SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — A new report says fewer millennials are drinking wine and if it continues on this track, it could hurt the wine industry.
A yearly report from the Silicon Valley Bank Wine Division says baby boomers drink more wine than millennials. That generation turns more to beer and spirits instead.
In a survey done by the Harris Poll, people 65 and older choose to bring a bottle of wine to a party. People under 44 tend to go with beer. The changing industry has wineries rethinking the way they operate.
“We are no longer really coming in and tasting wine and visiting a winery,” said Natalie Barnes, winemaker at Latah Creek Wine Cellars. “You’re more of an event center or people are wanting experiences and that’s more of the millennials.”
Wineries have to keep up with what will sell and to whom.
“We have to change the way we sell and market,” said Rob McMillian, founder of the wine division.
The market: millennials. McMillian says fewer millennials are buying wine — a concern for the industry.
“As the boomers continue to retire and let’s say sunset, you’re replaced by consumers who are more ambivalent to wine,” said McMillian.
Latah Creek is ahead of the game in reaching the millennial market. It transformed the tasting room in 2019. The family-owned winery added more tables and seats, giving millennials the experience they’re looking for.
“Having them come in and be able to have a barrel tabletop for two with their tastings and all that has been a unique shift for us, but allowed us to get to that younger crowd and get them to come in,” Barnes said.
To get the younger crowd to come in, it’s about knowing what they value. McMillian says millennials tend to watch their money and want to know more information. For wineries, it’s about marketing.
“We have to evolve. You have to evolve the way you message, you have to evolve the way you market,” he said.
Latah Creek is using social media to do that. Barnes has followed the grapes of the Orange Moscato and showed the entire process.
“We have a lot of millennials coming in now that we have really worked and changed our advertising to hopefully get to them so that they can come in,” she said. “I think boomers are really independent and they really have their own opinion whereas millennials tend to want to know what the group thinks and everyone else around them.”
Barnes says she doesn’t see the wine industry going anywhere. Through her experience, she says it’s always a constant battle between all the different types of drinks.
Despite the market shift, business is going well for Latah Creek. They’re going to continue to transform with the industry and draw customers in with their Spokane wine.
In March, the winery is participating in Sip Wine. Win Local. Customers will get a punch card and they must visit a certain amount of wines to enter to win a gift card.
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