Born between 1979 and 2002, Millennials follow GenX and Baby Boomers in the generations since WWII. Now coming of drinking age in large numbers, they are a huge potential market for wineries who know how to tap them. Unlike their parents, Millennials do not look for status wines or cellaring, preferring instant gratification. Millennials prefer unpretentious wines that are just good to drink with or without food. They tend toward value wines in the $10 and $15 range. Since they are really just looking for a pleasant beverage, scores and awards don’t matter. Millennials are also the most wired generation, having grown up during the boom of the Internet. From a marketing perspective, Millennials present several opportunities for wineries.
Wineries can not afford to ignore this relatively untapped market, but it will offer certain challenges to Marketing & PR professionals. Steve Heimoff of Wine Enthusiast Magazine illustrates this very well on his blog. Millennials tend to migrate more to beer and spirits, mostly because their parents are the wine drinkers, not them. One challenge is that, on average, many wine brands are at a higher price point than what most Millennials go for. This does not mean, however, that they will not pay more for what they perceive as “premium”. Also, wines that tend to be more “serious,” meant for enthusiasts and collectors are generally unattractive to Millennials who tend to go for more trendy beverages. While many wineries are releasing special trendy wines targeted specifically at Millennials, this is unlikely to see much success as Millennials tend to see right through these as marketing ploys. Therefore, the modern Marketing & PR professionals must be creative and consider other options.
One option to consider is education programs. According to a November 2007 AC Nielson study, while most Millennials consider themselves novices or only slightly knowledgeable about wine, approximately one-third (34%) are interested in learning more. Fortunately, it is a fairly simple endeavor to establish an effective education program. This is a tool for the Marketing & PR professional to leverage in promoting their brand. Another option is through social media. This is where many Millennials may be found, and it is a huge opportunity for wine professionals to pursue. See the Social Media section for pointers.
Also, check out some of these other blog posts for more insights: