:

Not just for fancy restaurants. Wine drinkers are finding more occasions suitable for consuming wine, including less traditional venues like ball games or concerts. That said, restaurant patronage has increased since the downturn in the 2008–2009 recession, and wine consumption at expensive restaurants has rebounded along with that. An increase in wine consumption at casual chain restaurants, including quick service restaurants, also was observed.

“The story isn’t just more wine drinkers,” said John Gillespie, President of the Wine Market Council, “but that they are drinking wine much more frequently, and that’s what’s driving growth.” Particularly among Millennials and Generation Xers, “wine is finding its way into places and times we thought were previously unavailable.”

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Designing wine labels for the Millennial Generation.

Designing wine labels for the Millennial Generation.


The more inimitable and attractive a wine label design is the greater chance the bottle has of being purchased. It is widely believed that wine label art is reflective of the quality of the wine inside.
The double purchase

The artistic appeal of wine bottle labels initiates the first purchase, while the quality of the wine initiates a second purchase. Wine labels are no longer used to only communicate information about variety or winery but are used as a wine marketing tactic to attract potential buyers.

Differentiate your wine label design

With thousands of wines – local and international, hundreds of brands, and then the multiple varieties, palettes and packaging options available, it has made browsing wine isles quite overwhelming. It seems vital that within the highly competitive wine market, wineries would differentiate themselves as much as possible.

Wine is fashion

Someone once said, “Wine is fashion, and beverage aisles are our runway. Wines, like fashion, have reached a point where marketing and merchandising play as important a role as making the product itself.”

Wine bottle labels are essentially marketing billboards, which makes it all the more important for wine producers to understand their target market and design the label appropriately.

Baby Boomers

(Baby Boomers: born beginning in 1946 until end of 1964.) It seems clear that most wine marketers have spent the majority of their focus on the Baby Boomer population, and quite rightly so, but there is a market that has a larger buying power and is being largely ignored.
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The Millennial Generation.


How can wine producers get into the hearts – and pockets – of under-35s, the biggest demographic in history?


They drink wine more often, experiment with different brands, eat at upscale restaurants, and are attracted by ‘”fun” and “contemporary” wine labels. They’re the consumer group known as The Millennials (or Generation Y), and they’re on every marketer’s hit list.

America’s Wine Market Council is so keen to fathom the drinking habits of this demographic that in its latest report on wine consumption, it divided them into two groups: younger (22 to 25) and older (26 to 34). Its research shows that 65 percent of the older group drink wine every day or several times a week, and consume more glasses at each sitting – up to 2.92 – than other age groups.

How, then, should wine producers respond – bearing in mind that in the United States alone, this target demographic comprises between 75 million and 100 million consumers, depending on how it’s defined. In other words, they are the biggest consumer group in history.

L.A.-based Mutineer magazine, whose mission is “to share the modern fine beverage experience with the millennial generation,” runs Millennial Wine Circus workshops specifically to help producers target this huge group. For president Alan Kropf, there’s no doubting that this market segment is different from others.
“The size of the Millennial demographic distinguishes it, as does the existence of digital media in the mainstream,” he says. “Digital media has not only influenced the way Millennials receive information, it has revolutionized the way the wine industry communicates in general. Millennials are a revolutionary demographic for wine, and we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg.”

Australian-based global giant Treasury Wine Estates has decided that the future lies in establishing a male/female divide. Two years ago, it launched Sledgehammer wine (slogan: No Sipping. No Swirling.), complete with a website that asserts: “We make wine because we like drinking wine. Not because we want to talk about it. If you want a wine to swirl and sip while you analyze it, best move on and pick one with a foreign name and a picture of a chateau on the label.”

There are two wines in the range: a Sledgehammer Zinfandel (described as “bold and complex”), and a Sledgehammer Cabernet (“so big and rich we had a hard time fitting it in the bottle”). If a consumer needs a primer on how the wines are made (no swirling, mind), the website contains a guide – so “you can drink them like the man you are.”
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