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Designing Wine Labels for the Millennial Generation

The more inimitable and attractive a wine label design is, the greater chance the bottle has of being purchased. It is widely believed that wine label art is reflective of the quality of the wine inside.

The Double Purchase

The artistic appeal of wine bottle labels initiates the first purchase, while the quality of the wine initiates a second purchase. Wine labels are no longer used to only communicate information about variety or winery but are used as a wine marketing tactic to attract potential buyers .

Differentiate your Wine Label Design

With thousands of wines - local and international -, hundreds of brands, and then the multiple varieties, palettes and packaging options available, it has made browsing wine isles quite overwhelming. It seems vital that within the highly competitive wine market, wineries would differentiate themselves as much as possible.

Wine is Fashion

Someone once said, “Wine is fashion, and beverage aisles are our runway. Wines, like fashion, have reached a point where marketing and merchandising play as important a role as making the product itself”.

Wine bottle labels are essentially marketing billboards, which makes it all the more important for wine producers to understand their target market and design the label appropriately.

Baby Boomers

(Baby Boomers: those born beginning in 1946 until the end of 1964 - end of WW2 - near the time birth control went on the market.) It seems clear that most wine marketers have spent the majority of their focus on the Baby Boomer population, and quite rightly so, but there is a market that has a larger buying power and is being largely ignored.

The Millennial Generation

The Millennial Generation (millennials) also referred to as Generation Next, Generation Y, and Echo Boomers, are the children of the Baby Boomers. (Millennials are those born after 1980, and are named as such because they were the first generation to come of age in the new millennium). They are perceived to be “ the wine world’s fastest-growing market segment ”. There is little research available on this group’s wine consumption habits and preferences but this is what we know.

There are six primary traits that define the Millennial Generation:

1. They are tech savvy (100% internet ownership),
2. optimistic yet practical,
3. embracive of diversity,
4. they find value in fun,
5. are environmentally and socially conscious, and
6. they have entrepreneurial spirits.

By getting to know the millennial wine consumer, wineries can learn how to meet their needs and expectations. Aside from being intelligent consumers, the millennial generation also embrace diversity.

Show Diversity in Wine Marketing

A large portion of the Millennial Generation is non-Caucasian. This means that millennials want wine marketing to “show diversity in all advertisements, emphasise universal values, and consider focus on specific cultural values.

It is vital for the wine industry to recognise that they can no longer focus all of their marketing efforts on the traditional white middle-class, but that they must be inclusive of all race, class, and genders.


Millennials are more entrepreneurial than generations previous. This “entrepreneurial spirit is most likely enflamed by their optimistic nature and desire to make a difference in the world, as well as their environmental and social consciousness.

The implication is that wineries should accentuate family businesses, ethnic groups, and social responsibility.

Buying Power

A common thread found throughout is that millennials feel ignored in wine marketing. The Millennial Generation feel that other consumer groups, specifically the older and wealthy white market segment, receive top priority in the wine industry. With millennials having enormous buying power, wine companies would be ill-advised to not consider millennial beliefs and values when it comes to wine label design or branding their image.

Overall Appeal

Overall design appeal will have to work harder to attract the attention of millennials by making brands hip and edgy, yet classic.

Tell a Story

Evolving technology is also changing the nature of label design. These tech-driven consumers like labels to tell a story, however it must be told fast and simple, and it must be fun.

There are multiple trends that wineries can follow to pursue uniqueness in this market. Whether it be bold graphics, animal labels, or quirky names, it is clear that labels are key in reflecting brand identity and personality.

In Conclusion

By identifying the perceptions and attitudes of the Millennial Generation as it pertains to wine label design, those in the wine industry can better tailor their brands to meet their demands.

For strategic marketing purposes and long-term sustainability of a wine brand, it would be wise to consider these relevant trends in the marketplace. In order to tap into the millennial market segment, wine label designs will need to become less traditional and representative of status, and more modern and representative of fun.

As the wine industry evolves and continues to reflect the styles of popular culture, wine labels will need to phase out traditional designs and begin to emphasize brighter and edgier labels. As the Millennial Generation increase their involvement, both as consumers and label designers in the wine industry, this development will likely accelerate.

Now, about what’s inside the bottle… what do the millennials enjoy? That is another article altogether!
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