For the sake of wine
If you follow along with wine news, you've seen the recent study. Headlines reading:
Millennials like White Claw better than wine
Drinking Less Wine? You're Not Alone.
Wine sales hit 25-year low because we're busy guzzling White Claw
I've been thinking a lot about this since I first read one of the articles last night, from all places Fox News (which I'm not a fan of). Before you go off and blame millennials AGAIN, take a minute to stop and think.
Millennials are buying White Claw because it's cool. It's trendy. We're seeing people posting about it on Instagram. Guess who's picking up the trend as they turn 21? Gen Z.
Look. I know there are a LOT of old school wine industry folks out there who make fun of "wine influencers" and even think they're detrimental to the wine industry. In reality, the people who aren't willing to adapt and change with the times are doing the most damage.
Say some 22-year-old girl is interested in wine and starts drinking what her parents drink. She branches off on her own (with very little disposable income) and starts buying wine at the grocery store. Maybe she's on social media and sees a cool wine brand sponsored on her timeline, or maybe she sees someone close to her age talking about this great bottle of wine they found. Could that influence her decision to try something different and start exploring the world of wine? Maybe, maybe not. Wouldn't we want to encourage her to be interested though, instead of shaming her and telling her she's too young and uneducated to understand good wine?
I'm not saying Influencers are blameless. If you have a platform where you're solely talking about wine, it's important to educate yourself. Maybe you can't afford WSET or CMS yet, but there are plenty of ways to learn about wine. Purchase books, research online, read news articles and get educated on what's going on in the wine industry. If you're interested enough in wine to start your platform with the intention of sharing your own wine experiences, make educating yourself a priority! You don't need to get yourself a formal education right off the bat, but put in a little legwork so your followers know they can trust you.
1. Older generation: stop hating on millennial wine influencers. We need these men and women to grow so they can educate future wine drinkers and help influence other people their age to purchase a bottle of wine instead of a 6-pack of hard seltzer
2. Wine Influencers: stop giving both the older generation and wine professionals a reason to hate on you. PLEASE, try to educate yourself in some way, shape or form if you're going to take on the responsibility of being in the wine community. You don't need to drop thousands of dollars to become educated- teach yourself, or even better- use your platform as a way to grow your education! Try new things, keep a wine journal. Learn from other influencers who are working hard to share their education. The more we know, the more we grow.
3. Wineries: you're going to need to get social if you want to connect with Millennials and Gen Z. Some of you are kicking ass and taking names at this already, and some of you are either resistant to it, or don't know where to start. Invest in your own company by working with a consultant. Ask people for help. Hire an agency if you can afford it. Get educated about working with wine influencers. I'm going do a blog post on here soon about tips and tricks of using social media to your advantage, but there are other people out there who have already written great articles on this. It's important if you want to be competitive in the market.
Ok, I'm stepping off my soap box now. I really hope we can work together over the next few years and turn that statistic around.