Wine and the Generations

Wine and the Generations

Wine and the Generations (psychographic fragmentation) of Wine Lovers – Motivations among connoisseurs.  The secret of assemblage.  Silence is a value.


Red Wine of Winemakers


A beautiful woman with that aura of distinction that women who 

know wines have, helps the wine lovers when they wander among the bottle-filled shelves in October trying to be the first to choose.

This month’s offer? Right in front, to the left, she says.

Assemblage wines, blends? To the right, at the back, in the connoisseurs’ corner, she answers.  I assume you belong to the brotherhood, she adds with a smile.

The client, who is head of the group, accompanied by three more connoisseurs, smiles teasingly.  They feel acknowledged.  They form part of a brotherhood, the Wine Tasters.

Their ages are between 35 and 50. Sociologists and experts in marketing say this is the “X” generation, the one that drives sales and is knowledgeable about wine.  

They look for Blends, the reds mixed by the winemakers.  The Whites are also mixed, but the proportion of famous blends in red wines is eight out of every ten bottles. 


Psychographic Segmentation of Wine-Lovers

The wine industry in the States moves more than 3,400 million liters at present.  Thus, it’s the first wine consumer in the world.

It’s not a craze; it’s a consolidated trend.  It spearheads the ranking in wine consumption in the world since 2011, when it displaced France and Italy.

Those almost 3.5 million liters is a lot of wine, and a lot of money; more than  $32,500 Million a year.  That’s why the US assigns such large funds for research, study, serving and pampering the buyers.

I’m sure you’ve heard or read a lot about Millenials and Wine: that they define consumption, that they drive its growth, that they’re the protagonists.  None of that is true.  

Adult Americans and their friends, those who’ve lived and seen a lot, are the ones driving the wine industry.  According to facts published in the Miami Herald, people over 50 and over makeup to 24% of the American population and consume 40% of the wine, Millenials, only 14%.

Some of them venture out alone in their quest for bottles; others go in groups of friends, next in fan clubs, and finally, in brotherhoods. 


Motivations of the Connoisseur

Connoisseurs and fans like to know how they’re seen and analyzed from the outside, in academic circles.  It goes like this:

There “Are Many” reasons for consumption, says the Wine Market Council, when analyzing the buyers market.

Wine Lovers’ third, main reason for buying seems like a “sin” to abstainers: Uncorking because wine is equal to health.  64% of consumers attest to this, endorsed by all their doctor friends, who like them, drink red wine.

The first motivation, “as an accompaniment to food”, has been the most mentioned reason since the beginning of civilization. The second reason, “to relax”, has the same origin.

Be that as it may, the truth is that annually wine lovers, the gastronomy industry, connoisseurs and their friends, consume annually almost three and a half million boxes of wine in the States.  In this sea of bottles, there are many differences.


The Art of Blending in Wines

Behind every bottle of wine, you’ll find a winemaker.  Small brands have one or two; middle-sized ones, have three, and large ones, more than eight.  Each one has its secret.

This secret is the mix that after many trials are chosen for a brand.  It’s an art form, with more than 400 years of history in Europe that once on the shelves, must deal with the style of mono-varietal wines (those whose labels say, 100% single variety grape).

Blend, assemblage, “distinctive”, or multi-varietal, is at the heart of a large variety of quality wines.  Economic, median price, or very expensive, they’re all found in the States, France, Italy, Portugal, Chile, Argentina or South Africa. 

What does the Winemaker do in his Blend?

He manages the vineyard as though he were painting.  He works the patches and its gapes as though he were creating a work of art...

Thus he makes from a color palette of complex flavors and aromas, a unique painting, which according to his criteria and expertise, will reflect the style of that brand, at a specific year.

He doesn’t mix grapes; he mixes wines produced with each grape, in different proportions.


You can tell once you’re at a loss for words 

When wine becomes a status symbol, it needs a Rock Star wine-maker.  These are manufactured by the advertising industry, marketing, and brands, and are the characters that appear at specialized stores, signing bottles, as Robert De Niro does when he signs menus for anyone who asks at the Nobu restaurants of his associate, the Japanese chef, Nobu Matsuhisa. 

Connoisseurs know rock star bottles will comply with basic marketing conditions. They’re expensive, they’re talked about, and they attract attention from those who don’t normally drink wine.

  Actually, there are not too many rock star wine-makers.  We can count them on the fingers of one hand. Their fame is regional, national, not intercontinental. That’s why at present the marketing industry has made it very much in fashion for movies, or sports stars to sign wines and drinks as if they’d had something to do with its creation.


Wine Lovers cultivate their taste and move ahead in their uncorking preferences.  That’s why they need a friend, groups of friends, or brotherhoods, to help them explore, taste, buy.


Deciphering the good, fantastic, or masterful bottles of the wine-makers is a process that carries a secret.  Thus attested Emile Peynaud, one of the masters in modern winemaking during his lectures at Bordeaux University: “You know you’re in the presence of a great bottle, when after the first drink, you linger in an almost religious silence, at a loss for words.”


It is exactly so. The contemplative silence of the wine taster after the first sip is a value per se.


Prof. Alberto Soria 


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