Amid shift in wine consumer demand, California Wine Country cautioned to prepare for ample grape supply

Grape gluts, tourism declines, changing demographics…..sales for biodynamic or organic wines sales up 68%.  

Amid shift in wine consumer demand, California Wine Country cautioned to prepare for ample grape supply

The North Coast wine business on Thursday received another wake-up call about gathering storm clouds that could dampen consumer demand for premium wines and the grapes from which they’re made.

A day after the release of an influential forecast for the fine-wine business warned of more challenging times ahead because of changing demographics of wine consumers, a gathering of wine grape growers and related professionals in Santa Rosa heard experts lay out how this and other shifts in consumer behavior is rippling through the supply chain.

While the ranks of millennials ultimately are set to rival that of baby boomers, the youngest millennials aren’t reaching for wine as enthusiastically as the pace of boomer retirement. That’s what Lulie Halsted, CEO of London-based market-research firm Wine Intelligence said at the 28th Sonoma County Winegrowers Dollars & Sense Seminar and trade show.

“We’re proportionally losing some wine drinkers,” Halsted told them.

Last year, 21 percent of U.S. wine drinkers who imbibe regularly were over 65 years old, compared with 16 percent in 2015, she pointed out. But the ranks of regular wine consumers at the front end — ages 21-24 — are decreasing, down to 6.5 million in mid-2018 from 7.5 million three years earlier.

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