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Wine Opinions and Colangelo & Partners Release Results of Consumer Survey on U.S. Wine Market Trends and Challenges

Wine Opinions and Colangelo & Partners Release Results of Consumer Survey on U.S. Wine Market Trends and Challenges

Second Annual Survey from Category-Leading Communications Agency and Renowned Wine Research Company Focuses on Consumer Attitudes toward Wine and Health

Colangelo & Partners

January 30, 2024, New York — Colangelo & Partners and Wine Opinions conducted their second annual wine survey, this year focusing on U.S. wine drinker attitudes, behaviors, and trends related to beverage alcohol consumption and health.  “There are several challenges for the wine industry heading into 2024,” said Gino Colangelo, president of Colangelo & Partners. “Personally, I think the biggest threat is the growing Neo-Prohibitionist movement and its  potential to affect the U.S.D.A. Dietary Guidelines for adult consumption of beverage alcohol, which are due to be reviewed in 2025.” There’s speculation that the current guidelines —  2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women — may be revised to 2 drinks per week for all adults, following the recent change in Canada. “Related consumption trends such as ‘Dry January’ and ‘Sober October’ also impact consumer behavior,” continued Colangelo.  “The research with Wine Opinions provides our clients and the wine industry with data-driven insights that will help adapt business strategies during this pivotal time.”

An In-Depth Analysis of Various Behaviors and Opinions Among Wine Consumers

The study was conducted in December 2023 and surveyed 2,013 U.S. adults from the Colangelo & Partners and Wine Opinions consumer databases, who drink wine on average 2 to 3 times per month or more often. In the sample there were 762 respondents in the ages 21-39 segment, 631 in the ages 40 – 59 segment, and 620 in the ages 60-plus segment. Respondents in the 21-39 group skewed somewhat to males, while those in the ages 40-59 segment skewed somewhat to females. There was a significant male skew to the ages 60-plus segment, which is consistent with past research that has pointed to the higher degree of “involvement” with wine of males in that age segment.

The survey set out to measure, among other things, current wine consumer trends and the attitudes and behaviors among U.S. wine drinkers regarding alcohol consumption and health. This included respondent opinions on the positive or negative effects of wine drinking on their overall health and sense of well-being, and level of beverage alcohol consumption respondents consider to be concerning. The report also aimed to project likely wine consumer responses to the potential “2 drinks per week” dietary guideline for U.S. adults, and determine the level of participation in “Dry January” and/or “Sober October.”

Younger Generation More Likely to Adhere to Reduced Alcohol Consumption Guidelines

A topic of great concern to the wine industry is the level of wine consumption U.S. wine drinkers believe poses a risk to their health. “The study findings on this topic were quite noteworthy, with younger respondents indicating they considered health risks to be possible at very low levels of consumption,” said John Gillespie, Founder and CEO of Wine Opinions. “In the 21-39 age segment, 58% of respondents viewed 2 glasses daily or less as a potential health risk. Additionally, one in four respondents – mostly those in ages 21-39 and occasional wine drinkers – indicated that a health concern over their wine consumption level would begin at one glass of wine daily, or less.” 

To project wine consumer responses to the proposed beverage alcohol consumption guideline, the survey asked participants to select which option they agreed with from a list of statements. The most concerning finding was that two-thirds of wine drinkers in the ages 21-39 segment would either reduce their current consumption frequency of wine or adopt the new guideline. 

The older cohort showed a different response to the proposed beverage alcohol consumption guideline. Overall, in the older age segments, frequent wine drinkers were considerably more likely to indicate they would not change their current wine-drinking habits based on a proposed guideline. Among those in the ages 40-59 segment, nearly half of respondents (46%) indicated they would not change their current consumption levels. Similarly, almost half (48%) of respondents in the ages 60-plus segment indicated that their drinking habits would not change based on a new guideline.

These results suggest that the younger demographic of U.S. wine drinkers is more likely to be concerned about and susceptible to negative messaging regarding alcohol consumption. The possible revision of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for adult consumption of beverage alcohol poses a real problem to the U.S. wine industry, whose greatest potential lies in the younger generation.

Wine Considered a Valued Social and Cultural Product 

Among the more positive findings of the study were respondent’s opinions on the benefits of wine. The survey captured many insights into wine drinkers’ beliefs about wine by measuring respondents’ level of agreement with different wine attribute statements.

Wine was strongly viewed as an enhancement to social situations or gatherings by just less than half of survey respondents, while one-third strongly agree that wine can be part of a healthy diet. These are important takeaways, as they suggest that U.S. wine consumers see a potential for a healthy and enriched lifestyle that includes wine. 

On the topic of wine as part of everyday life, culture, and traditions, two-thirds of the sample expressed agreement that wine and food complement each other, and half indicated that wine has historically been a part of nearly every culture. This is a valuable insight, as the industry commonly promotes wine as an integral part of life and society.

Participation in Sober Holidays on the Rise Among Younger Wine Consumers

In recent years, promotions such as “Dry January” and “Sober October” have seen increased interest among U.S. beverage alcohol drinkers. To determine how the trend is affecting U.S. wine consumers, the survey polled respondents on their participation in the events in 2023, and intentions to participate in 2024. 

The reported participation in “Dry January” or “Sober October” in 2023 was highest among respondents in the ages 21-39 segment, with over half of the cohort reporting participation by cutting back their wine consumption in those months or abstaining from wine altogether. Nearly two-thirds of the same age group indicated they intend to participate in one or both of these events in 2024. Similarly, the Wine Market Council NielsenIQ Gen Z study showed that 45% of Gen Z respondents aged 21 and older reported they never consume alcohol. 

Wine Consumption and Risk-Reward Decision Making 

As the wine industry combats negative messaging on the topic of wine consumption and health, a crucial measure of the study was that of wine consumers’ participation in other “health risk” behaviors. To gather this data, the survey asked respondents to check from a list any of health risk activities or behaviors they engaged in at least occasionally.

The results showed survey respondents checking a wide range of risk behaviors. Nearly half of respondents indicated they at least occasionally ‘eat at fast-food outlets,’ and one-third at least occasionally engage in summertime activities without using sunscreen, or ride their bicycles on city streets. These and a variety of other behaviors that may pose health risks are quite common, and may provide context for the discussion of moderate wine consumption.

“The assertion that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption doesn’t take into account that adult Americans make educated risk-reward decisions every day, wine consumption included,” said Gino Colangelo. “These research findings demonstrate how U.S. wine consumers are self-aware and knowledgeable, possessing the ability to make choices that they believe will lead to a  balanced and fulfilling life.” 

Please contact Leah Isenberg at lisenberg@colangelopr.com for more information or to request the data from the survey.

About Colangelo & Partners

Colangelo & Partners (www.colangelopr.com) is the leading fine wine and spirits integrated communications agency in the United States, sought after by top brands and industry players for the quality of their results, creativity, and return on investment. The professionals at Colangelo & Partners work with integrity and passion to influence how US audiences perceive their clients: Earning consistent, high-quality positive media coverage; organizing signature events; strategizing and executing standout digital campaigns, and implementing trade programs that strengthen relationships within the industry. Colangelo & Partners’ clientele includes global, instantly-recognizable brands and passionate, up-and-coming vignerons and distillers; regional and national institutions; and technology and e-commerce companies innovating in the beverage alcohol sector.

About Wine Opinions

Wine Opinions is a U.S. wine industry research provider, offering both trade and consumer insights. Wine Opinions maintains the only national trade and wine consumer research panels in the industry, and performs both quantitative and qualitative research.