Wine is becoming more accessible and attractive to more consumers.More Americans are shunning beer for wine, and younger generations enjoy it outside of meals, preferring it instead with snack foods or solo, says new research about the latest in wine trends. In fact, experts say, one-quarter or wine is enjoyed without any food at all. Wine drinkers’ ages may determine how wine is drunk, as older drinkers are more likely to have it with food than younger wine drinkers. Half of the wine that those aged 65 and older is consumed with food, while less than a third of the wine that Millennials drink is enjoyed with meals or snacks, says the study.
Why the generational differences between wine drinkers? The results make perfect sense, says Elizabeth Schneider, Certified Sommelier, Certified Specialist of Wine and owner of Wine for Normal People.
While the study says that one-quarter of consumers don’t eat food with wine, that means the majority—three-quarters—do, she notes. Also, while less than a third (31 percent) of MIllennials drink wine with food is an “important statistic,” Schneider says, it is tied to their life stage.
“That age group is probably just beginning to enjoy better food, [and] learning how to cook,” she explains. “The group is upwardly mobile, but maybe isn’t at the place where food has become a big deal for them—that generally comes with the ability to afford meals out or to buy gourmet ingredients to cook.”
Just as the characteristics of wine change over time, so does how an individual treats it. “Younger people tend to consume alcohol for different reasons than older people, and their behavior changes with age and time,” Schneider says.
Schneider dispels the notion that drinking wine without food is something unique to the Millennial cohort; as they age, she contends, their habits will more closely resemble those of their Boomer counterparts.
“I guarantee that as the generation ages, earns more, and grows more savvy in its knowledge of wine and traditions, individuals will consume more food and wine together,” Schneider maintains.
While there tend to be differences between groups of wine drinkers, it is never good to over generalize, agrees wine tasting expert Melody Guerra, who is sommelier-in-training for Cooking Vacations Italy.