5 Things We Learned in May 2024

This month, the team at Areni Global was busy with the groundbreaking Inside La Place de Bordeaux podcast. In their spare time, these are the news items they took note of.

1. Brits are turning to tea

While it appears fewer younger people are drinking wine than the wine trade might hope, the baby boomers and GenX are keeping the ship steady, continuing to consume plenty of wine.

Or so we thought. A new report from the UK Tea and Infusions Association (UKTIA) says that “tea is trumping alcohol when it comes to what Brits are choosing to drink”.

“Overall, more than a quarter (28%) of those surveyed said they ‘often’ prefer a cuppa to an alcoholic beverage, while four in 10 (42%) said they choose tea over alcohol ‘sometimes’,” says Dr Sharon Hall, Chief Executive of the UKTIA. “As a result, seven in 10 (70%) Brits are passing up alcohol in favour of a cuppa at least some of the time.”

More than half of the 30-44 year-olds surveyed said they sometimes chose a cup of tea over a glass of wine, beer, or spirits.

But don’t panic just yet. Those words “at least some of the time” are doing a lot of heavy lifting. Please note that the staff at Areni also often choose tea (or coffee) over wine — particularly around breakfast time.

We also note the report says, “the least likely group to choose a cup of tea over a glass of wine or a beer were the 45-59-year-olds (64%), with 34% answering ‘sometimes’ and 30% saying ‘often’.”

GenX is still standing with us.

2. The US wine trade is taking action

The lure of tea aside, there’s no doubt the wine trade is worried about the lack of engagement from younger consumers, which appears to be a worldwide trend.

The Americans have swung into action, with several initiatives being reported in May.

First came news that the Wine Market Council (WMC) is launching a new study to “better understand younger and multicultural consumers”, in partnership with EthniFacts.

“When we surveyed our members, this topic was their number one priority,” said Dr. Liz Thach, MW, Wine Market Council President, said in a statement. “Members want to better understand younger and multicultural consumers and learn how to connect with them in a way that is authentic and engaging. Although there have been some improvements, the industry needs to make a cultural and strategic shift that reflects the reality of the world we live in.”

WMC will receive the final analysis and strategic takeaways by the fourth quarter of 2024.

California’s Wine Institute also told Meininger’s that it had “poured significant resources” into studying GenZ and younger Millennials and turning those insights into a campaign that will launch in the second half of the year.

Noted wine writer Karen MacNeil has also partnered with communications professionals Gino Colangelo and Kimberley Noelle Charles to form a company called COME TOGETHER—A Community For Wine LLC, which is “committed to creating and sharing positive, inclusive consumer information about wine and its historic role as a communal beverage”.

3. US government may call wine unsafe

Hopefully those campaigns will go some way to combating the extremely negative news that may be presented to US consumers — that no level of wine is safe to consume.

Tom Wark recently reported in his Fermentation newsletter that the upcoming US Dietary Guidelines, which are currently being revised, will recommend that “no amount of alcohol is acceptable for a healthy lifestyle”.

If this were to happen, the impact would be severe. There has been a steady drumbeat of negative messaging around alcohol and health in the last couple of years, and it’s already had an effect. In August 2023, a Gallup poll revealed that “39% say drinking in moderation is bad for one’s health, up 11 points since 2018”. 

Like what you are reading? Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to access new articles.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

4. Former model to launch rosé

At least one corner of the wine trade is still full of life: the rosé section. Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, former fashion model and wife of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, is the latest in a long line of celebrities to launch a rosé.

According to The Drinks Business, the rosé will be produced by “Château D’Estoublon, the Provence estate co-owned by Bruni-Sarkozy and her husband, as well as two other major parties”. To be called Roseblood d’Estoublon, it will hit US shelves this month.

Château D’Estoublon is a 300-ha estate, co-owned with former Domaines Barons de Rothschild CEO Jean-Guillaume Prats.

Bruni-Sarkozy joins the ranks of many other celebrities who have launched rosés, including Brad Pitt, John Bon Jovi, Cameron Diaz, Kylie Minogue and Sarah Jessica Parker. 

Nothing, it seems, can slow down the rosé juggernaut.

5. This gel stops mice getting drunk

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that scientists from ETH Zurich and Stanford have developed “a gel made from milk and iron that prevents mice from getting drunk too quickly. What’s more, the gel seems to help the rodents quickly shake off the effects of hangovers”

Or, as the authors of the Nature paper put it: “Administering the gelatinous nanozyme to mice suffering from alcohol intoxication significantly reduced their blood-alcohol levels (decreased by 55.8% 300 min post-alcohol intake) without causing additional acetaldehyde build-up.”

That’s great for the mice, but what about the rest of us? Unfortunately, the authors failed to include the recipe in their groundbreaking paper.

Additional Resources