Is it fair to characterize the Millennial Generation, also known as Generation Y, as the “Millennial wYne Generation?” I think so, and I’ll explain why in this article.
Let me start by saying that I’m not a Millennial. According to Wikipedia, Millennials were born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.
I’m a Baby Boomer who enjoys comparing my experiences as a child growing up with parents in a post-WWII era to the experiences of Millenials, today’s 20- and 30-somethings. There certainly is a different culture around wine. In some regards, I must confess that I’m envious.
When I was growing up, wine was something my parents brought out on special occasions. My parents didn’t have a lot of money. So the wine they drank wasn’t particularly good. But wine always made a guest appearance at events worth remembering. So there was an aura of sorts around wine.
Today, we are in an era of plenty. Teenagers have expensive personal phones, TV sets in their bedrooms and, in many cases, nice cars. Leora Kalikow in her article “Gen Y is Gen Wine,” reminds us playfully of the cheap kegger parties and tequila shots of our college days. While these surely are still widely occurring, indications are that Millenials are turning more and more to wine as a regular beverage of choice, whether at a party, while cooking, or simply watching TV.
According to Tom Wark in “The 4 Key Trends in the Wine Industry in the Past 20 Years,” several factors contributed to this wine renaissance with the younger crowd: worldwide production and means of distribution, improved technology lowering production costs and prices, improved flavor and growing techniques, and a little something more.
This little extra something could be ascribed to the creativity and freedom Millennials enjoy. They aren’t rule followers. They don’t abide by the wine industry’s decree that you must be a wine expert in order to enjoy wine and that you should feel intimidated if you’re not. Millennial wine aficionados make no pretext of being wine “experts.” They’re instead focusing on spreading the joy, pleasure and ease of wine.
To that I say, “Three cheers to the ‘Millennial wYne Generation!’”