Monday, July 26, 2010

20 Something Wine Drinkers

In December I happened to run across this site, 20 Something Bloggers,  so I marked it hoping to get back to it someday and blog about it.  It was a very impressive and organized collection of bloggers. Oh sure, there are a few idyllic 20-Something bloggers who are convinced that world peace will come if everybody sits down at the same time with a cupcake.  However, I can't be too critical of those feelings, after all there were many of us from the "Pepsi Generation" who thought "We could teach the world to sing in perfect harmony ... All standing hand in hand (and with a bottle of Coca~Cola) and hear them echo through the hills for peace throughout the land?"

Today's 20 Something wine drinkers are not your typical young drinkers, anymore.  They are not at all like us Boomers who drank right out of the bottles of Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill while passing it around to be shared at a concert or if you were  fortunate enough to hitch hike through Europe you might buy a cheap bottle of Côt and feel as if you were really "continental" and sophisticated.  How do I know about how Boomer's drank wine, well I didn't hang onto my suede fringed purse with the brass studded peace symbol on it for nothing.  Nor are today's 20 Something's like the young drinkers of the 1980's who were swooned over to drink plastic liters of citrus "wine" featuring polar bears wearing sun glasses on the labels and advertisements.  For the most part, today young wine drinkers are sophisticated and well read about wines, and even "retro" cocktails.  They are actually thinking about the Riedel glass specials on Amazon.com.  No bottle swigging for them.

Oh sure, you still have a cluster of 20 Somethings who are drinking the Barefoot label and no doubt is swayed by the pretty pink wine labels marked "Bitch" and "Hello Kitty,"  but they are thinking about wine.  They are reading wine blogs and downloading wine apps for their "Berries, Pods, and Droids - Oh my!"  Wine "country" areas are popping up in just about every state of the nation and wine appreciation classes are being taught in our colleges.  The student who may have been swayed by a Carlo Rossi jug-o-wine spritzer at a Greek party will soon become bored and want to expand his or her palate. 

My last couple of years spent pouring wine in a tasting room, I finally nailed down my favorite group of wine consumers.  It was the students from our four-year liberal arts college and the students visiting on holiday break.  They were thoughtful and open minded. They didn't have tight-assed preconceived notions about "white wines or off-dry wines" like some of their parents.  They were adventuresome, asked the best questions and at the same time contributed to conversation about the wine, either in front of them, or about the world. 

After the wine blogger conference, wine bloggers, winemakers and marketing directors asked the same question, "Is social media measurable?"  Well, how do we track print media?  Sure, we are told by magazines and newspapers about their subscription numbers, but there are no guarantees  the reader is going to read your ad, unless the ad is in a specialized magazine.  Even then, with pages and pages of clustered advertising, it doesn't guarantee your ad will be the focus unless it is a full page ad.  You can measure print media with coupons, but again coupons are often specific with expirations and require "work."  Someone has to really be inspired to clip your coupon and make a special trip to your winery before the expiration date.   

Generation Y represents an average of births from the late 1970's through the 1980's and early 1990's.  They were the first generation to grow up with the Internet and are marked by the increased use and familiarity with communication and media technology - there is no stopping them. Social media may not be "measurable" at this time, but you are already behind your measuring stick if you aren't participating to some degree.  Honestly?  We don't have time to worry if social media is measurable.  Social media and a new generation of wine buyers are growing and growing up. A study done by PR firm of Burson-Marstellera found 79 percent of the largest 100 companies in the Fortune Global 500 index are using at least one of the popular social media platforms to communicate with their customers and other stakeholders.

If you are a winery or a wine store - say hello, or more like tweet and text, to your new customers, especially as their incomes advance.  They aren't being referred to as the "Net Generation" for nothing.   Then be prepared - - by the time your winery is meeting the social marketing needs of GenY, say hello to GenZ.  We have to keep thinking ahead and have to grow in our marketing as our generations grow of drinking age.

2 comments:

Chris said...

Nice Article Catie. I don't know if you saw one, but during the Pre-WBC10 tour of the Yak, the Wine Yakima Valley folks were giving away jump drives in the little cork packege like that one in your photo.

Catie said...

Thanks Chris. Heh - yes, I got one from the Yakima Valley Wine group.
Cheers,
C~