Nicolò Stortiglione Pudel discusses the trends shaping millennial wine drinking. Picture: Supplied
It is predicted that millennials will increasingly contribute to sales in the fine wine category. 

Although this ‘trend’ has been noted in international markets, local millennials are also embarking on the serious task of being seen to learn about subjects associated with status – such as fine wine appreciation, starting a wine cellar or attending wine tastings – a fun trend that bids well for wine brands in 2017.

Nicolò Stortiglione Pudel, of Port2Port – an online marketplace of fine wine – says this trend, combined with numerous interesting developments taking place in the local wine industry right now, will result in an exciting 2017 for the whole wine industry, from winemakers to consumers, and specifically marketers who are eager to think outside the box when it comes to promoting wine to this new, eager and engaged group of wine lovers. 

According to Pudel, the following trends in the South African wine landscape will influence millennial wine-drinking behaviour in 2017 – and vice versa: 

The rise of Chenin Blanc 

Will continue in the way of Cape White Blends (white wine blends led by Chenin Blanc) The Chenin Blanc class, is increasingly being viewed as a premium wine category and this class, and its associated ‘Cape Blend’ category, is where some of South Africa’s most exciting wines are being produced right now.  

There will be a rebalance in ‘regionality hype’:

For years, the Swartland wine region, by means of clever winemaking supported by clever marketing, has enjoyed high wine region visibility and awareness. In 2017 there will be a rebalancing of this visibility as more wine regions realise the potential of ‘collective marketing’. This isn’t only limited to the ‘smaller’ wine wards either, there is a rejuvenation of bigger wine regions like Stellenbosch, which is also increasingly focused on clever, millennial friendly marketing of its various wineries.” 

Wine by design 

As in fashion, will become an interesting point of discussion in 2017: “This idea is one that is very successfully championed by winemaker Bruwer Raats. The Raats Family Wines Eden Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc, are produced from newly planted vines. His argument? For all the excitement about old vines, he says by starting from scratch he is looking for quality by design rather than by accident.”  

Disruptive technology.

While this is not a ‘new’ trend in the technology sphere, the local wine industry is just lately waking up to using disruptive technology in marketing their products to new consumers. The brands that adopt this strategy will thrive in 2017. The new wine consumers want readable, enjoyable content that can be read on-the-go, between meetings or events, resulting in a quick, informed decisions and associated purchases. 

International interest in South Africa’s fine wines. 

Increased connectivity is accompanied by an increased focus on South Africa and its value-for-money premium wine offerings. South Africa’s reputation for producing fantastic wines is becoming well-established among the global wine community; the millennial wine drinker is more connected, and actively seeks out online retailers offering immediate access to wines from all over the world. This interest in new world countries will increasingly translate into more sales for local wineries offering their product on the right platform.  

Less restrictive wine appreciation. 

“The new wine drinker feels absolutely free to experiment and doesn’t allow him or herself to be dictated to in terms of what to drink. Although they seek out education and guidance, these consumers have an educated opinion and are eager to engage with wineries and wine critics who are transparent and conversational on the topic of wine appreciation. In 2017 the successful brands will be those who are accessible.”