Editors' pick: Originally published March 21.
Easter may be best known for its association with eggs, but it's also the third-biggest wine holiday on the calendar, trailing only Thanksgiving and Christmas. Tom Steffanci, president of Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, said the industry will be closely watching Millennial tastes this Easter season, now that the generation accounts for slightly over 40% of all wine consumed in the U.S.
"It used to be dominated by Baby Boomers. They were the largest consumers of wine for a long time," said Steffanci. "Millennials have recently passed their consumption, so Millennials are now drinking more wine than any other generation."
Deutsch focuses on the so-called "low-lux" market, ranging from $10 to $25 a bottle. The emergence of the low-lux market is clear, according to Steffanci. Total wine growth in dollar volume is up 6% in the past year, while wine volume growth for the low-lux segment is up 15%.
Steffanci said three wines consistently continue to grow both in popularity and in sales: New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, California Cabernet Sauvignon and Italian Pinot Grigio.
He said New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is up almost 20% in the last year. The best place for New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, in Steffanci's view, is Awatere Valley due to its slightly cooler climate and longer growing season.
As for domestic wines, he said California Cabernet Sauvignon has grown 9%, led by the Josh Cellars brand. In Steffanci's opinion, wine drinkers do not need to spend a fortune for a high quality California Cabernet Sauvignon.
Finally, Steffanci said Italian Pinot Grigio is up 7.5% the past year. The best place for Italian Pinot Grigio is Valdadige, in Steffanci's view. He added that consumers should look for "DOC" on the label, which stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata. DOC means it is produced in a specific region in Italy according to local traditions.