6 minute read | by Gino De Blasio
Stage 5 of the Giro sees the bike race tour the south of the peninsula for the second day. It’s nice that the race directors gave the south just two stages this year, after all, it is the Giro D’Italia (of Italy). Anyway, today we talk about Millennials and wine. It’s a thing that is actually happening and we need to understand why. Note: I am a Millennial, this made sense to me.
Stage 5 is also a sprinters paradise, a few hills to test the legs but a finish that will scare and delight! Hold on tight.
“I like to say that real men drink pink,” says Thomas Pastuszak, wine director of the swanky NoMad Hotel in Manhattan. “There used to be this perception that rosé was a girly drink, but that’s just not true.”
GQ’s article, “Make Way for Brosé: Why More Men Are Drinking Pink” addressed two things. The destruction of the English language; Brosé as a blended compound noun is awful, oh and the continued growth in the wine market for younger drinkers. In this case, twenty-something men who have decided that rosé is the preferred choice for the Tom Ford lookalikes with their pomade styled hair and slick clothes.
It’s not that there is an issue with drinking rosé whatever gender you are, it’s just that you are drinking rosé. There is a new elitism created by millennials where according to the many, many pictures on instagram of these brosé drinkers it is perfectly fine to drink from a plastic cup. A plastic cup. Why not go whole hog and drink out of your coffee mug whilst you’re at it!
Yes, wine, it seems, is now the choice of the young person, male or female and with that, we’ve developed the wineintelligista. If GQ can do it, so can Eatosi. RIP English Language, RIP. The know it all’s, the wine snobs, the presumed wine pairing gods.
On a scale of zero to obnoxious, we are hitting the later far too often. They are stood, in their youthful glow commenting on the finer tannins of Malbec whilst contemplating, ‘would a belgian dark beer have been more suitable for tonight’s discussion?’ Long gone are the blazer sipping oenophiles with actual knowledge, experience and sound advice, we have our silicon valley elite 20 year olds telling us how to drink.
A potential benefit of having some young blood in the wine drinking circle is perhaps dismantling the notion and language of the blazered purist who will be pushing a Bordeaux or a perfectly aged Cabernet into your wine collection. There are other wines, thank god someone else is saying it nowadays.
Generation Wine, a play on Generation ‘Y’ as it is called, is the generation taking most to bottled delights. As Samantha Alson reported in Medical Daily, “Generation Ys are also known as millennials, iGen, and echo boomers, as they were born between 1980 and 2000. They came into a world on the brink of technological brilliance and continuous innovative evolution. And apparently, the 21- to 34-year-olds have become completely enamored with their smartphones while being frequently hammered on goblets (or plastic cups) of wine.”
Alson continued, “according to the numbers, 72 percent of winos drink with friends and during dinner, while another 60 percent wonder when they’re not drinking wine.”
Once upon a time, wine was sold off the shelf, or in boxes. OK, admittedly nothing much has changed since then, you can still buy wine from a shelf or a box if you so wish. It has faced many challenges over the years; screw top or cork, bottle or plastic carton, rose’ or… don’t bother… yes, wine has managed to survive these trials and tribulations over many, many years. The new breed of millennial drinker doesn’t care, the venn diagram is very simple. Is it wine? Am I thirsty? Is it after 11 am?
The new breed of millennial drinker doesn’t care, the venn diagram is very simple. Is it wine? Am I thirsty? Is it after 11 am?
What is even more impressive about the growth of the general wine sector (around 7% expected this year) is the fact that millennials are so completely indecisive, that just by even selecting the drink they’ve gone one step closer to adulthood. As a millennial author, this frightens me greatly. It also appears that by selecting rosé, we are getting the best of both worlds. As actor Sam Daly put it, “It combines the light, crisp, and refreshing nature of white wine with the bold, daring complexity of red wine.”
There are of course other colour wines that the millennial crowd can choose from, there are reds and white.
Wine producers are keen to also capitalise on the millennial indecision and well, millennial lack of money; did you not know that we are poor?! As Entrepreneur reported back in January, ‘the wine world, like everyone else is trying to figure it out, wants to know how to approach millennials. And now even kids from the post-millennial generation are turning 21. But producers are confused. “Boomers and Gen-Xers want exclusivity, and access to hard-to-get wines. But Millennials are not committed to brands. They just want value and something they will enjoy, cool labels don’t hurt, either.”
Yes, the new millennial drinker is now attracted to shiny objects and ‘cool labels’ it’s like we’re magpies or worse, labradoodles. No more pictures of a chateaux surrounded by vineyards, you know the place that wine comes from. Expect to see bright red, yellow, orange, pink labels with stylish cartoon drawings and brash writing. We have managed to dumb down the wine market yet somehow make it more exciting at the same time!
We have managed to dumb down the wine market yet somehow make it more exciting at the same time!
Perhaps it’s the thought that wine is now cool, or available to younger crowds that has moved the industry into continued growth over the last few years. The fact that we have TV shows like The Wine Show on ITV making wine drinking, tasting and well, vineyards look exquisite certainly helps bring the notion that wine can be romantic and cool at the same time.
Wine drinking is a bit like art, you will have critics and you will have admirers, but most of all, you will have someone that doesn’t care about how, what, where or why but just wants to enjoy it. Guess which one the Brosé, the millennial, the casual 20 something is…
Of course, we couldn’t talk about wine and the tenuous link to the Giro, without mentioning Benevento. A town not known as much for its wine outside of Italy, but on the peninsula it is widely regarded as the nation’s best kept secret. Why? It has the famous “branch of three” wines in aglianico, greco and falanghina, varieties which have established themselves as staples of the Campania region.
Tim Atkin dissects Italian whites and mentions these great varieties in his piece for the Guardian going back as far as 2009. The defining line in the article, “Italian friends have always told me that Aglianico is ‘the Nebbiolo of the south’, a variety that deserves to be considered among Italy’s best. Finally, I am beginning to agree with them. Eric Asimov (@EricAsimov) waxes lyrical about Aglianico and Taurasi (typical of Avellino and Benevento) in his piece for the NY Times.
If you pick up a bottle of any of the Beneventan wines, you may want to try this awesome tool; food and wine matching; pretty much does what it says on the bottle or website.