The growth of wine consumption in the United States, in part fueled by 70 million (by the end of 2015) legal Millennial wine drinkers, has produced a new wave of wineries with their own ideas about wine and the proper way to drink it. The new rules of wine drinking are a lot like today’s school and work dress codes – minimal and very casual.
Take Uproot Wines www.drinkuproot.com a new wine maker founded by millennials and based in Napa California. Their web site has no adorable close-ups of the winery dog (or cat) asleep in the barn, no history of the winery starting with grandpa’s emigration from the old country and no photos of the gold and silver medals won at various competitions. In their own words “they are re-imagining winemaking to create something fresh, modern and full of energy. They are change makers, experience makers and yes, some might even say trouble makers.”
Most everything about Uproot Wines is different and designed for new wine drinkers, starting with their labels. The labels are contemporary works of art, that in addition to looking great are visual depictions of the taste of the wine inside the bottle. Color blocks on the label represent the various tasting notes found in each wine. The larger the color block, the more predominant the taste is. It’s an easy way for new wine drinkers to evaluate a wine they’ve never tried before.
Uproot’s well-designed web site also features other tools for new wine drinkers. There’s an online flavor quiz to help identify individual taste preferences; an online Wine 101 wine tutorial; an extensive glossary of wine terms; a strong social media presence so you can share discoveries with your Facebook/Instagram friends and a selection of recipes to help make wine tasting with friends a special experience. Last but not least is an online wine store that ships to most of the United States, so you can act on your new found knowledge and try some Uproot wine.
Another millennial-friendly winery that takes a different approach is The Union Wine Company of Oregon www.unionwinecompany.com. Founded in 2005 by Ryan Harms to produce quality wine his friends could afford to drink, Union Wine Company produces every day drinking wines and packages their Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris in 375ml aluminum cans for convenience. They’re perfect to take along for parties, picnics and tailgating.
Known for their “Pinkies Down” philosophy of wine and wine drinking, the Union Wine Company is also known for their restored 1972 Citroen wine truck that’s often seen on Portland’s streets and at remote tasting events. The winery’s decidedly un-pretentious approach to all things wine is best stated on their web site. “We don’t get caught up in wine scores or whether our sweater vest clashes with our ascot. Fussiness bores us.”
Even some wine clubs are taking a different approach to new wine drinkers. Instead of the old “choose white or red and we’ll send you a case of what we think you will like”, tastingroom.com (see earlier article on http://winecraze.com/a-wine-club-for-new-wine-drinkers/) offers a tasting kit for $9.95 that allows new wine drinkers to taste six different wines, record their preferences online and create their own custom tasting profile. Based on their preferences a computerized tool identifies the varietals and types of wine you will like, where they come from and what food pairs best with them. Then, as a member of the club, your quarterly shipments reflect your taste profile preferences.
In wine, there is more than one correct answer. The fun is in visiting wine country or wine bars and discovering which wines you like best. Sweet, dry, red, rose, white, two buck Chuck or $100-a-bottle; if you like it, it’s a good wine – for you. As more people of all ages enjoy wine and the camaraderie that comes from drinking wine with friends, the whole industry benefits and grows. It’s a big world and there’s room for everyone. As the sign in Riverfront Deli says “It’s All Good!”.