Cultural Files

Who’s Doing the Drinking?

We posted a recent blog breaking down the drinking population.   While it’s true that Millennials (ages 21-37) now outnumber babyboomers (ages 50-67), there has been some debate over which group is actually drinking more wine. In an article in The North Bay Business Journal on April 4, 2016, Jeff Quackenbush discusses the enigma. There have been reports (Rob McMillan of Silicon Valley Bank) that baby boomers buy more bottles of premium wine (over $20) than millennials, while the Wine Market Council reported at their conference in New York that millennials buy more cases of all still and sparkling wines than baby boomers. The council then revised their figures to state that baby boomers consume more wine at each outing than millennials. The discussion is important if wineries take this information and craft their marketing strategies based on any one of the aforementioned reports. What the Business Journal concluded after much analysis was that baby boomers “drink more wine in total than do millennials, but the gap is closing”. So in terms of creating a marketing strategy for the future, it makes sense to target the growing drinking population of millennials.

Millennial Wine Consumption Up

Per Wines & Vines (3/17/16), the drinking population is now dominated by the Millennials (ages 21-38), followed closely by Baby Boomers (ages 51-69), then trailed by Gen X (ages 39-50) and lastly Seniors (ages 70+). Wine consumption in general has risen since 2000 with a compound average growth rate of 4%. In general, Millennials are drinking more wine than they were 2 years ago while Baby Boomers are drinking less.

What does this mean for wine producers? Well, one aspect of marketing to Millennials is the requisite use of social media. In particular, consumers use Facebook to talk about wine more than any other vehicle. Millennial drinkers are also particularly enamored with “red wine blends, sparkling wines, sweeter wines, some imports and anything new.” So committing to making that sweet red sparkler may make a lot of sense!

Premier Cru Sued Over Failure To Deliver Wine

The Contra Costs Times reported yesterday that a number of customers have brought suit against the wine retailed Premier Cru over a failure to deliver wines purchased as futures on its website “At least 10 investors, many from China, have sued Premier Cru since November 2014, alleging they paid for more than $5 million worth of expensive wine and only received a tiny fraction. All the plaintiffs share the same tale: As the wine deliveries fail to turn up, Premier Cru employees string along anxious investors with excuses, and the routine continues with false promises of cash refunds. Customers were told of wine pallets stuck in French ports or at sea en route to China, always coming up with a new delay, the lawsuits claim.” We know from personal experience what these plaintiffs went through, as we shared the same exact experience on our own as these other plaintiffs did: Purchased wines, which never arrived, strung out with lame excuses by their customer service reps over email. Read the full story here:


BottleRock 2014 has come and gone. While we do not have specifics on the financial results of the 3-day festival, the general consensus is that the event was a success. More importantly, the residual bad-taste from Bottlerock 2013 has been erased. We were there Friday night and it was great! The Cure played an amazing 2 ½ hour set that ended with a power pull…Latitude 38 (festival organizers) promised neighbors the show would end at 10pm and it did, even if The Cure continued to sing. Attendance was somewhere in the 70,000-80,000 range, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and the Napa Valley Register. The largest complaints were due to traffic congestion and long waits for shuttle buses to remote parking areas. Arrests were minimal and the majority of the vendors have been paid (according the Santa Rosa Press Democrat 6/1/14). The organizers have committed to Bottlerock 2015 and are very pleased with this year’s event. Looks like Napa will continue to hold this annual nod to that perfect combination of wine, music and the great outdoors.

BottleRock 2014

BottleRock 2013 was an outrageous failure financially. The ownership group, BR Festivals LLC recently filed for bankruptcy. The LLC listed $4.5M in liabilities and $610,000 in assets. In the aftermath of so many creditors left unpaid, is Napa ready for BottleRock 2.0?

Yes, says Latitude 38 Entertainment, the proud new owners of the BottleRock Napa brand. L38 paid $60,000 for the rights and claim they will produce an even better BottleRock than last year.

We think the entire BottleRock discussion is interesting for a number of reasons. On initial consideration, one could make an argument that BottleRock is good for Napa as it will bring crowds and generate lots of restaurant and hotel revenue. A music venue also excites another demographic: not your typical Napa visitor. Developing a younger set of Napa wine devotees could be a good thing. And, diversifying the Napa brand away from just “wine” could also be considered beneficial. But will all wineries, big and small, benefit from increased crowds in the neighborhood? Or, will only the wineries offering their wines for sale at the festival benefit, or the biggest wineries? And let’s not forget, the concern over traffic, noise and trash…can this be managed and will it offset benefits of a music festival downtown?

The L38 guys feel so. In an interview with the Napa Valley Register, David Graham of L38 states that he got involved with BottleRock 2014 because he thinks he can help, he thinks BottleRock should stay in Napa, and he thinks he can make money.

There will be some changes to this year’s BottleRock. The festival will be just 3 days this year (May 30 – June 1) as opposed to the 4.5 days last year, and the number of bands will be fairly comparable at just over 60. But one could argue that the lineup is not as spectacular (according to Stereogum 4/21/14, BottleRock 2014 could be considered the “strangest lineup of 2014”). L38 wants there to be something for everyone so multiple genres are included in the lineup and many were particularly popular in the 90’s. L38 also claims they have listened to neighborhood complaints and sound and traffic will be better under control.

We love music and we love music with wine, so we are excited to see how the event fares. We hope this event succeeds, both as a musical venue that’s good for Napa and as a business venture for L38 as well as the entire community. We do feel that if BottleRock 2014 is poorly attended, or if there are any major mishaps, that would be horrible press for Napa as a whole.

So let’s Monday morning quarterback June 2. We’ll get back to you with a full report. Can’t wait.


  • Napa Valley Register (NVR), 2/6/14, “Updated: Producer of BottleRock 2013 files for bankruptcy”
  • San Jose Mercury News, 2/7/14, “BottleRock Napa Valley festival returns for 2014”
  • KQED Arts, 4/14/14, “What is up with BottleRock 2014?”
  • NVR, 3/26/14, “Meet the chief of BR 2014”
  • Stereogum, 4/21/14, “Is BR the strangest festival line-up of 2014?”