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Why is Generation Y Unique When It Comes to Wine?

So much talk about how Generation Y is a distinct and unique market when it comes to wine (and everything), but how exactly are they different? A study called "Carpe Vinum", commissioned by the London Wine Fair and conducted by Wine Intelligence, tackles the subject. Richard Halstead, reflecting on the results of Carpe Vinum on Wine Intelligence, lists five insights from the study that he and the research team found interesting and "potentially unnerving" when it comes to young people and wine:

  • Most don’t care about the wine category in a meaningful way: some are curious, but many are indifferent
  • There is a lot going on in their lives, and finding time to think, read and research stuff (like what wine they might like) is a rarity
  • They are impatient if things don’t work for them straight away, consistently, either online or in life
  • They are much more attuned to visual communication than text communication
  • There are plenty of drinks for them to choose from – blends, variations, flavours – and less of a gender taboo about, for instance, women drinking beer or men drinking cocktails

Are these five insights specific to a generation? Is impatience solely the provenance of Generation Y, as well as indifference to wine as a category? Don't we all have a lot going on in our lives as adults? (No offense to toddlers and teens. Stay in school!)

The most compelling insight might be the fifth one. As a Generation Xer, I know my choices were a lot less vast, specifically when it came to beer. Really, if it was cold it was sold in my book. (I'm looking at you, Milwaukee's Best Light.) Though I do have to disagree about this gender taboo. I (full disclosure) had no problem drinking cosmos in the 90s, and if Mad Men and all the way back to The Thin Man taught us anything, it's that cocktail hours were neither the exclusive provenance of male nor female imbibers. And as far as beer goes, just take a look at vintage beer ads with women.

Wine Intelligence also put together a one performance-only play version of "Carpe Vinum" dramatizing how this issues can unfold in the real world. Here's the video:

What do you think makes Generation Y unique when it comes to wine?



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