The other day I received an email talking up wine to Generation Y—a.k.a., Millennials, a.k.a. Echo Boomers, a.k.a. the MTV Generation, a.k.a. etc. Apparently, along the way, while I had my nose in a snifter, Gen Y metamorphosed from being annoying babies in the checkout lane to being annoying morsels at the wine bar who can’t even be ogled since people born while you were in high school are technically young enough to be your children.
I was reminded of traveling; when people ask: ‘Where are you from?’ I usually say, “’From really near Windsor,’ because when I say, ‘From Detroit’, there’s an awkward silence as they scramble for words, followed by the same look I suppose they’d have given someone staggering out of Hiroshima in August, 1945.
I remember one guy from Napa who stammered, “Oh. Gee. Well, I guess everybody has to be from somewhere…”
Likewise, Young Adults Born Between the Mid-Seventies and Y2K:
Gee, I guess everybody had to be born some year.
From my stuck-up cultural eyrie, I’m figuring that all the mid-Seventies had to offer was disco and a revival of the Fifties. The Eighties was nothing but Ronald Reagan—when ‘trickle down theory’ meant that rich people urinated on the heads of working stiffs. And the Nineties? Crack cocaine, wine coolers, Sally Jessie Raphael and unwatchable Saturday Night Live.
Honest to Pete, from these didactic wastelands come the torch-carriers, those brave young turks who no longer have to fear nuclear annihilation in the Cold War and have re-routed their collective angst to the potential for a zombie apocalypse. These are the souls who must carry wine appreciation into the future…
In an era where tap water comes from the store instead of the tap; where you can buy vodka in double espresso flavor, and a meal’s worth of wine buys you a DWI, that pathway is not only thorny but lined with state troopers. Still, thanks to web sites like www.pardonthatvine.com, wine writers like Jessica Yadegaran and crazy contests like NextGen Wine Competition for Millennial Wine Drinkers, the 70 million or so babies-of-the-baby-boomers are being taken by the hand and led gently away from Long Island ice tea and into Long Island syrah.
In fact, it’s the very PR folks at NextGen Wine Competition who’ve been bombarding me with emails— the cyber-generation’s equivalent of stalking, but that’s okay: if I have to be stalked by winos, I’d prefer they were nubile and market-savvy.
The contest is aimed at a bull’s eye: the competitive spirit of a group of young people mostly working ordinary jobs while requiring extraordinary technical accessories, like iPhones and multi-disc automotive CD changers for their entertainment-focused lifestyle. So, if you are, like, a winemaker who’s under thirty-five and have an extra $85 worth of disposable income, you might wanna send it, along with your entry, to firstname.lastname@example.org. A double blind tasting by a jury of your peers (literally; they’re mostly your age and include winemakers, sommeliers, wine writers and wine consultants) will determine medal winners and pass out prizes, which will included a listing on iPhone’s Gold Medal Wines app—which, no doubt, you have already subscribed to. Results will be given (or sold, more likely) to marketers eager to figure out exactly what kind of wine you’re making, purchasing and drinking in between all that Red Bull and Jones Soda, especially since your buying clout will soon rival that of my generation.
So do I feel old or what?…
Kids today, okay, I finally get it. But look around the checkout lanes these days, would you? All these mollycoddled, whining, snot-nosed Generation Z babies… Madonna mia; they dress like bums, they have no respect for their elders and their music…? Call that music?? That’s not music, it’s just a bunch of noise.
And worst of all, they are way too young for wine.