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Boomer Vs. Millennials: Who Cares About Wine The Right Way?

By Stephen Eliot

I admit that I have gotten used to much of the nonsense I find in the you-get-what-you-pay-for world of internet wine writing; “inured” might be a better word. I do not get up in arms, and generally do not let what I read, however hare-brained, spoil my morning coffee, but I marvel at the beating of horses that stubbornly refuse to die.

One topic, that for me, is a guaranteed soporific is the supposed “scientific”, statistically-proven differences between generations of wine drinkers and how they are manifest in how each determines what is good and what to buy. It not only seems to me that The Great Millenial/Boomer Gap, has become common fodder for those with too much time on their hands, but that most of what is written and said is opinion that poses as fact.

I read about the Millenial “Myth” on the one hand and the complacent irrelevance of those older wine aficionados on the other. I have little patience with those so intent on simplifying complex issues in the name of making them easy to understand that they are more than willing to leave truth set out on the curb like tomorrow morning’s trash. And, sentences beginning with “I have seen studies…” or “statistics show…” are likely to make me stop reading about wine and look for yesterday’s baseball scores.

I regularly wonder if I am alone.

It turns out that I am not, and this week’s CGCW Best Blog honoree is Tom Wark for his posting “A Little Responsibility in Wine Journalism Please”1. Written in turn as a response to a patently silly bit of fluff published on Next Avenue entitled “Why Boomers Should Drink Wine Like Millennials”2, Tom says…

“I don’t know if this particular news story about millennial wine drinkers vs baby boomer wine drinkers is a result of the original information never being very good to begin with or if it’s just careless reporting. Either way, the tone, substance and message in this story is wrong. But more importantly, it is a message that has spread far and wide and is accepted by many, despite being wrong.

That incorrect message is this: Millennial wine drinkers are fundamentally different from their parents in ways that identify the Baby Boom wine drinkers as dopes, unthinking ratings followers, with no curiosity.”

Now, I am on very much on the same page as Tom and feel that any Boomer worth his or her salt should find a good deal of offense by what Next Avenue has to say, but I rather believe that any thinking Millennial wine lover has reason enough to feel slighted as well. Like any good blog, there are plenty of thoughtful responses to Tom’s musings, and, in truth, his commentators rightfully share in this week’s Best of the Blogs honors.

I am not in marketing, and I confess that I am far more interested in wine than who drinks it and why, but I do write about the stuff and my livelihood depends on interested folks finding usefulness in what I say. I do not write for Boomers nor for Millenials per se and hold that good wine is good wine and boring is boring regardless of someone’s attempts to type cast you. I, like Tom, reject the notion that all Boomers are stodgy, unadventurous and hopelessly set in their ways, but the image of Millenials as easily-led-by-their-nose non-thinkers who cannot resist a good story and pursue “new” on a whim is just as abhorrent.

Other than those looking for a marketing angle or desperate writers trolling for a new audience, I just do not know what and who the setting of generations against one and other serves. But, then again, I admit that for me it is always about what is in the glass.


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Right On...
by TomHill
Posted on:8/19/2014 6:00:59 PM

Thanks for the links, Steve. Tom did a great job in skewering the original article, one of the most cliche-filled wine articles I've read in some time. Though I'm not sure it was worth Tom getting his knickers in a knot over. Who was it that said "Never get into a battle of wits with an unarmed man"?



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