retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Los Angeles Times reports on what wineries are doing to attract younger drinkers to their products - and much of it has to do with coming up with unusual names and labels designed to demystify the category.

Here's how the Times frames the story:

"Veteran wine collectors might turn up their well-trained noses. But the wineries promoting such brands aren't targeting those buyers. With many of their best customers nearing retirement age and starting to cut back, American vintners are going after younger consumers in a bid to keep their $33 billion industry growing.

"That means more irreverent labels, easy drinking wines, singles events and laid-back tastings - all aimed at demystifying the elite atmosphere surrounding wine while grooming the next generation of oenophiles."

The story goes on to note that "Baby Boomers have been the main driver of the U.S. wine market for years, making up 40 percent of the customer base today. They tend to have more sophisticated tastes and are more inclined to buy expensive fine wines." But as they retire and cut back on their wine purchases and consumption, "the youngest drinkers, 21- to 34-year-olds known as Millennials, are looking more appealing.

"For starters, there are a lot of them - roughly 70 million. But many young drinkers already are being wooed by the craft beer craze and the rise of cocktail culture, conditioned by celebrity endorsers and targeted marketing to gravitate toward sudsy brews and hard liquor.

"The wine industry wants to convert Millennials to Malbecs and Moscatos while they're still young, hoping to create a lifelong clientele."

While "Millennials tend to be more price sensitive and less knowledgeable than older buyers," the story says, but they are embracing the subject meaning that "wine magazines are doubling the number of young writers and reviewers. Napa wineries are creating special tours for young guests clad in jeans, yoga gear, flip flops and even Mohawks."
KC's View:
I must have missed the memo about how I'm supposed to drink less as I get older.

I may not be attracted to any of the techniques being used to cater to younger drinkers, but that's okay. Just as long as we keep the vineyards open and the industry vital.