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Research,Wine,Wine Business

Brouhaha ~ What’s it all about… Silicon Valley Bank vs. Wine Market Council

Wine Market Council Stands by their 2016 Consumer Research on Millennial Wine Consumption Habits

I attended the Wine Market Council’s recent meeting in Napa Valley at their Yountville Conference. They talked about their New York City presentation and clarified all points. Now, the Wine Market Council (WMC) further clarifies data reported at their 2016 Consumer Research Conferences, in reaction to the Silicon Valley Bank’s (SVB) story entitled, “The 2016 Wine Market Council’s Findings Are Wrong,” on the SVB’s Website.

When I read this headline, I thought to myself, “Well, that went over well.” A bottom line for any research is that it’s always a moving target, and will always be a work in progress.

What got the SVB’s author’s juices flowing is the following statement:

Instead of being transparent about the problems, the WMC elected to simply remove the first slide at the top of the page from the deck. No mention was made of that. That slide and the Total Case Consumed slides just disappeared from the Yountville presentation without comment.

This morning, I got the following press release to clarify. I thought I’d share this with any of you who are in the wine business and might have missed this one.

_________________

St. Helena, CA, March 24, 2016 — Wine Market Council, a non-profit association of grape growers, wine producers, importers, wholesalers, retailers, and other affiliated wine businesses and organizations, today announced a clarification on Millennial wine drinkers and the consumption habits of other generations that were presented at the 2016 Wine Market Council Research Conferences.

“At our Yountville conference in March we made a correction to the data that was originally presented at our New York presentation in January,” said John Gillespie, President of Wine Market Council.  “In the New York City presentation an error was made, which resulted in an inaccurate projection of wine consumption volumes by generation.”

The error was caused by using data from the WMC annual Consumer Tracking Study of “High Frequency” wine drinkers in place of a similar data point from the WMC annual “Consumer Segmentation” study.  That error was corrected at the Yountville conference in March.

“The overstatement of glasses per occasion, once corrected, leaves us with the conclusion that while Baby Boomers remain the largest wine consuming generation, Millennials are rapidly closing that gap,” Gillespie added.

Wine Market Council has been reporting on consumer wine consumption habits for the past twenty-two years through their annual consumer surveys.  The Council retained ORC International, a leader in business intelligence, to conduct the consumer segmentation study of 2,936 U.S. wine drinkers in June, 2015.  Gillespie adds that while incorrect data points were used to make the original calculations, the final conclusions remain the same.

The following facts were clarified by Wine Market Council at their Yountville conference:

  • FACT: There are more Millennial adults in the U.S. than Baby Boomers (79 million Millennials vs. 75 million Baby Boomers).  Source: American Demographics classification of U.S. Census Bureau data.
  • FACT: There are more Millennial wine drinkers in the U.S. than Baby Boomers, (36% vs. 34%).  As of January 1, 2016, every Millennial is now of legal drinking age.  Source: Opinion Research Corporation survey of census-adjusted U.S. adults (n = 2,936) June, 2015.
  • FACT: While there are slightly more Millennial wine drinkers than Baby Boomers, more Baby Boomers than Millennials are “High Frequency” wine drinkers (38% vs. 30%).  Thus, Baby Boomers still account for a greater total volume of wine consumption than Millennials, though the gap between these two groups is not great and is closing each year.  Source: Opinion Research Corporation survey of census-adjusted U.S. adults (n = 2,936) June, 2015.
  • FACT: Over the past 15 years, the Millennial share of the U.S. wine drinking total population and High Frequency wine drinking population have grown significantly, as the two charts below demonstrate.  Source: Wine Market Council consumer segmentation surveys of 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2015 conducted by Merrill Research and Opinion Research Corporation.
  • FACT: Younger generations continue to modestly increase their wine consumption compared to one or two years past, while older generations display modest decreases in consumption compared to one or two years past, as indicated in the chart below.  Source: Opinion Research Corporation survey of census-adjusted U.S. adults (n = 2,936) June, 2015.

Wine Market Council’s 2016 Consumer Research Conferences took place on Monday, January 25 in New York and on Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Yountville, California.

About Wine Market Council

Wine Market Council is a non-profit association of grape growers, wine producers, importers, wholesalers, retailers, and other affiliated wine businesses and organizations.  The council’s mission is to grow, strengthen, and stabilize the wine market in the U.S. on behalf of all segments of the industry. Wine Market Council provides its members with consumer research that is proprietary to Wine Market Council members, who incorporate it into their strategic planning, marketing and sales execution.  Wine Market Council was established in 1994 as a non-profit (501c6) trade association working through all tiers of the U.S. wine industry to grow the wine market.  More information can be found at WineMarketCouncil.com and on Twitter @WineMktCouncil.

 

4 Responses to “Brouhaha ~ What’s it all about… Silicon Valley Bank vs. Wine Market Council”

  1. Jim Caudill says:

    I appreciate the clarification, but there’s not much appreciation for the headlines that were generated by the incorrect data and the conclusions that were drawn (and promoted) from them. That misinterpretation is now enshrined in the Internet, and this correction will barely get a notice.

    Research reports are certainly fluid, but credibility is the stock in trade they need to protect. It was so jarringly obvious that the conclusions reached were so contrary to everyone’s reality, it seems like this should have been caught right away.

    Why it matters is fairly straightforward: a lot of decisions are being made buttressed by that data, and at times it’s hard to raise a rationale observation for consideration.

    Cultivate Millenials, Cherish Boomers is actually a pretty good viewpoint. I’d add: Respect Boomers. Those dollars are going to matter for a lot longer than they seem to get credit for.

  2. Rob McMillan says:

    Jo
    Thanks for keeping this important discussion alive.

    Here are a couple things to consider: People use information like this in business plans. Bad information costs real people real money so getting it right is important.

    I’d take a difference with your one statement above.
    “A bottom line for any research is that it’s always a moving target, and will always be a work in progress.”

    That’s actually not the result hoped for with researchers. While there is always a degree of error in research, one hopes that for a specific point in time, the facts presented are fixed. Future research could lead to new conclusions, but the same research should have a fixed conclusion that doesn’t move.

    Without recasting the entire discussion – you can read my blog if interested, consider what the WMC said in their new press release. They “stood by their research.” That’s great, but if you paid attention in Yountville, they changed their findings again with this new press release.

    Here is the way this has moved:
    January NY: Millennials represent 43% of wine consumed in America and are the dominant consumer cohort for the first time.
    March in Yountville: Boomers and Millennials are “about equal” in their consumption.
    Above Press Release where they stood by their research: “The overstatement of glasses per occasion, once corrected, leaves us with the conclusion that while Baby Boomers remain the largest wine consuming generation, Millennials are rapidly closing that gap,” Gillespie added.

    Don’t you think a conclusion should be supported with some numeric facts? The test for that is if you can tell me what the consumption share of wine is now with the millennial cohort. It was 43% in NY. What is it now that the findings have twice evolved since?

    This isn’t a difference of opinion. We are talking about research that – using their numbers has moved more than 50 million cases in consumption since January. Is that the kind of moving target you are OK with in your post above?

  3. Jo Diaz says:

    Thanks for your comments, Rob. They allow people to draw their own conclusions.

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    Boomer respect… I like that, and know that it’s also a moving target, until ageism catches up with those who practiced disrespect. Karma is for real. Thanks, Jim. I appreciate all of your thoughts.

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