According to a study conducted by Vinexpo, an international wine and spirits exhibition, consumers aged 20 to 25 have a perception of wine as a healthy, high quality alcohol product that is becoming a popular trend among their age group. Yet the perceived expensive cost of wine and confusion about different wine styles can be barriers to consumption, Beverage World reports.
The study aimed to provide an in-depth look at young people’s expectations and perceptions of wine in the United States, France, Japan, Belgium and the United Kingdom. Titled, “20-25 Year Olds and Wine,” it is based on interviews of two groups of 10 people, both male and female, in five countries to determine what motivates young people to drink wine, as well as what hinders them.
One of the key findings of the study was that young people in all countries considered wine to be the healthiest alcohol beverage, yet many perceived wine as the drink of choice among older adults, aged 30-35 to 40. That said, this image makes wine more attractive as the study participants defined a wine drinker as “refined, educated and cultivated.”
“Drinking wine is a part of the new identity that young people create for themselves. Drinking wine is a ‘marker’ of adulthood,” said Robert Beynat, General Manager of Vinexpo, during a presentation about the study in New York City.
Consumption drivers among young people included the mature, responsible image of wine and the perception that wine drinkers are entering into an older world. In the U.S., young people commented that branding has made wine “more fun and younger,” the study said.
However, the perception that good wine is expensive, and confusion about how to select a wine with so many brands and varieties available, continues to be a hindrance to many young people who are drinking wine more frequently. The perception that there was an elitist wine culture also turned off many young people.
“There’s a lot of snobbery and pompousness around… an impression that it takes years of experience to learn,” said one study participant from the U.S. But another participant noted that wine’s exclusive image was changing: “Wine is being marketed today and is appealing to other classes of the population.”
Young people want to be more educated about wine in order to enjoy it more, the study found. One study participant noted, “It requires an effort to like wine, which shows a desire to become a ‘connoisseur’ rather than ‘just a drinker.'”
The study also found that perceptions of wine are slightly different depending on a person’s country of origin. In France and Belgium, study participants were very familiar with wine and said wine consumption had been a part of their culture since childhood, whereas in the U.S. and Japan, consumers said wine was reserved for special occasions.
Many of the participants, across the various countries, mentioned enjoying “light, fruity and refreshing” wines, which tend to be easier to understand and make selecting and buying easier. Consumers in the U.S., U.K. and Belgium expressed interest in ‘wine-based cocktails.”
Wine also is more trendy today than ever before, as young people view it as a “quality” product that they’ll drink “more frequently” and “in greater variety” in the future, the study found. Generational differences also have lessened, so young people and their parents view wine in more similar ways.