When it comes to wine, the generations just can’t agree.
Napa Technology, makers of the WineStation, uncovered a vast ideological wine drinking divide between Baby Boomers, aged 47-66; and Millennials, those aged 21-34.
Preliminary data captured from more than 3 million ounces of wine poured from Napa Technology’s WineStation across the United States, coupled with input from leading wine experts, points to a challenging proposition for restaurateurs and wine program directors trying to accommodate a wide range of consumption preferences and price points while still maintaining profitability on an extremely perishable product.
Millennials, those aged 21 – 34 want exciting, adventurous wines from around the globe and Baby Boomers, 47 – 66 years old, prefer domestic, familiar brands at value prices.
Marian Jansen op de Haar, wine industry expert and founder of consultancy, Vines 57, reports, “Many boomer wine drinkers go for the “sure thing” rather than experimenting. Wines such as Silver Oak, Duckhorn, Grgich Hills, Chateau Montelena have all been popular, especially when offered by the glass.”
Most surprisingly, many leading wine experts report that millennials are spending more on wines and wines by the glass than their older wine drinking counterparts.
Several wine experts believe that Millennials are driving the wine making styles and not just variety. Andrew Shipe, Vice President Culinary & Marketing, Aramark – S&E refers to young drinkers as the Juice Box Generation and reports, “The youth that grew up on juice boxes are still looking for those sweet flavors as they move into the wine category.”
According to Robert Larsen, public relations director for Rodney Strong Wine Estates, friendly education, exploration and discovery are breaking down the previously perceived stuffy barriers for young wine drinkers.
Larsen explains, “ At Rodney Strong’s Meritage blending seminar guests get to blend five Bordeaux varieties we use in our Symmetry to make their own blended wine. Our other seminar is a Pinot Noir clone tasting, for our Davis Bynum wines, where the attendees taste six different clones of pinot noir, I had 80 people in the last pinot clone seminar who were super engaged and full of really great questions.”
And Trudy Thomas, Director of Beverage, JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa, agrees, “New wine drinkers are fearless about asking questions about an unknown wines.” She adds, “We are seeing a more educated, price savvy consumer.”
Wines by the glass are also on the rise, in volume, price per ounce and prestige. It is not uncommon for wines by the glass to range from $20 on up. Screaming Eagle, Château Pétrus, Château d’Yquem, Joseph Phelps Insignia and other rare beauties are increasingly quaffed by inquisitive young drinkers.
With the advent of the WineStation, Napa Technology is helping to close the great generational wine divide with its cutting-edge wine preservation system.
“Wines by the glass have been a great way for restaurants to offer a wide range of varietals and price points to satisfy a diverse group of diners,” says Jayne Portnoy, Vice President of Marketing & Brand Strategy, Napa Technology. She adds, “But in order to maintain a wine program’s profitability, operators need to have a preservation system that eliminates waste and over pouring.”
The WineStation, most recently installed in Alain Ducasse’s bistro Benoit, has helped hundreds of restaurants, wine bars, cruise lines, hotels and grocery stores worldwide develop profitable wine programs that appeal to a wide range of both classic and adventurous palates.
WineStation® is the first intelligence-based, automated, temperature-controlled wine dispensing and preservation system. The product delivers a “just opened” taste experience for up to 60 days once the bottle has been corked. Enhancing this technology, WineStation® reports the trends of popular bottles, sales reporting for both individual servers as well as individual customer preference. The result: good quality wine for the customer and higher profits for the business owner.