How Millennials View YOU, Wine Industry

Everybody’s attempting to do the brand new dance now – it’s called TRY AND REACH OUT TO MILLENNIAL CONSUMERS.  Well, what do Millennials think of all this?  Granted, there aren’t nearly enough people attempting, but let’s look at the landscape.


It looks a lot like the dancefloor at the last wedding you went to.  Now, not everyone is out on the floor – it takes a certain amount of courage to get out there.  Of the people out on the floor, you observe a few different types.  First off, there’s the “kids.”  They’re looking pretty good – they know the music, know the moves, and they’re having fun.  Then there’s the “grandparents” – we love them just for getting out there and trying.  Then there’s the “parents” – they’re a bit older than the kids, but they’re out there.  They’re trying.  Some of them are attempting to bring back their own famous dance moves from back in the day – with little success.  Some are trying to copy the “kids” since they must know best, right?  This can be pretty embarassing to watch.  Some of them, however, know the music and know the scene and can get right down to business.

Welcome to the party that is the wine industry right now.  Good for everyone on that dance floor for just getting up and trying.  As an observer, though, you can see that not everyone is… let’s say effective.  Most of the “kids” look great.  You want to go up and hug the “grandparents” just for being awesome enough to try.  But it’s the main population of the dance floor, the “parents,” that are tough to watch.  The best people on the floor know the music and the scene – regardless of whether they are 14 or 62 – the rest are trying, bless their hearts, but they’re not really getting anywhere.


Let this be a warning...

So if the dance floor is made up of companies vying for the Millennial consumer, that would make the Millennial consumer… YOU. THE OBSERVER.

Millennials have had advertising campaigns shoved in our faces since we were propped up in front of our parents tvs.  It’s safe to say that we’re a pretty savvy group.  It’s not like we don’t KNOW that we’re being marketed to. We fully realize this – we’re used to it.  In fact, we get perturbed if we are NOT marketed to, and yet a company telling us that they are hip will not make us consumers.  We are innate experts at taking in and analyzing information in order to form opinions.  And we are REALLY good at forming opinions, as any Millennial parent will tell you.  And just as it’s crystal clear to anyone looking at that dancefloor that Uncle Billy is making an ass of himself, it’s just that easy for us to see which companies are wasting their time.

Possibly the most simple and powerful example of this comes from a recent post on  The post is a piece on a new wine tasting group in Los Angeles (WTF LA – yes, this is my group and apologies for the plug, but there is a reason for it…).  The freelance writer, Jenia Gorton, is a Millennial and has some VERY interesting things to say about how young people are treated as consumers in the wine industry.  I think the most interesting is this quote:

It seems like there is “good” wine, which young people are expected to know nothing about, and “cheap” wine, for us ignorant 20 and 30-somethings, bums, and broke alcoholics.

It speaks directly to what many companies and marketers think of young people consuming wine today: we aren’t educated and we won’t spend the money.  Yep, we hear you loud and clear, but maybe we don’t want some company’s version of 2 Buck Chuck.  Or the new Yellowtail.  It’s possible that we want to be respected as consumers and have a company or two reach out to us based on qualities other than our wallets.  Like our tastes, our sense of humor, our lifestyles, our shared experiences – but if a company is not connected to any of these things… that effort will still be a FAIL.

So what can marketers learn from Millennials like Ms. Gorton? If you’re going out on the floor, you better know how to DANCE.



Filed under Basics, Growth, Marketing, Myths & Legends, Outreach

7 responses to “How Millennials View YOU, Wine Industry

  1. Great observations. I love the analogy to the dance party. I just had a group of soon-to-be grads from Whitman College in the tasting room – and loved their company, great questions, curiosity and nice manners! No, they did not buy anything – but that’s cool. They’ll come back with their “parents”!

    • Hello Denise,

      You might find that while they didn’t buy anything on the spot, they may have or will online if the price point and shipping was in-line of course… Also, keep in mind Millennials are vocal in the online space which you may have had some good word of mouth due to their positive experience.

      An interesting test you can do when you have a crowd of similar people, would be to provide them an online discount code. See if they possibly go and purchase online later with that special code. May be a neat way to track what happens after they visit…


  2. christopherswinecheese

    What you say is so spot on about simply treating each person walking in with the same respect – not instantly deciding these people can afford this, while those people can’t.

    One of the college students who worked for us last year before graduation had the most incredible palate of anyone I’ve ever met – which he’s putting to great use biking through Europe at the moment.

    It seems as though the “mature” companies are falling into 2 camps at the moment – those who think the Millennials aren’t worth the effort – and those who are going overboard in their effort to be liked (similar to the almost 50yo mom dressing like her daughter). Both of them seem ready to jump on the “next big thing” like Facebook or Twitter – but the majority certainly are missing the social concept – and you can’t be social without showing one another respect.

  3. Pingback: TibTV » Blog Archive » How Millennials View YOU, Wine Industry

  4. Great article and I like that you put it in the wedding dance party terms. I wonder if the embarrassing parents know they are not hip though.

    It’s a combination of message and using the right tools to deliver the message.

    I hope to be in LA and take one of your tours.


  5. Wonderful analogy. Spot on and made me laugh too!

    • Absolutely! A wonderful analogy! Living in a town of three colleges, I came across several students during my years of working in a tasting room. I loved them!

      Last year there were several articles about wine regions having problems with drunken wine tourists in limousines. Some compared the behavior to “frat boy” and some readers of these articles left comments assuming it was college students who were behaving this way and not the “Cabernet and Brie” crowd (their reference name).

      I wish some of the “Cabernet and Brie” crowd would behave the way most of the college students behaved when visiting our area wineries.

      From my experience the college crowd were some of the more thoughtful and insightful visitors to pour for and visit with (of course after the checking of ID formality is out of the way).

      Anyways, I like the direction of where the new generation of wine lovers are headed and as far as this old Boomer, I plan to follow them on the dance floor.

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