Those of you planning on attending the upcoming 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville, VA will have your choice of interesting break-out session panels during the afternoon of July 22nd. I’ll be moderating one of them, titled Millennials and Wine.
Millennials are Democratic (by a slight majority), thoroughly on-line and plugged daily into social networking tools, and (by a huge majority) sleep with their cellphones (really?) . They are young enough that they might not get the reference mentioned in the title of today’s post. They are fast becoming the wine consumers of the modern era, drinking a lot of the stuff (even in the shower… not sure I get that one entirely), especially if it has bubbles.
And there are nearly 25 million more of them than there are Gen Xers.
With a potential market that big, if you’re even thinking about wine writing, wine blogging, wine sales, wine marketing, or wine making, you’d better start to understand what makes Millennials tick when it comes to wine.
And you’d better do it quickly…
I’m not a Millenial, but 1WineDude.com has proven somewhat popular among that group of wine aficionados, and while I’ve no idea why (or exactly how) it happened, I count myself fortunate to have been unofficially anointed by some in (and out of) their generation as a sort of Gen X-er spokesperson on their behalf, when it comes to how Millennials interact with wine in the online world.
Nocturnal cell phone habits aside, I’m deeply indebted to the wine drinkers of the Millennial generation – they have, after all, helped to make this blog as successful as it is. More importantly (for me, anyway), Millennials have profoundly influenced my worldview with their cosmopolitan approach to new experiences, endless thirst for geeky knowledge, sense of global interconnectedness, and their unwavering confidence that they can embark on any path of discovery (vinous included) with near reckless abandon (hey, if you came into adulthood with the totality of collective human experience available online, at your fingertips, you’d have the confidence that you’d be able to figure out the other 999 steps of the one thousand on any journey on the fly, too).
My deep-seated gratitude to what what Millennials have taught me was the impetus behind why I volunteered to be involved in the Millennials and Wine panel – so I was thrilled to be asked to moderate it. I just hope I do a good enough job of keeping out of the way of the discussion so that we maximize the value that the panel members will bring to those of you attending the conference in VA!
The panel itself is 100%-certified Millennial, and will focus on key items that wine media peeps and citizens blogger need to know in order to be able to reach that generation – namely, how young people view and experience wine, the wine industry, and social media related to wine.
The panel members are a young and talented bunch:
- Pia Mara Finkell (originator of the panel, blogger at The Booze Bin and wine PR specialist at CRT/Tanaka)
- Hunter Smith (of family-owned Charlottesville winery Afton Mountain Vineyards)
- Leah Hennessy (one of my fave bloggers, and owner of digital marketing firm Millennier, Inc.)
Here’s hoping you’ll join us – and if you have questions or topic you’d like to see covered in the panel at WBC11, shout ‘em out!
20 thoughts on “Talkin’ ‘Bout Their Wine G-G-G-Generation (Millennials And Wine At WBC11)”
2 PM today – http://www.pahousegop.com
Don't miss it.
PA – off-topic, as I'm guessing that's not about Millennials…?
Didn't know where else to put it – privatization bill (for the good of the millennials) formal introduction.
Ah, thanks, PA – that should be interesting! :)
Nice article, I'd love to have involvement with future Millennial panels if you need or are looking for additional people.
THanks, Bobby – any thoughts on topics/questions you'd like to see discussed on the current panel?
Joe – I'll see you at the conference and will definitely check out this panel! I have a few questions that I would pose to this group –
– What wine marketing strategies have been best in reaching this generation? Examples?
– How would the panelists tackle the challenge of marketing premium wine – with prices to match – to Millennials? Is price an issue (and I would argue yes) and, if so, how best to address it?
– Is having a Millennial marketing strategy the right approach for all wineries? Are there any cases where it would not be best-fit?
I'll let you know if I come up with any others – see you soon!
Thanks, Julie – I'm sensing a pattern, I've received a few emails along similar lines, and I've got a feeling the panel will be attended by a lot of the industry participants at WBC11, so will certainly try to incorporate some of these Qs. Cheers!
I would have two questions. First, what is the danger of overfitting? Anyone who is a member of a "generation" recognizes how absurdly broad the brush strokes are when you try to describe the behavior and beliefs of tens of millions of people. So how do you avoid taking things too far in the "millennials like X" direction (and of course you've still got Generation Y, Generation X, and the Baby Boomers to sell too).
My second question is how to avoid being inauthentic? My personal belief is nothing kills a marketing campaign faster, so how do keep your marketing from looking like a transparent attempt to appeal to what everyone thinks millennials want to hear?
Thanks, Phil! In terms of being authentic, the answer is probably "be yourself!" :). But, how to avoid tactics that appear inauthentic I think is a good one to cover. Cheers!
By the way, I'd have to answer yes to that survey question because my cell phone sits next to my bed, along with my wallet, keys, glasses, etc. So I don't think it sounds as bad as you might think on first glance, I'm not actually sleeping with my phone. Interesting that they choice to phrase the question that way.
I guess by that measure, I sleep with my cell as well…
I would not miss that talk for the world! Love Leah! She knows how to get a crowd on board with Millennials!
THanks, Nova! Agree totally – Leah was my first suggestion for panel members! See you there!
I'm a little biased as I'm both a millenial and work in wine education, but from talking to my friends casually and from students in classes, I think one of the biggest problems is information overload. I think the wine industry needs to humanize itself again and in a way that both makes it approachable, trust worthy, honest, and correct. It's about not patronizing customers, but encouraging exploration and cultivating lasting interest.
Thanks, Alex – I think to be fair to the wine biz, it's not just them who are struggling with it. Cheers!
I definitely agree with you. I'm more of a wine industry proponent than that comment implies, I've just had a few frustrating experiences recently.
I hear ya, Alex – tune in on Wed., I have a post going up about exactly that topic & would love to have you chime in! Cheers!
Your blog is really great … carry on the great work!
Just looked through the thread. great job.
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