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Social networking key to engaging new consumers

Published:  15 May, 2009

The wine industry must capture the attention of 'Generation Y' to secure its long term future, delegates heard at the London International Wine Conference.

Technology savvy 'Generation Y' could account for 8.9million new consumers as they grow into their 20s and 30s, Wine Intelligence said launching its research on how to new ways of engaging the next generationi of wine drinkers.

But the industry must use social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to target them.

Universities should also become key targets as this generation is experimenting with wine at the earlier age of 18 or 19, compared to previous generations.

However, the younger generation is likely to be cynical about companies targeting them with products via social networking sites.

Wine Intelligence also found the target group was wary of recommendations by wine writers believing they are "impartial" and some how connected to the wine trade.

"They are more likely to work on recommendations by their peers via the social networking sites or text messages," Lulie Halstead, chief executive, Wine Intelligence said. "This gives brand managers less control."

Other findings include the generation is more likely to use an independent store to be hand sold wine and are unlikely to buy cases of wines.

The generation also sees white, red and rosé wine as very separate categories.

White wine is associated with "having fun" with red wine being seen as more sophisticated and likely to be the bottle of choice for a "date." Rosé is still the drink of choice and brings consumers into the category.

"This brings into question whether brand managers should treat white, red and rosé as separate distinctive categories as this is how the generation perceives them," Halstead said.

Restaurant wine lists also came under fire for "causing anxiety" among this generation due to consumers not knowing how to match the wine with food.