Vineyard & Winery Management

January - February 2012

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The Millennial Split The Millennial generation made a big splash when it burst on the wine scene several years ago. Here were fledgling vinophiles who embraced wine as an everyday thing, jumped straight to reds and showed an adventurous streak that gladdened vintners' hearts. But a new survey indicates that the times may be, at least slightly, a-changing, with younger members of the generation showing consid- erably less interest in wine than their older siblings. "There seems not to be the degree of engagement at that young age," said John Gillespie, CEO and founder of Wine Opin- ions, who presented research on Millennials and wine at the recent Wine Industry Financial Symposium in Napa, Calif. That could change, he noted – Generation Xers didn't start to really enjoy wine until their mid- 30s. Still, in terms of wine market- ing, "It's kind of a warning blip on the radar screen now. Whether it means anything or not, I don't think we'll know until we have more research." Millennials, also known as Gen- By Michelle Locke NEWS FLASH eration Y, emerged around 2003, when the oldest members of the group were 26. What Gillespie has noticed is a difference in behaviors of the younger (21-25) group mem- bers, whom he calls "mini-lenni- als," and older members (26-34). For instance: Nearly half of older Millennials drink wine several times a week while half of younger Millennials drink wine on average only once a week. One in three younger Millenni- als said they tend to drink wine only on special occasions, compared to only one in five older Millenni- als, going against the recent trend toward increasingly common con- sumption of wine in casual, every- day situations. And while finances are an issue – younger Millennials are gradu- ating college with big debts and small prospects – Gillespie said he doesn't think that's the decid- ing factor, since Millennials were willing to spend money on wine in better economic times, rather than opting for the cheap stuff. Meanwhile, younger drinkers are Washington Votes to Privatize Liquor Sales In early November, Washington state voted overwhelmingly to end the state's 78-year monopoly on liquor sales. Ballot initiative 1183 won with about a 60% majority. Costco stores will now be able to sell alcoholic beverages at its nearly 30 stores across the state. Because retailers will now be allowed to purchase directly from suppliers, Costco can effectively act as its own distributor. Grapegrowers Sue California Water Board Grapegrowers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties have sued the California Water Resources Control Board over new regulations regarding water use for the Russian River watershed, designed to protect salmon and steelhead from reduced water levels caused by frost protection efforts. The opposing group, called the Russian River Water Users for the Environment, said the regulations are unconstitutional and too broad. AWRI Sequences 'Brett' Genome The Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) has sequenced the genome for Brettanomyces (Brett), revealing its genetic blueprint. The discovery, researchers say, will give the Australian wine industry a competitive advantage in managing Brett. Over two decades, incidence of Brett spoilage has dropped by 90%, AWRI officials said. UC Davis Building to be Sustainable Hub Ground has been broken at UC Davis for the 8,000-square-foot Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery Building. The $4 million building will enable the adjacent winery to become the world's first self-sustainable, zero- carbon teaching and research facility. Set for completion in 2013, it will be used to explore new research areas and facilitate the production of zero- carbon-footprint wines. Younger Millennials are less likely than those at the older end of the generational spec- trum to drink wine on a daily basis. 12 VINEYARD & WINERY MANAGEMENT JAN - FEB 2012 For more industry news briefs, visit the News Flash page on V&WM's website: WWW.VWM-ONLINE.COM

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