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The New Generation of Wine Drinkers

With Gen-Z entering the workforce and Millennials now settled into careers, experts are wondering why wine enthusiasm is much lower than in previous generations.

In the United States, the biggest partakers of wine consumption and purchasing are people aged 60-80 years old.

This has left the wine industry concerned and confused about catering to the younger generation. 

Let’s take a closer look at how these young adults are changing the wine game.

Which Generation Drinks the Most Wine?

In general, Millennials have higher per capita alcohol consumption than older generations like Gen-Xers, as they are a much larger age group.

While it’s proven that Gen-Z and Millennials are still drinking alcohol, the main consumers of the wine category remain to be Baby Boomers.

This could be a result of the younger generation’s growing awareness of physical and mental health. It could also mean that younger people aren’t spending on luxury products like wine. 

It also appears that Gen-Zers are drinking 20% less alcohol overall than their Millennial predecessors.

With plenty of affordable wine options available, is there a deeper meaning behind declining wine popularity among younger consumers?

Why Do Young People Drink Wine Infographic

Why Do Young People Drink Wine?

In the past, young wine consumers might have wanted to fit in with the crowd or were curious about wine. Today, things have changed, as current generations care more about inclusivity and sustainability when it comes to brand loyalty. 

Here are seven reasons why young people today might enjoy this alcoholic beverage.

  1. 1. A Step in the Right Direction

The push for social change has led to championing farm-focused wines, Black-owned vineyards, and female-driven wineries. Gen-Z is a big proponent of advocating for movements that matter to them. When a brand stands behind social change, Gen-Z will surely notice. This especially applies to longstanding industries like the wine industry.

3 girls protesting

  1. 2. Loving the “NoLo” Trend

It’s a proven fact that Millennials and Gen-Zers love to enjoy a few glasses before experiencing that buzzing feeling. “NoLo” means “no to low alcohol,” prompting winemakers to take note and advertise cooler climate varietals like those from Germany, New Zealand, France, and Austria, as these wines have lower alcohol by volume. 

Regarding nonalcoholic beverages, this drinking category is expected to grow by 25% in the next few years.

Mindful drinking in moderation seems to be a trend amongst the younger crowd, as opposed to past trends of higher and higher alcohol wines.

Seasonal, fruity wines that are low in alcohol could be an excellent way for wineries to capitalize on the NoLo trend.

  1. 3. Sustainability

There’s been a massive movement of sustainable and natural wine amongst Gen-Zers, from eco-friendly vineyards to ethical production practices, organic beverages, and more. But remember that this same generation is not one for greenwashing. They care about tangible sustainability that goes beyond messaging, which leads us to our next pointer.

Hands holding plant and soil

  1. 4. Transparency

Just as young adults care about sustainable brand practices, they’re interested in what’s behind the brands they choose to trust. They want to know about everything that goes into what they’re consuming and if it was ethically sourced. 

When wines are open about production and give consumers a peek behind the curtain, this is an enormous plus for Gen-Z.

A fun way winemakers and vineyards can garner this generation’s attention is to host onsite affordable, candid tasting events. Younger generations aren’t interested in snobby showmanship or cold brand messaging. An open, hands-on approach is a great way to change the status quo.

  1. 5. Branding and Individuality

Speaking of peeling back the curtain, Gen-Z consumers spend a lot of time on social platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Instead of highly produced commercials, this demographic prefers to communicate directly with influencers and brands they trust.

What attracts Gen-Z are brands that speak to individuality while emphasizing transparency and other values like sustainability and positive social impact.

Openness, vulnerability, and speaking to things that matter have a great impact on this new generation.

Images on a cell phone

  1. 6. Affordability

A big reason why younger, newly 21-year-old consumers aren’t shopping for wine is because nicer varietals, like aged and exceptional imported wines, are often out of their spending bracket. 

Just because something is cheaper doesn’t mean the quality is lessened, and younger generations yearn for well-crafted, approachable, and affordable wines.

There may have been stigmas associated with things like boxed wine in the past, but make no mistake, Millennial, and Gen-Z wine enthusiasts aren’t dismissing products like canned wines and low-alcohol, fruity varietals.

  1. 7. Relatability

This point sums everything up regarding interest in wine among younger generations. We now know that Gen-Z favors trend-focused marketing, inclusivity surrounding relatable stories, transparency, and sustainable practices.  

With these aspects in mind, winemakers can push for approachable, affordable quality products with humor-focused social media marketing, fun labels, and trends like “NoLo” alcohol wines and natural wines like orange-skin contact sippers. 

For younger wine consumers, it’s all about vulnerability and sustainability; no snobbery here!

Cheersing red wine

Don’t Ignore the Next Generation

The wine industry isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so maybe it’s time to switch things up and learn the language of younger, up-and-coming wine enthusiasts. They’re talking, so all winemakers have to do is listen and raise a glass to a new adventure involving creativity and change.

If you’d like to enrich your wine knowledge further, check out our Podcast and Wine Online 101 for everything related to the world of wine.

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