Younger consumers are in danger of being distracted away from wine

By now, several thousand copies of Carpe Vinum, the first of several research projects commissioned by London Wine Fair on behalf of exhibitors and visitors, have found their way onto desks and bookshelves of those eagle-eyed enough to grab a copy on offer at London Olympia last week.

The book was also accompanied by Carpe Vinum: The Play, which ran for one performance only last Tuesday morning to a packed house in the LWF Industry Briefings Theatre. Thanks again to the talented cast of George, Emmanuela, Nika and Mike for bringing the research to life so memorably. For those who missed it (or who would like another look), we recorded the event and the video is now available for viewing on YouTube

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The book, and the play, were born of a desire to help the wine trade in the UK get a better feel for how Generation Y interacts with wine. As those who witnessed the Carpe Vinum show will remember, the way we’re perceived isn’t exactly how we would like. So the question is: what do we do about it?

As we were finalising the report, the research team and I were struck by a few interesting – and potentially unnerving – insights about young people and wine:

  1. Most don’t care about the wine category in a meaningful way: some are curious, but many are indifferent
  2. 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
  3. They are impatient if things don’t work for them straight away, consistently, either online or in life
  4. They are much more attuned to visual communication than text communication
  5. 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

The net of it is that wine should not feel it is entitled to these consumers. Many will of course migrate to the wine category over time for traditional reasons, but may not engage with it in a way that boosts their spend, and the industry’s profits. In any case, Generation Y represent an interesting commercial opportunity today: those of you who have read your Carpe Vinum will know that they generally spend more than their older peers on wine, and also tend to buy it in a way which offers brand owners more scope to boost margins.

For more information on the London Wine Fair / Wine Intelligence Carpe Vinum project, please email richard@wineintelligence.com

Author: Richard Halstead

Email: richard@wineintelligence.com