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Millennials don't like Chardonnay

Younger wine drinkers are continuing in their significant shift from Chardonnay and experimenting with more aromatic styles of white wine, according to a new Wine Intelligence report.

The Australia Landscapes 2017 report found that 43% of 25–34 year old regular wine drinkers in Australia have drunk Chardonnay in the past 6 months, compared with 61% of 55–64 year old wine drinkers. While the overall proportion of regular wine drinkers drinking Chardonnay has stayed flat in the short-term, significantly fewer younger drinkers are drawn to the country’s signature white varietal.

In the long-term, just half of all regular wine drinkers in Australia have consumed Chardonnay in the last six months, down from 57% in 2012. This significant long-term decline in the drinker base signals how Australian drinkers have moved to more aromatic styles of white wine.

“Our latest report demonstrates the extent to which our environment has an impact on our drinking habits. For those who started drinking during the 1980s Chardonnay boom, Chardonnay is still the go-to varietal," said Lulie Halstead, CEO of Wine Intelligence.

"For those living in wine producing regions, their first instinct is to reach for familiar, local wines. And for the younger, well-travelled generation, their exposure to European varietals is reflected in a much wider and varied varietal repertoire.”

60% of Australian regular wine drinkers have drunk Sauvignon Blanc in the last six months, while Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris and Moscato have also grown in popularity at Chardonnay’s expense.

In the last 5 years alone, the number of Australian regular wine drinkers who consume Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris has risen from a quarter to over a third, while Moscato is also extremely popular with regular wine drinkers aged 25–34. Sauvignon Blanc and Moscato are now the top two white varietals in the younger age group with Chardonnay lagging behind.

The report reveals that 25–34 years olds are also the most adventurous regular wine drinkers in Australia, with 51% agreeing that they “enjoy trying new and different styles of wine on a regular basis.”

This is reflected in their consumption habits; they are also the most likely group to have consumed niche white varietals such as Gewürztraminer (10%) and Grüner Veltliner (12%).

This is in stark contrast to the older generation of 55–64 year olds, of whom just 5% have sampled Gewürztraminer and 2% Grüner Veltliner in the last 6 months.

The trend towards European varietals is echoed in red varietals. Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Zinfandel and Pinotage are now consumed by more regular wine drinkers in Australia, particularly by the younger cohort.

Profiling done by Wine Intelligence shows that older Millennials fully engage with wine and enjoy experimenting with a wide range of wines. A series of trade interviews that Wine Intelligence conducted with members of the Australian wine industry suggests that involvement in the category has been driven by increasingly well-travelled wine drinkers.

The Australia Landscapes 2017 report also highlights the dominant impact that location has on consumption. In Western Australia, home to Margaret River and a substantial producer of Semillon/Sauvignon blends, Semillon/Sauvignon is the most likely white wine to be consumed.

In contrast, the highest proportion of Riesling drinkers is found in South Australia – where wineries in Clare and Eden Valley produce award-winning dry Riesling.

Further details about the report can be found here





New Holland


WID 2017