Wine Industry Network’s Insider Series features thought leaders and influencers helping to shape and direct the wine industry. This edition (video above) features Dale Stratton, President of the Wine Market Council (WMC) who provides information about the role and mission of the organization, the important research projects WMC and how it provides value for their members.
“We see our role today as being the voice of the wine consumer, being out there understanding who the wine consumer is, what is different about them now then there used to be, and what are they going to look like,” says Stratton, “and then translating that information into usable insights that people in the wine industry can use to build and drive their business.”
The cornerstone of WMC research is their segmentation study, which they’ve been doing for 25 years to continually map US wine consumer trends and behavior. “We know there’s approximately 95 million wine drinkers in the country,” says Stratton. “25% of the population are occasionally wine consumers and 14% are high frequency wine consumers, and that 14% is so important to the industry. These are consumers that are drinking wine at least once a week, and these are the consumers that are driving the volume.”
They also produce studies building on that knowledge to better understand consumer preferences and shopping habits. Some of the projects originally slated for 2020 were put on hold due to the pandemic, but others, like online shopping habits, became even more relevant and valuable for the industry.
While Stratton sees challenges in the immediate future for wine, he also says that the pandemic has created some opportunities for the wine industry. “Things like people returning to a family meal, and even if that family meal is two people.” It is an additional possible occasion for having wine.