SMITHSONIAN.COM – Somehow, Millennials—the generation born between about 1982 and 2004, depending on who you ask—have become much-maligned. Millennial haters cite their penchant for living in their parents’ basements and the smartphones seemingly fused to their hands as reasons to dismiss the demographic. Mock the Millennials’ habits if you like, but don’t assume that they don’t appreciate life’s finer pleasures. It turns out that Millennials drink more wine than any other generation—and are willing pay more for a nice bottle.
That’s the conclusion of a new report released by the Wine Market Council, an industry association of wine-related businesses. The results, which will be presented at the group’s annual conference, show Millennials’ surprising affinity for vino.
The study found that the majority of “highly involved wine drinkers” are Millennials, and that they drink beer, wine and spirits 40 percent more than the overall adult population. Millennials drove what the report calls “high frequency wine drinkers,” consuming a whopping 159.6 million cases of wine last year alone. That’s over 379 million gallons of wine, but who’s counting?
Oh, right: The wine industry. Wine Spectator’s Ben O’Donnell reports that as Millennials grow up, they’re also “trading up”: forking over more cash for a bottle of wine. Millennials’ penchant for diversity also carries over to their wine choices. “It’s not an exaggeration to say the Millennial American consumer has the most varied set of tastes of any wine drinker in history,” O’Donnell writes. Though Millennials prefer Italian wine (72 percent had purchased a bottle of Italian vino in the last year), French is a close contender (69 percent surveyed purchased a bottle of French wine in the last year).
One thing’s for sure: As Millennials continue to swipe right on wine, they’re changing the way the industry works. Millennials have inspired and made everything from maps that help track where grapes were grown to wine in cans. 22-to-34-year-olds aren’t just wine consumers—they’re wine influencers. That’s the great thing about wine: It leaves one hand free for texting.
by Erin Blakemore – smithsonian.com