Drinking wine while watching TV

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NEW YORK — Could drinking at home become the new night out at the bar? A new survey finds that two in three Gen Z wine enthusiasts (66%) opt for the comfort of their homes when it comes to drinking. The poll of 2,000 American adults between 21 and 26 years-old finds that of those who enjoy wine, only 23 percent would choose to go to a bar, and only 18 percent would opt for drinking at some sort of live event.

For Gen Z wine enthusiasts, having a glass is an opportunity to be social, as hanging out with friends (64%) tops the list of activities they prefer to partake in while drinking, while 46 percent enjoy a glass on a date. Results also show that young wine drinkers prefer to drink with friends (72%), rather than with their partner (49%).

On their own, 46 percent of those who enjoy wine also enjoy a nice drink with their meal, compared to just 37 percent of respondents who have a different alcohol preference.

What inspires Gen Z to raise a glass? Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Unshackled Wines, the survey finds that nearly half (48%) of those who drink wine do so for the sheer joy of having fun, while 47 percent drink wine to relax and unwind. 

While much of Gen Z enjoys sipping a glass of wine, some prefer to reach for other options. When asked why they don’t drink wine, not liking the taste was the top reason (27%), while others reported finding wine menus (15%) or tasting notes (13%) to be confusing or intimidating.

infographic on reasons why people drink wine

Knowledge gaps may also be to blame for Gen Z’s hesitancy toward drinking wine. Survey results reveal that they are most knowledgeable about vodka (38%) and tequila (37%), while fewer respondents feel well-versed in still wine (29%) and sparkling wine (19%).

You won’t often hear Gen Z critique others based on wine preferences, though. Only 30 percent state that they would form an opinion about someone based on their knowledge of wine.

Pouring wine into a plastic cup or a mason jar? That’s no problem either, as only 28 percent would judge someone based on their choice of drinkwareHowever, not everyone holds the same open-minded attitude — 44 percent of those surveyed have experienced feeling judged about their choice of wine, with a higher percentage among men compared to women (56% vs. 41%).

“There’s no reason to feel apprehensive when selecting a bottle of wine,” says spokesperson Bukky Ekundayo, general manager of Unshackled Wines, in a statement. “When deciding between red, white, rose or sparkling wine, allow the occasion to guide your selection, as our study shows Gen Z wine drinkers primarily select wine based on their mood and the activity (27%). Or simply start with what you know — 21 percent of Gen Z select wines based on their go-to favorites.”

When considering what influences Gen Z to try a new wine, the most significant factor is recommendations from friends and family, which influences 39 percent of them. The price point is the second most influential factor, affecting 17 percent. Lastly, interesting labels or packaging sway 12 percent to try a new wine.

When thinking of wine drinkers, 39 percent say parents come to mind, more so than wealthy individuals (31%), business people (27%), or celebrities and influencers (26%).

“Although hearing ‘wine drinkers’ may lead Gen Z to think of their parents, there’s been a generational shift in their perception of wine,” Ekundayo adds. “It’s no longer something reserved for special occasions or even certain individuals, but rather a bottle all can reach for, whether unwinding with friends or on a date night. Gen Z is ushering in a new sense of approachability that we hope continues to build so more people feel comfortable uncorking a bottle of wine.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 Americans between the ages of 21–26 who drink alcohol was commissioned by Unshackled Wines between Oct. 13 and Oct. 18, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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1 Comment

  1. Michael Jenkins says:

    Another data point that should be factored in is the markup on wine when at a bar or restaurant. GenZ and GenX wine drinkers often prefer to drink at home or at a friend’s place because the markup of a bottle of wine in a restaurant/bar is usually in the 300-400% range. This extravagant markup with no real cost justification is a major factor in discouraging consumption in these settings. Because you can purchase many (most) of the wine list at a local retail store, the ridiculous markups are very transparent to consumers.