Skip to main content

It’s official: Gen Z is not a fan of wine (and what that means for everyone else)

Gen Z doesn't need wine to be high on life. What's that like?

Friends toasting with beer
Elevate/Unsplash

For those of us wine-worshipping Millennials, the thought of the younger generation not inheriting this shared fervor for all things viticultural is outright ludicrous. But according to a new report from Silicon Valley Bank’s 2024 State of the US Wine Industry, that appears to be exactly what’s happening. Perhaps it was our overenthusiasm that spooked the members of Gen Z; perhaps they found our DIY cork art and tacky TJ Maxx wine-pun napkins too “cheugy,” and we’ve frightened them off of the incredible nectar forever. Perhaps we Millennials were just too outspoken in our passion, and wine is now somehow being reduced and widdled down to nothing but a once-trendy item that will age out of style with those of us who can still rap every word of the Fresh Prince intro. It’s enough to make one shed tears into their oversized wine glass. How can this be?

People drinking wine at a table
Helena Lopes/Pexels / Pexels

The study

Widely viewed as one of the most comprehensive analyses of the wine industry, Silicon Valley Bank’s report is bleak but with a few hints at a silver lining for those of us who are hoping to see the wine industry keep its head above water.

For the last three years, wine sales have been declining steadily, dropping another 3% overall last year. And for the first time in 45 years, the sales of spirits in the United States topped the volume of wine sold in 2023. Even more rattling is that the report shows that 58% of wine consumers are over the age of 65, with all other demographics registering almost 30 points lower. The bottom line is that younger drinkers just aren’t interested in wine as much as they used to be – not by a long shot.

The possible reasons for this are many. Firstly, with cannabis now legal in many states and use on the rise, more young people are turning to that in lieu of wine. Another reason is that many Gen Zers are foregoing alcohol altogether, joining in on the ever-growing popularity of the sober movement. Admittedly, we are here for this trend, and we praise the younger generation for doing such a great job of bringing attention to both the physical and social dangers of irresponsible drinking. But with a more health-conscious generation will undoubtedly come a hit to some of our favorite indulgences that have nothing to do with yoga or juice cleanses.

Person holding up red wine glass
Blake Wisz/Unsplash / Unsplash

The (thin) silver lining

It would appear that only those bottles on the mid to lower shelves of the grocery store display are the ones taking a severe hit. The premium wine business is still doing surprisingly well, as wine volume sales above $12 have remained positive, according to the study. So, all we have to do is reassure those who are drinking the good stuff to keep right on at it.

And maybe convince a Gen Zer or two that wine is actually pretty magical.

Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
It’s time to learn about bourbon – here’s your guide
Put down the IPA and meet the actual coolest drink in town — bourbon
Bourbon in a glass

Hello, class, and welcome to Bourbon 101. Don't worry; we're not like those other schools where you aren't allowed to drink during class. We're cool. Now, get your notebooks and a glass of whiskey ready because it's time to dive into the history of this American spirit.

It would be hard to find something more American than bourbon, except for maybe a bald eagle draped in an American flag with a baseball and an apple pie clutched in its talons. In any case, the history of bourbon follows the highs and lows of our country, as a whole, with good times, great times, and really bad times. It was built with ingenuity in a time of great hardship and flourished despite the best efforts of outside forces.
What exactly is bourbon?

Read more
10 classic summer cocktails everyone should know how to make
Enjoy your summer with these incredible, classic drinks
Gin cocktail

We are right at the cusp of summer. It's the season of backyard campfires, yard games, dangling your feet off a dock, and seemingly endless sunny days. It's a great time of year for refreshing, crisp beer. But it's also the perfect time for classic summer cocktails. Lucky for you, there are many to choose from. And while we love a rich, complex, boozy Old Fashioned or Manhattan any time of year, in the summer, we tend to opt for thirst-quenching, fresh cocktails.
Classic summer drink recipes

The best part? These iconic, refreshing summer drinks are all reasonably easy to whip up. You don't need an advanced degree in mixology and a whole cabinet of tinctures, herbs, and other ingredients to make them. Most of them are only a few ingredients and the ones with more are still fairly easy to shake up. These are the summery drinks that everyone should know how to make. Keep scrolling to see them all and learn a few new recipes to wow your friends and family this summer.
Margarita

Read more
6 essential Scotch cocktails that you need to know
If Scotch is your thing, then you need to put these on your home bar list
Rusty Nail cocktail

Scotch whisky isn't called the water of life for nothing -- it's a divine spirit that works on so many levels. It brightens the days of the sad, and it calms the nerve-wracked masses. It's always there for you. You can drink it neat, on the rocks, or with a few drops of water — however you choose, it's a wonderful liquor.

We will admit that there are times when we want to enjoy Scotch whisky in a cocktail. We're not saying use that bottle of Macallan 50 Years Old to mix up a drink, but if you've got a nice mid-shelf whisky, you can occasionally step outside your comfort zone and mix up a Scotch whisky cocktail to drink any time of the day.

Read more