Is your generation drinking better wine?

Millennials and Generation X are the newer generations of wine consumers shaping and changing the global wine consumption market.

photo of grapes being harvested

The global wine community currently has a great deal of interest at the more premium end of the global market, says the Rabobank report titled 'Premium wine – It’s a long way to the top'.

Reaching out

Wine suppliers and wine retailers have sensed a growing appetite for wines beyond the mainstream. Report co-author Rabobank senior analyst Marc Soccio says, “Somewhat paradoxically, the markets are still seeing many premium wine producers struggling for growth and profitability as their capacity to reach out to modern-day consumers has become more limited.”

“As the high-volume grocery retail channel in particular is becoming the realm of bigger brands and suppliers, smaller brands have little choice but to seek new ways to connect with the pockets of consumers looking to head upmarket,” says Soccio.

“The rise of some premium-focused emerging markets, such as China, has played a key role in stimulating global demand for more premium – mostly red – wines, as rising incomes and exposure to western cultural norms have taken effect.”

This Rabobank Industry Note explores how:

  • Changing generational preferences are playing a role in driving premium wine consumption around the world. However, premiumisation is more evident in some markets, such as the US and Canada, than in others, where signals have been obscured by structural and economic impediments.
  • Growth of the grocery retail channel is favouring bigger brands and suppliers, while smaller brands have little choice but to seek new ways to connect with the pockets of consumers looking to head upmarket, in particular through the online retail channel and new on-premise formats.
  • Not all premium wine producers in all regions have been able to capitalise on rising demand for more premium wines, with only a limited subset of premium-focused regions receiving positive market signals to produce more, not less.

Markets for premium foreign wines

In the report, Soccio says, “While the fervour and disposition for more premium foreign wines has begun to wane in recent times, the market for these wines still accounts for a significant component of global demand that hardly existed only a decade ago.”

Increasingly, it is the newer generations of consumers who are shaping global wine consumption, and these consumers have a higher level of awareness of wine and wine quality than any generation before them, says Soccio.

Where to go from here