Key Trends Shaping Wine in 2012

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When the Wine Market Council released it’s 2012 Market Forecast, the numbers looked encouraging. Overall table wine consumption increased in 2011. Core consumers (those who enjoy wine at least once a week) tally up 58% of the wine drinking population. Of those, 65% drink wine daily or several time a week.

There’s a great deal more basic data, most of it positive for the industry, but what is beginning to take shape as the numbers get parsed and digested is the marked consumption behavior differences based on age.

Millenials (ages 21-34) are showing behavior splits within themselves. Older Millenials (26-34) are highly engaged wine drinkers with 65% drinking wine daily or several times a week. Their younger counterparts come in at around 50% showing similar behavior. The difference is evidenced by age, but the reasons may also be influenced by economics. younger Millenials are hardest hit by our economic downturn, and view wine more as a special occasion experience as the skew higher in preferring spirit consumption.

Social media engagement by wine drinkers is also on the rise. Leading the way are the High End wine consumers, with a strong 60% reporting they used social media as a means of finding information about wine. As might be expected, the Baby Boomers were the least engaged with wine online (26%). Again, there was a strong difference in behavior between young and older Millennials (40% for younger vs 52%, older Millenials). Gen X (35-46) engagement with wine online is strong at 40%.

As we look at age, consider the hot wine-of-the-moment Muscato (and other sweet reds) which experienced a sharp increase in 2011 (up 73%), driven largely by younger drinkers. This trend is being compared to the (then) young Baby Boomers discovering wine in the 1960's. Do you remember Sweet Roses or Lancers or Mateus? These sweet and easy wines were the entree for a generation that ultimately fueled the American love affair with Chardonnay and Merlot in the 80's and 90's.

All this data is strong support for the bright future of the wine industry. But the behavior differences within generational groups point to a need for wine marketers to consider their audience as being made up of different segments, with different behaviors, rather than simply “wine consumers.”

Source :: MJR Creative Group


Although China's bustling metropolises and staid Bordeaux may seem worlds apart, the two are becoming increasingly intertwined. Indeed, China recently overtook the traditional strongholds of Germany and the United Kingdom to become Bordeaux's largest export destination. This transformation is particularly remarkable given the country's short history of mass wine consumption. Historically, beverages such as sorghum-based baijiu and beer have dominated Chinese alcohol consumption, with wine only recently gaining wide acceptance.

Read the full article.

01052012 wine-taber

The worldwide wine business is a good case study in free trade, given that there are many producers and few restrictions on commerce. In recent years, the cost of wine has reflected this generally free global market in two ways - one good and the other bad, as George M. Taber argues in this op-ed piece. Taber is the author of four books on wine. His latest is titled, A Toast to Bargain Wines: How innovators, iconoclasts, and winemaking revolutionaries are changing the way the world drinks.

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The news is good for winemakers according to the recent presentation by the Wine Market Council. The council's sixth annual U.S. Wine Consumer Trends presentation confirmed that this new year marks 17 years of consecutive growth of wine consumption in the U.S.

John Gillespie, president of the Wine Market Council revealed that wine consumption continued to grow through two recessions, albeit at reduced rates. In 2010, U.S. consumers downed 276 million cases of table wine. But it is the core wine drinkers that really keep the numbers high. This group, defined as those who drink wine daily, several times a week or about once a week, is about 20 percent of the population (approximately 46 million U.S. adults). This dedicated group accounts for 91 percent of all wine consumption. Marginal drinkers defined as those who drink wine less often than weekly represent 31 million U.S. adults.

Wine drinking is on the rise in the Millennial group (ages 17 to 34). Six percent are drinking wine daily, 26 percent are drinking wine several times a week, and 19 percent drink wine once a week on average. Generation X (ages 35 to 46) and Baby Boomers (ages 47 to 65) are also consuming wine more regularly. The over-65 wine drinkers have the largest proportion of daily wine drinkers, perhaps because of doctors' recommendations.

The results also reveal some interesting figures on varietals. Baby Boomers are drinking Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and leaving behind Dry Rose and White Zinfandel or blush wines as well as drinking less Champagne and sparkling wines. Overall wine drinkers are still conscious of their wallet and looking for good value wines but there are also signs of slow growth at the mid and higher ranges.

Another intriguing part of the survey is the social media results. Two-thirds of core wine drinkers and 40 percent of marginals use the Internet to get information on wine," Gillespie said. More than half of all wine drinkers are on Facebook and 41 percent of core wine drinkers use a smart phone and, of those, 39 percent said they have wine, food or restaurant applications on their phones whereas only 25 percent of marginal drinkers use a smart phone.

Source :: Luxist

Pressure is mounting worldwide for alcoholic beverage producers to modify labels to make the health and nutritional information more clear to consumers. From Australia to America, it's a hot button issue that will impact alcoholic beverage brands worldwide this year.

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