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Wine Culture Goes Casual

Feb 02, 2016 04:05AM ● Published by Flint Zerangue, Sr.

(Family Features) Whether it’s relaxing at home, dining out at a restaurant or celebrating with friends and family, Americans are enjoying wine at a wider variety of occasions than ever before. In fact, 85 percent of frequent wine drinkers now believe that wine is equally appropriate for casual and formal settings alike.

Today’s attitudes and behaviors toward wine drinking were recently captured in the second Gallo Consumer Wine Trends Survey, commissioned by E. & J. Gallo Winery. The survey of 1,000 frequent wine drinkers found that 82 percent enjoy between one and five glasses per week, which they enjoy at a wide range of occasions.

“We are always glad to see Americans’ love of wine expand each year as they experiment with flavors, varietals and packaging formats,” said Stephanie Gallo, third generation family member and vice president of marketing at E. & J. Gallo Winery.“For more than 80 years, Gallo has strived for excellence and will continue its family tradition of crafting innovative wines that cater to Americans’ evolving wine preferences.”

A more casual approach to wine suggests that shoppers are more likely to try new wines across a range of prices. In fact, more than one-third of survey respondents classified themselves as a “wine adventurer,” while only 3 percent of those surveyed self-identified as “wine snobs.”

Exploring and experimenting
More sipping occasions means more opportunities to try new wines. The top factors that inspire a frequent wine drinker to try something new are recommendations from friends, family members and coworkers. Additionally, 86 percent of wine drinkers would be encouraged by a server, bartender or sommelier recommendation, followed closely by a recommendation from a wine store employee.

Not surprisingly, millennials are more influenced by the digital world than older generations. Survey data shows that millennials are more likely to be encouraged to try a new wine if it is featured prominently and positively in the media or if it is recommended on social media.

Thinking inside the box
Mirroring the changes in wine drinkers’ shopping habits, the wine industry is thinking ‘inside the box’ these days. Boxed wine has evolved considerably in the minds of consumers, thanks in large part to its convenience. The extended freshness of boxed wine allows wine drinkers to enjoy it at their own pace and the box’s portability allows for easy transport to all types of occasions. In fact, 1 in 4 surveyed agree that boxed wine is best for large social gatherings and is becoming higher quality. 

Wine in a can is a relatively new concept that more than one-fourth of frequent wine drinkers expressed interest in trying – particularly for outdoor excursions. Among fans of alternative packaging, outdoor events remained the primary occasion for the use of these products, which also include mini bottles and tetra packs. 

Overcoming wine fears
As wine culture becomes more approachable, common fears among wine drinkers are less prevalent. The survey found that fears, such as mispronouncing a wine’s name or being judged for wine choices, are still on the minds of some wine drinkers, but those who enjoy it regularly are not dramatically affected by these concerns.

“As an industry, we must continue working to remove these barriers in order to nurture wine’s expansion into everyday occasions,” Gallo said. “By exploring the more emotional implications of wine culture and sharing these findings broadly, we hope to welcome more people into wine.”

To learn more about the evolving wine culture, visit gallowinetrends.com.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Sponsored by E. & J. Gallo Winery

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