DAVIS (CBS SF) – Forget the $2 Chuck. A new survey of wine industry leaders has found that millennials are flocking to the higher priced premium wines.
UC Davis released their study surveying the views of leaders among the hundreds of wine producers who operate in Northern California.
The panel included Alex Ryan of Duckhorn Vineyards, Bruce Cakebread from Cakebread Cellars, Peter Mondavi of Charles Krug, Rick Tigner from Kendall Jackson, Bob Torkleson of Trinchero Family Estates, Carolyn Wente from Wente Family Estates, Larry Maguire of Far Niente and others.
Each was asked five questions focusing on the future of the region’s wine industry and when it came to future growth – the wine industry leaders were optimistic.
“Wine consumption in the U.S. has increased every year since 2000 and we don’t see that slowing down. In fact, we’ve found that today’s consumers are trading up,” replied one of the respondents.
The group that is particularly trading up is the millennials – consumers aged from 19-34.
“The wine industry has clearly been energized by the millennial generation,” said Professor Robert Smiley, dean emeritus of the UC Davis Graduate School of Management. “The millennials, many of whom are foodies, are eager for new experiences related to food and wine and to share their discoveries via social media.”
The survey respondents also believe millennials are seeking experiences different than their parents.
“Nobody wants to do exactly what their parents did. Most people are introduced to wine around the dinner table. People like to keep changing. Changing from your parents,” one respondent wrote. “If you grew up in the 50’s and 60’s they drank scotch and sodas or gin and tonics. If you grew up in the 70’s and 80’s they drank more traditional wines. We have always been morphing.”
“I think the millenials are drinking new stuff. They want to go out into the world of wine and not just Bordeaux, or Napa cab. They want to go out and try new varietals.”
Another leader said the millennial generation is focused on unique experiences.
“I don’t think any generation has ever reached the level of ‘desire for experiences’ that the millennial generation has,” a respondent wrote. “It’s the reason why this whole rental economy is so pervasive. Why AirBnb is so successful. You have so many experiences you can borrow for a moment. And these young people are really going for it.”
And what wines are the millennials enjoying the most?
The industry leaders said that over the next three years the strongest red wine varietals will be cabernet, followed by pinot noir and red blends.
They anticipated that the top white varietals will be chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, followed by pinot grigio.