Weekend Wines

Wine marketers take aim at 'millennial' women

March 2, 2012 at 4:50 PM ET

Hill Creek Pictures / Getty Images/Uppercut RF
Shy woman drinking white wine

Like other businesses, wineries look for all kinds of hooks – beyond the wine – to get you to buy. Walk into any large wine store and you could all but fill a Noah’s Ark with animals on wine labels, which also feature everything from classic cars and trucks to surfboards and even depictions of Marilyn Monroe. There’s also an ever-increasing array of “eco-friendly” packaging, as well as every imaginable wine name, including some that probably shouldn’t be mentioned on a general-audience website. All of this is aimed at branding wines with something with which we can identify.

One of the latest examples is a line of soon-to-be-released wines aimed at women, specifically “millennials” from 21 to 34 years old. The four wines will be priced from $10 to $13 and will be called “Be.” In a press release, they’re described as “flirty” (for a pink moscato), “fresh” (for an un-oaked chardonnay), “bright” (for a pinot grigio) and “radiant” (for a Riesling). A company official is quoted as saying that “Be. is about inspiring millennial women to open up to the exciting world of wine without taking it too seriously.” The brand is owned by Treasury Wines Estates, a global wine behemoth with sales of 33 million cases a year.

The wines are not yet available for tasting and review, but I’m not anticipating anything particularly original here. The source of the grapes, which is not disclosed on the website, is “a mix of vineyards spanning California’s North and Central Coasts as well as Northern Interior,” a spokesperson told me. The key thing is clearly the focus on younger women, and with good reason.

An annual survey of wine trends released last month by the Wine Market Council and Nielsen underscores the importance of millennials – men and women – to wine marketers. It suggests that they are more likely than older wine drinkers to purchase a brand “not seen or heard of before”; that on occasions when they have wine, they drink more than Generation Xers or Baby Boomers (just under three glasses); that they are more likely to visit wine-related websites; and that, as a whole, they place greater importance on “fun and contemporary looking labels.”

That’s good news for the “Be.s” – and the wannabes – of the wine world.

Edward Deitch is a James Beard Award-winning wine critic. Find many more of his wine reviews and commentary on his blog, Vint-ed.com, and follow him on Twitter.

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