Young adult interaction with wine in the UK

Caroline Ritchie (Welsh Department for Hospitality, Tourism and Events Management, Cardiff School of Management, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC), Cardiff, UK)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Publication date: 8 February 2011



This paper aims to investigate how the 18‐ to 30‐age group currently interacts with wine in a variety of settings. It seeks to establish how young adults in the UK currently perceive, use, purchase and consume wine. This is the next generation of UK wine consumers.


A total of seven focus groups were held throughout England and Wales. Participants were between the ages of 18‐30 and consumed wine. A gender balance reflecting UK wine consumption patterns was maintained. One focus group was run to incorporate atypical young wine consumers.


Wine is for sharing but a bottle is too big for one person. This key result influences behaviours; younger adults may not buy wine, especially in the on‐trade, but with age this inclusivity increased consumption with partners and friends. Paradoxically, whilst the public image of wine remains as a civilised cultured beverage, it is often consumed during heavy drinking sessions in private situations. In addition, young adult consumers may not actually know how much they spend on wine, but use media to suggest suitable prices in public forums.

Research limitations/implications

The sample population used was small and may not be representative quantitatively. However, the use of focus groups enabled the gathering of significant qualitative data.

Practical implications

The 18‐ to 30‐age cohort is smaller than the 45 to 64s, who currently consume the most wine. Understanding how this population interacts with wine, identifying potential new markets, may enable the wine and hospitality industries to react effectively to their needs.


Understanding how young adults interact with wine rather than their parents will increase understanding of changing behaviours in relation to the social usage of wine.



Ritchie, C. (2011), "Young adult interaction with wine in the UK", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 99-114.

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