Feb 132013

Image courtesy of svb.com via 1WineDude.com

Joe Roberts has a good story this week at 1WineDude that mixes wine, economics, demographics and a failure to adopt social media marketing. Add these elements up, and he predicts hard times for the U.S. wine business as Boomers continue to age, retire and pass on.

He cites a report put out by the Silicon Valley Bank last month looking at the wine industry in this country. As shown by the graph above, Boomers are the majority consumers of wine across all price points, and overwhelmingly dominate purchases over $30 per bottle. Unlike other verticals courting the Millennials, the wine industry does not seem to be embracing social media as a channel to the next generation of wine lovers, as illlustrated by the graph below.

Add the fact that many Boomer retirement accounts are still recovering from the Great Recession, and we could be looking at bad times ahead for the servants of Bacchus in this country.

Boomers and wine

Image courtesy of svb.com via 1WineDude.com

Or maybe not. Roberts makes his money as a marketing consultant to the wine industry, not from his wine column in Playboy.com. (An awfully cool gig to have though, I must say). So it’s certainly logical for him to be beating this drum. And I have no idea how scientifically rigorous the surveys conducted by SVB.com were. An appreciation of wine is something that often takes place gradually over years.

But it does seem that the wine industry has been slow to tap into the power of the Internet and social media, Gary Vaynerchuk aside of course. (And he’s better known today as a social media speaker and author of the term “crush it” than he is for his family wine business). Social media is tailor made for targeting, and harnessing the enthusiasm of people with shared interests. It’s no silver bullet of course, and many wine companies could get disillusioned by leaping in with tools and tactics prior to having a strategy in place.

The Boomers have been the dominant cohort in American commerce for decades. Many industries will have to adapt as they fade from the scene. It makes sense that a smarter adoption of social media marketing could help the wine industry handle the transition better.

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