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More Fun With the Millennials

You know, I hate to be an old poo about these things, but can someone tell the Millennial Generation to just shut up for a while?

I understand they’re growing up in a much more sophisticated wine culture than Baby Boomers, and are thus automatically wiser and more discerning┬áthan the generation before them — that is, the generation that built the wine culture Millennials are currently exploring. I accept a certain lack of perspective among young people. I was, after all, young once myself, and recall adamantly arguing that Grand Funk Railroad’s “Closer to Home” was art. (To check my memory, I went to the Grand Funk website. Who would imagine that it would need a section called “Latest News”?) Lack of historic perspective is not a moral or intellectual failure; it’s just a defining characteristic of youth.

The Contra Costa Times does an article about Millennial wine judges. It’s one of those “nice” articles that doesn’t say anything bad but nonetheless makes the article’s subjects look like complete idiots. Here’s a selection of quotes from the article, along with old fart commentary.

Speaking of the recently held NextGen wine competition:

“You can get people who are stuffy and serious at these things, and then you have to watch what you say or behave a certain way. But these people were in jeans and flip-flops.”

Wait! Young people in jeans and flip-flops? Seriously? That’s a huge cultural innovation compared to the austere formality of the Baby Boomers who, you no doubt remember, always dressed in coat and tie for dinner.

“Millennials are risk takers who understand that without trying something new by experimenting and listening to advice, we will always be drinking the same overpriced, 94-point cabernet sauvignon from Napa Valley.”

This is more semantic than anything else, but is “listening to advice” really a characteristic of risk-takers?

On judging wine:

“I judged on all-around deliciousness, what the average consumer is looking for.”

This is what we in the wordbiz call “condescension,” which is the foundation of snobbery, which is what Millennials claim not to be. This reminds me, somehow, of the argument I had with my father about wearing ragged jeans — and, come to think of it, flip-flops. He wanted me to wear new jeans, but I explained to him that I needed to wear old jeans because that’s what you had to wear to be a non-conformist.

On the result of the NextGen wine competition, which crowned the 21st Century equivalent of Annie Green Springs Peach Creek Wine as the best wine for Millennials.

“I am proud to have been a part of choosing a wine that is well-made, whether sweet or dry, and clean. It may not be the most exciting wine in the world, but it’s thirst quenching. At the end of the day, wine is just a beverage.”

Which kind of calls into question the whole idea of judging wine competitions, doesn’t it?

UPDATE: Millennials discuss Annie Green Spring Peach Creek Wine.


10 Comments

  • The Wine Curmudgeon

    Take a deep breath, my friend. Anyone who isn’t a slave to scores can’t be all bad.

    Now go tie dye a t-short or something.

  • Leanu

    Tom,

    Once again I take offense (with a grain of salt as usual). You say that Millennials are exploring the wine culture that the Baby-Boomers built. In fact, the Millennials are exploring a different wine culture that, if they did build it, Baby-Boomers are afraid to explore themselves. It is no secret that Millennials are much more likely to grab a bottle of something they have never had than the older generations (I think the stat I read was that 90% of the time they grab something new). Meanwhile, the Baby-Boomers are stuck in their brand-loyal ways of consuming only that which is familiar to them. “…overpriced, 94 point cabernet…”.

    Now, taking these two groups, which do you think is more likely, if not already, to be wiser and more discerning? Don Juan didn’t become the worlds greatest lover by forever sleeping with one woman.

    Just to clear something up, I’m not sure if I am even considered a Millennial. I might be a bit old. What is the cut off year?

  • Mart S - Grotto Wine Racks

    Great insight, Leanu. :) Cheers!

  • Tom Johnson

    I submit that much of Millennial behavior, as it pertains to brand loyalty, is a function of age rather than generation. There’s a reason no one wants to advertise to people over 50, and it has nothing to do with purchasing power. Millennials will end up just as set in their ways as we oldsters are, when their time comes.

    I also think that Millennials will inevitably lord over a much more sophisticated and unpretentious wine culture than exists today. It’s inevitable. The next generation builds on the last.

    Finally, how come no one ever comments on my pictures. I work really hard finding just the right image…

  • Wally

    T,
    Our generation did not build the “wine culture.” We merely added lifestyle magazines like the Spectator and American Bandstand numerical ratings (I give it an 88: it’s got a good beat, nice legs and goes well with braised short ribs*)

    *Pop culture has now made “trash cuts” like short ribs, hanger steak and chicken wings desirable and therefore expensive. An ironic twist on the whole concept of making something good out of something cheap.

  • Tom Johnson

    That’s great, Wally. DID YOU NOTICE THE PICTURE?

  • Wally

    That is not me! The only time my hair was that short, it was cut in a mohawk. Plus, I only heave in stools; never urinals. Urinals are for the tasty post-vomit mint that keeps my breath smelling bathroom-fresh.

  • Pursuit

    “Thirst quenching”?

  • Mrs. A

    And don’t forget, Wally, it’s easy to dance to.