Ag Today May 9, 2017

Millennials Behind Latest California Wine Industry Boost

May 8, 2017 11:29 PM By Kelly Ryan

LODI (CBS13) — California wine growers and producers are enjoying a boost in wine sales and they say much of that is due to millennials.

Wine producers and growers in Lodi say they aren’t surprised and welcome the increase for the billion-dollar business.

Last year sales of California wines were up with sales of $34 billion. This growing trend, experts say, is due to a new generation of consumers who are buying more and drinking it up.

“We farm over 110,000 acres of wine grapes and produce over 20 percent of California premium wines, says Stuart Spencer of the Lodi Winegrape Commission.

It is those premium wines that are sought after by millennials.”It definitely bodes well because they’re a very big demographic.”

Many millennials admit they are accustomed to enjoying the finer things in life and have an adventurous taste.

“They’re willing to try varietals from all places in the world that are grown right here and are willing to spend a little more too, and not just drink low-end stuff,” says Spencer.

Gabrielle says that’s spot on, “We are making finer choices in food as well as drinking wine.”

Bob and Pat Johansson have 4 children who fall in the millennial age range so they understand the demographic.

“They seem to be more affluent and more about experiences than when we were growing up, says Bob. And they’re taste is rubbing off on their parents. “We can say they kind of grew us into more wine drinkers,” says Pat.

Over at Acquiesce Winery and Vineyards, owner and winemaker Susan Tipton is not surprised by the millennials influence. “The young people want to experience something their moms and dads haven’t.”

Wine is big business in the Lodi area with more than 80 tasting rooms. Tipton has sold out of her unique varieties every year.

With demand for California wines reaching new heights, the millennial component has growers and producers celebrating.

Stuart Spencer says they’re ready for them. “The young people, in particular, are just sucking it all in and enjoying and learning it and we’re here to share and educate them.”