Rethink wine, dessert for a younger generation

Just as Millennials are changing the way they look at beverages, they are also having fun with their approach to food.

While wine has been the drink of the gods since the time of Dionysus and the Greeks, many mere mortals love their wine, too. For the cork-sniffing connoisseur, wine has a certain cache about it, and those consumers are constantly seeking award-winning wines and impressing others with their knowledge of specific varietals' floral bouquet, “legs,” or tasting notes. 

There is an emerging, and important, group of wine drinkers who are feeling more free-spirited and less confined by rules than ever before. They are young adults in their 20s and early 30s who are rethinking how they approach wine and what they want in a “good” bottle.

First, they don't want their parents' or grandparents' wine choices. With a more fresh, modern, and stylish approach to their selections, they are looking for good-tasting wine that is chosen for how it complements their mood or the occasion, rather than strictly pairing with food. Millennials look for cool, eye-catching labels that clearly state the tasting notes, give pairing suggestions as well as the alcohol content and calorie count. And above all else, they want a wine that represents them.

Just walk down the wine aisles at a grocery store, and you will notice the growing trend of removing the intimidation factor from the wine business and putting more emphasis on fun, custom innovation programs.

One of our client partners, Treasury Wine Estates, and the new Be. wines, is a great example. Millennials are sipping Be. wine with their friends at blow dry bars, fashion shows, and concerts. While they have found the wines because of Facebook posts and QR codes, as well as colorful end-aisle displays, they are embracing these new wines that let them be who they are.

Just as Millennials are changing the way they look at beverages, they are also having fun with their approach to food. All the great dessert treats of childhood are being rethought and resized. Frosted multi-layer cakes are now fun cake pops on a stick. Pies are being prepared in cupcake pans, popping out a dozen individual treats. Now, all the wonderful flavors and fun of desserts are in smaller more mobile portions. 

What does this all mean? Young people are feeling free to experiment with their wine and play with their food, and all of us get to enjoy the results.

Brenda Lynch is a senior partner and founding member of the Finn Partners Foodinistas. She is based in the company's Los Angeles office.

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