As a general rule, I stay away from defending my generation against those who decry us as the hurried, entitled spawn of Generation X.
“Your parents worked for their corner offices!”
“You think you can get everything you want when you want it.”
“You’re always on your phone.”
You know the drill.
So, say what you will about “those 90s kids,” but one thing we proudly claim: according to DPS, those of us between 21 and 33 are the second largest group of wine consumers. Only grandma outdrinks us when it comes to vino.
Call it entitlement. Call it creativity. As far as I’m concerned, it provides everyone with the chance to experience new, fresh and exciting things all the time. From clothes and art to technology and food, millennials do it best when it comes to constant reinvention.
What exactly is it about millennial culture, though, that makes us so hype about wine? We have a few ideas.
Variety is the Spice of Our Lives
Millennials have found a way to personalize nearly every experience. And, with an excess of personalization comes a world of variety. No product, experience or Starbucks order need repeat itself.
Proof? We’ve seen exponential growth in microbreweries and brewpubs in the last 20 years, according to Brewers’ Association. We’ve seen an explosion in craft coffee. The demand for unique, quality beverages is driving a market of smaller operations that can exert more creative control over their products.
Wine, therefore, is a logical new frontier for this generation. Complex, traditionally dominated by bigger business and requiring a certain “rugged individualism,” wine production will put millennial behaviors to the ultimate test. Studies suggest that wine will take on a new face in the hands of millennials, from the growing number of boutique wineries to the way it’s made (if we can make it “green,” we will) to the way it’s packaged and sold.
While market trends might prevent wine from becoming “craft” in the traditional sense, the next two decades will reveal much about how much variety the wine industry can support as millennials seek to reinvent.
“Put your phone down!”
I’ve had a boss or two tell me how impatient us kids are. I’m inclined to agree, but we’ve also grown up in an age where technology has brought major efficiencies to everyday life. Connectivity and digitalization have simply made life move at a quicker pace.
In a generation that thinks in terms of technology, it’s very likely that even an agribusiness like wine production will experience some cost-cutting and quality-enhancing technological integration. From fields to bottom-floor cellars, app development in the years to come can make wine growing a little more science than art.
If you haven’t checked some of our wine-tech blogs, get up to speed on the advancements being made in wine technology.
Small Business Savvy
In my lifetime, I’ve seen Black Friday morph into a week full of special days I can hardly keep up with. Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, etc. My personal favorite (and what a typically anti-mass-consumer-culture millennial it makes me!) is Small Business Saturday.
Indeed, the small business movement is an oft-overlooked hallmark of millennial business trends. Overshadowed by “start-up” culture, where millionaires are made over night, the support for small business is reflective of millennial desires to create local culture and bolster community. It’s a bit of a reversion back to the days of gram and gramps where the corner store was a hopping spot.
If the microbrewery is any indication, artisanal wine shops are likely in our future, serving as a linchpin for small batch wine producers to interface with the public. These smaller production-distribution chains have immense potential to help support wine subculture, where millennial uniqueness makes itself accessible and shareable.
Time, of course, will tell, but I’d put my money on the millennial generation to do some pretty impressive things to the wine industry if these trends hold true.