When is the last time you showered with a bottle of Dom Perignon?
If your answer is never, then you may be revealing your age.
Young people, it turns out, consider wine the perfect companion for all sorts of occasions — hiking, camping and yes, even showering. They may not have a wet bar in their bathroom just yet, but one thing is clear. They do not limit themselves to social convention when it comes to wine.
The millennials are the offspring of the baby boomers, ranging in age from 21 to 34, and they're making noise. Wine Road Barrel Tasting this month reflects that. More and more, the Saturday crowd is making the pilgrimage to Wine Country by bus and limo and is young, energetic, enthusiastic and yes, loud.
This demographic is credited with expanding the wine market, transforming wine culture and giving rise to the everyday wine drinker. Liz Thach of Sonoma State University decided to take a close look at them.
Thach, a professor of management and wine business, designed a survey to explore the whimsy of the millennials.
What does Thach consider the most surprising aspect of the 2011 survey?
"The wide number of new occasions that millennials have identified to drink wine, and many don't have anything to do with food," she said.
One millennial surveyed said: "I drink while reading my books to relax."
Another said: "I like to take a bottle of wine to share with friends when we go hiking — usually a gew?rztraminer, which I keep on ice so it's cold and sweet."
Just who are these youthful wine-loverswho are shifting the tectonic plates of the wine world?
Thach sums it up this way: "Optimistic. Very comfortable with technology/Internet. It is woven into their life. Achievement oriented, but also want to have fun and balance in life. Concerned with the environment, diversity and global issues. Willing to try wine from around the world."
The millennials consider wine and spirits an intellectual adventure, and they gravitate to late-night bars that have palate appeal. This is where you can best take the pulse of this population.
Bergamot Alley Bar in Healdsburg traffics in a young crowd, drawing in people like 29-year-old Kevin Reilly, the wine director at Cyrus restaurant.
"Kevin (Wardell) has done a great job creating a casual environment with a cool vibe .<TH>.<TH>.," he said. "Sometimes bubbles, a great glass of wine or an interesting microbrew can just be more appealing than canned beer or whiskey."
Reilly is particularly taken by the temperature-controlled room in the back that chills global wine treasures.
<NO1><NO><NO1><NO><NO1><NO><NO1><NO>Danielle Danko, 30, also has a curious palate. She was recently at Barndiva in Healdsburg sipping the cocktail "Why Be Mad," a concoction of Brown Butter Whiskey, fresh lime and Bundaberg Ginger Beer.
"I like this place because here the drink and food are a little more sophisticated," Danko said.
Bennett Larsen, Barndiva's service director, referred to Danko of San Francisco as a "weekend warrior" like many young visitors up from the city. "We seem to be more popular than ever with young out-of-towners from San Francisco, the Midwest, D.C., Japan and the East Coast."
Laura Carollo of Brooklyn, N.Y., is one such "young out-of-towner" who was recently roaming through Wine Country. Carollo, 29, decided to stop at Medlock Ames Tasting Room, which shares its building with Alexander Valley Bar. "My friends from San Francisco said it would make a great spot to end our day of wine tasting."