The Millennial Wine Collector

How is the youngest generation of wine collectors changing the market? What are they buying and why? The open-mindedness of a young drinker won't come as a surprise, but what does that mean about the future of wine collecting? Read on for my research and a bit of personal experience (on both sides). 

Say you're a 20 or 30-something with money to spend on enjoying fabulous wine. Due to your life experience, tech savvy nature and neutral mindset, your selections aren't probably going to look much like your father's. For one, you don't really care about what kind of scores a couple of old guys are handing out. You'd rather check out apps like Delectable, where several, unprejudiced wine drinkers are rating the same wine, and you can instantly view more of an overall average. 

How about brand loyalty? I've found that Millennial drinkers, while likely to remember wine brands (due to technology), are much less likely to purchase the same wine repeatedly (compared to collectors in their 40s and 50s). The younger gen. can easily be sold on a wine they’ve never heard of, as long as it’s generally what they’re looking for in terms of style and price. Does this mean we'll see less Cult Napa Cab and Bordeaux? Big names will always sell, they’re recognizable and trusted. However, there is evidence of heightened curiosity about the wine world's unknown, especially in the last 10 years. I think that a lot of these, strictly cult followers are gonna die out. The young wine collectors will try everything once, but is that gonna be enough for these renowned names to keep profits where they are today? 

The millennial sale and the baby boomer sale are completely different. While the younger generation rarely orders the same wine twice (even after telling me how much they like it), the older generation doesn't always seem too interested in a new producer, or exploring a lesser-known wine region. It’s as if many of them either don't like/want change or care more about impressing friends and family with big names and “top” vintages. In my experience, young collectors don’t really care about that. They would rather explore wines in every country, to attain knowledge. I’ve found that many young collectors are fascinated with understanding restaurants' wine lists. Who doesn’t want to sound smart at the dinner table? Or know how to make the best decision when the language barrier comes down on your vacation?

Statistics prove that millennials love wine, and they're drinking much more of it than older generations. Since they're exploring lesser-known wine regions and producers, the prices won't usually be as high as the sought-after staples. Therefore, you have a lot of young people buying several different types of wine and will probably need more storage than today. I predict that in the next 10 years, more wine shops in America will stock "unheard-of" options, and the purchase by professional scores will be a thing of the past. Cheers to that!