When did you start drinking wine? Was it at 18, when you were first welcomed into a bar or at age 35 when sophistication and a relaxed dinner with friends sounded more appealing than the city’s hotspots? Maybe you grew up in old country with only two options for a beverage to accompany a meal: Water or wine? My dad at 10-years-old was asking for ‘grape juice’ at lunch before running off back to school. Lucky guy hey?
Wine appreciation obviously varies; however, it may be safe to say that the majority of wine drinkers are among the older crowd. At least that is what the wine industry is reporting while they try and shape advertising to grasp the attention of younger generations.
“The battle is on, everyone is being aggressive,” said Danny Brager, an alcoholic-beverages expert for Nielsen, when discussing wine advertising targeted at youth with The LA Times. In addition to the aggression, wineries are having to compete the “Craft beer craze,” that is taking over.
WineCollective has noticed this connection before. With the popular eye catching wine brands such as “Bodacious Brunette Red,” or “Fat Bastard,” advertising is definitely headed in the direction for attracting beyond the snobby old French man that wine is typically associated with. What’s more if that this simple tactic is working as these hilariously named wines are skyrocketing in sales.
If you’re out and about, you may notice wine’s popularity with younger crowds. My personal observations have noticed how common it is for a group of friends to order wine to the point where it almost seems like a trend. Sangria is appearing on every pub’s drink menu and nightclub bartenders will hand you a glass of “white wine” in a plastic cup. Whether it is celebrity wines (we’ve all heard of Brangelina’s Rose that flew off shelves) or entertaining names, wine advertisements are working.
Typical alcohol campaigns today circulate around the idea that wine is cool or “enhances social success,” Lambrini is targeted at young women as a “social lubricant.”
The Wine Institute lists issues and policies when advertising wine. Number 2.c. reads, “Wine shall not be presented as vital to social acceptability and popularity.” This rule, among others, poses a challenge to wine companies who are attempting to pull wine from the market of baby boomers (44% of sales) to the up and coming.
So how do vintners balance generating interest with the young-folk in a way that is socially responsible?
In the fall of 2012, Los Angeles event organizers Second Glass prepared a Wine Riot. With bass-pumping DJ’s and a trendy venue, the event was bound to appeal to the cool kids. Throw in 250 wines, with UNLIMITED tastings, for $60 and you most definitely have a party.
“It’s fun socializing and getting tipsy. Nobody’s judging you if you don’t appreciate the ‘complex blends,’” said 26-year-old Wine Riot attendee, Ellie Ti.
It seems as though advertising to new adults isn’t that complicated. Apparently wineries that implement less fancy labels and easy-drinking wines are destined for success in generations to come.
We can only hope that within those generations there are a few who still enjoy those ‘complex blends.” From scientific winemaking methods to the thousands of varieties, unique in quality and flavour, there is valuable education in wine that is not only for members of high society. While we’re all for new vino fans, let it not come at the expense of losing the value and experience of wine for a shiny label.