5 Surprising Insights about Millennials, Wine, and Data


This week I’m writing from Bordeaux, in the thick of a mini-marathon teaching assignment. The idea is for me to help 90 MBA students, who specialize in wine marketing, to get a handle on what big data means for the wine industry.

It’s been an exceptional opportunity, both to share how Enolytics has developed so far and to hear their feedback, ideas and suggestions.

Last week I encouraged you to reach out with your questions for this group, to add to my own list of what I wanted to learn from them in terms of how they think about wine and also how they think about data. Most (though not all) of the students are millennials and the vast majority are European (mainly French) and Chinese.

Here, for me, were five surprising things I learned in response to our questions about this particular demographic. There will be more to share about students’ ideas around big data for wine – I’m only about halfway through the teaching schedule while writing this – and I look forward to writing about those in an upcoming post.

  1. Despite the students’ “digital native” status, most said they know nothing at all about big data. Despite the awareness that data is all around them, most don’t understand the nuts-and-bolts of how it actually gets puts to commercial use.
  2. Yes, there’s more than one grouping within the millennial demographic, i.e., older millennials (with more established work experiences and therefore more disposable income) and younger millennials who are still finding their way professionally. But the corresponding behavior around wine purchases has more to do with available cash than it does with their being “millennials.”
  3. For this group of students, anecdotally speaking, the values of a brand do drive purchasing behavior, particularly when it comes to environmental responsibility.
  4. Also for this group of students, anecdotally speaking, they do think they’re more brand promiscuous than brand loyal, though it likely has more to do with the adventure of experimentation than it does with some “millennial mindset.”
  5. Most millennials cringe at being labeled “millennials.” It’s a simplistic and inherently problematic generalization. But if there’s something that does differentiate this group from another it’s how integral and ubiquitous the digital sharing of activities has been in their lives. This has obvious implications for their selection of wines and wine experiences that “make the cut” of share-ability.

Thank you, as always, for reading --