Half of all the wine that is swirled, swished, sipped, gargled and swallowed in the United States is consumed by millennials. The Wine Council Market (WMC) reported that in 2015 alone, millennials -- those between the ages of 20 and 30 -- consumed 159.6 million cases of wine.
As such, it is a dramatic understatement to suggest the millennial market is merely important to the wine industry.
Millennials Take Different Approach to Drinking than Other Generations
It isn't just the amount of wine millennials drink, it's how they drink wine.
While their parents would enjoy a glass of wine at dinner or a few during a night out with friends, millennials tend to drink at least three glasses per sitting, and millennials aren't just evening and nighttime wine drinkers.
According to the WMC, between 2000 and 2015, the percentage of the population that drinks more than a few glasses a week almost doubled from 7 percent to 13 percent.
Millennials, it seems, will drink wine on or for any occasion. Whether it is a glass of wine during lunch or several at a Sunday afternoon get-together with friends, millennials are far less likely to re-cork a bottle than finish it.
Women Leading the Charge
The women of this generation seem to have made a major shift in the direction of wine.
Women drink 57 percent of the $32 billions of wine consumed annually, and "sparkling wine growth is leading in the U.S. off-trade with an 11.7 percent value growth in 2015, while table wine is increasing at 5.2 percent in value."
According to a Larissa Faws Forbes report, there is a 13 percent a year increase in rosé wine sales annually as well.
While there are a variety of reasons wine sales have spiked as a result of millennials, there are five principal reasons wine is so popular with millennials, especially with women.
Again, the majority of those consuming wine are women, and women are also responsible for the upsurge in wine sales.
Even though some spirits like gin and tequila do well in the female demographic, whiskeys, scotches and most other spirits don't have nearly the popularity with women that they have with men. The reason? They don't like the taste.
Beer is more popular with women than spirits are, but according to Time.com, most women prefer the taste of wine over beer.
2) The History, Geography, and Tradition of Wines
By nature, wine is interesting. Studying wines is educational. Party conversations and commentary arise from the origin and aromas of wines. Millennials like to explore and learn new things, so they're not just buying a case of Kim Crawford like their mother.
Millennials are doing research and asking questions. Millennials want to know why each wine is the way it is.
3) Greater Variety
Wine is grown in 69 countries around the world. That means there is incredible variety with respect to the taste of and flavors in wine. The pleasure a person can take in being a wine connoisseur is almost as interesting as the enjoyment of wine itself.
4) Socially Appropriate
Wine is a socially acceptable alcohol that fits most occasions. A few glasses of wine is far more acceptable than downing three or four shots.
Whether a man or a woman, drinking wine doesn't have the same stigma drinking hard liquor or a six pack of beer does.
Those drinking wine are not of the same mentality or mindset as those in their early twenties attending frat parties.
5) Alcohol Content
While it's not across the board, most wine doesn't have the same alcohol content as spirits. On the other hand, it generally has more than beer. So, a person can drink more wine without getting inebriated than they can with spirits, but they don't have to get a bloated feeling to get the same buzz.
There are dozens of other reasons millennials are avid wine drinkers, but these five variables play as large a role as any. The storied tradition of both wine in general and many individual wines; the variety of wines available; it's taste; alcohol content and social appropriateness all make wine popular with millennials, female millennials in particular.
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