Americans of different ages are enjoying wine at a wider variety of occasions than ever before, from relaxing at home to dining out at a restaurant or celebrating with friends and family. According to the 2015 Gallo Consumer Wine Trends Survey, commissioned by E. & J. Gallo Winery, 85 percent of frequent drinkers now believe that wine is appropriate for casual and formal settings alike. The survey of 1,000 frequent wine drinkers between the ages of 21 and 64 is a follow-up to the 2014 survey, which aimed to capture the current state of American wine drinking attitudes and behaviors.
"By going beyond the findings of last year's inaugural Gallo Consumer Wine Trends Survey, we are developing a more complete and robust profile of wine drinkers in the United States," said vice president of marketing and third-generation family member Stephanie Gallo.
The survey found that even while Americans are bringing wine into a growing number of occasions, frequent wine drinkers still stick to what they know. When presented with a list of 40 well-known wine brands across a range of price levels, respondents indicated they purchased an average of 3.2 brands on a regular basis. However, Americans showed overall interest in a diverse range of wine styles, packaging formats and sizes, which also shed light on their perceptions of wine and wine culture.
The Millennial vs. the Baby Boomer
Eighty-two percent of all frequent wine consumers enjoy between one and five glasses of wine per week; however, their experience varies by demographic. Millennials are twice as likely as Baby Boomers to enjoy wine when socializing with friends (22 percent vs. 11 percent), whereas Baby Boomers are 50 percent more likely to reach for wine during a family meal (33 percent vs. 22 percent). Millennials are also four times more likely to select a wine based on its label, more frequently looking for personality and originality. Baby Boomers, by contrast, often look to the label for information such as region of origin and product details.
When asked to classify themselves as a type of wine consumer, 35 percent of survey respondents chose "wine adventurer," indicating a desire to explore options and to have new experiences with wine. Millennials were more likely to categorize themselves as "wine novices" (30 percent), while Baby Boomers often considered themselves "wine traditionalists" (27 percent) or "wine brand loyalists" (13 percent). Interestingly, only 3 percent of total respondents self-identified as "wine snobs," making the case that most wine drinkers aspire to enjoy wine on their own terms rather than following a prescriptive set of traditional cultural rules.
Wine Fears Are Minimal
A new area of interest that was explored in the 2015 survey was common fears among wine drinkers. Overall, frequent wine consumers didn't claim to have many concerns; however, four in 10 were frightened by the prospect of mispronouncing a wine's name. Millennials reported a greater level of "wine fear" overall than older drinkers, stating that:
- 34 percent feel awkward when asked by a server to "taste" wine at a restaurant
- 34 percent are afraid their wine selection will be judged by others
- 31 percent feel uncomfortable talking about wine with others
However, 42 percent of all survey respondents acknowledged that wine is becoming less formal. By continuing to remove these barriers from the category, the wine industry will welcome new friends and continue its expansion into everyday occasions.
Rose Any Day
Millennials, who are almost twice as likely to purchase rose in comparison to Baby Boomers, are clearly driving purchasing trends for blush wines. Interest among rose drinkers noticeably swells as early as April (42 percent), peaks in June, July and August (ranging from 70 to 75 percent) and holds strong through September (52 percent). This growing passion for rose beyond the summer season is indicative of Millennials' interest in a more diverse selection of wine overall.
Another notable point of differentiation were alternative packaging options. In fact, 37 percent of survey respondents identified boxed wine as a convenient option and 54 percent would be open to using casual boxed wine as their "go-to" in the refrigerator. Similarly, 32 percent of consumers recognized wine in a can as being portable and perfect for picnic or cookout scenarios, in which bringing a bottle of wine would be inconvenient. Among fans of alternative packaging, outdoor events remained the primary occasion for the use of these products, which include 187 ml bottles (42 percent), tetra packs (43 percent) and cans (60 percent).
Wine-drinking adults are defined as those who drink wine on more than one occasion per month and at least one glass of wine per week.