I recently attended Wine Riot DC; a millennial-geared wine tasting event. The event was held at Constitution Hall, and next to Constitution Hall, I was probably the second oldest thing there. The event was put on by Second Glass, a group of young, upbeat wine enthusiasts, whose goal is to help wine lovers share wine experiences, discover new wines, remember those wines, and bridge the gap between producer and consumer via modern technology and in-person events. This was the first time Wine Riot was held in DC (hopefully not the last), and before receiving an invite, I admit, I was not familiar with the event. After doing some research about past events, Wine Riot almost appeared to have the label *drunkfest* attached to it. That said, I thought Wine Riot was youthful, energetic, unpretentious, refreshing, and far from a drunk fest. Outside of tasting New World and Old World wines, there were a good number of educational wine seminars that drew a lot of interest and were well attended.
Calm Before the Riot
Millennials (generally 21 to mid 30’s) are the fastest-growing segment of wine drinkers and a very important target audience for wine producers. An extensive amount of research, study, and marketing is done on a consistent basis to determine the best way to reach this young wine buying and consuming crowd. In the interest of research and study, my five general takeaways below are based on conversation and observation at the event.
Stem or Stemless - Which do you prefer?
1. Millennials prefer grape name over wine region (big time). My take: This isn’t so much a millennial thing, but rather an American thing. Because of this, there are some very good wines at fair price points being missed. My message [to Gen-Y]: Grab a wine book, ask questions – the more you learn about wine the more likely you are to enjoy it. Keep tasting and trying new wines from different regions!
2. For wine recommendations, millennials prefer social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs) and word-of- mouth (from friends) over wine scores and printed publications. This event featured a smartphone app specific to the DC event for rating and tracking every wine that was available for tasting. Event goers were later able to check the Second Glass website to see which wines rated best and the nearby stores that carry those wines. To quote Bob Dylan, “The Times They Are A-Changin.”
3. Every wine audience has its "sweet spot" price point. The sweet spot for this audience seems to be $15 and under. Finding very good quality at reasonable price points is their game and in a saturated and competitive market, I say, “Happy hunting!” That said, much of their prey resides in California and Australia.
4. In the end, what’s in the bottle matters, but how do you initially attract this crowd to your bottle of wine? The wine label and packaging appears to matter to this audience. A modern, attractive design with the name of the grape(s) and straight-forward information about what’s inside the bottle is good for starters.
5. For glassware, the event used wine tumblers (pictured above). These shatter-proof tumblers are made from polymer and also feature a convenient thumb indentation for secure gripping. I asked event goers about these tumblers and heard zero complaints. While a generalization, this is not the preferred style of wine glass for most (older adults). We want our stem! Bonus: The folks at this event also don’t mind screw caps or other alternatives to natural cork.
In closing, if you missed the Wine Riot in DC, check out their website below for future tasting opportunities. NOTE: If you must participate in a riot, make it a Wine Riot. Cheers!
CLICK HERE to visit the Second Glass website.
Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and as always, Happy Sipping! Stay tuned ...more to come!
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