It is only day one of the Oregon Wine Symposium and I’m contemplating two insights from the first presentation:

1 – Just about the only way to raise your prices is to start a new brand/label;

2 – As Millennials are shopping up price, they are bringing their love of red blends and their attraction to genre labels – wines with striking images and imaginary stories – to their shopping.

Combine the two, and do Oregon wineries need to add new brands of higher priced wines to their SKUs that attract Millennials? And go against the current trend for higher priced wines to have subdued labels and marketing materials?

High end Oregon wine labels tend to have simple, elegant, even austere labels and the wines are marketed for their vineyard pedigree, winemaking expertise, and scores. But Millennials aren’t as into that.

Apothic and Menage a Trois, makers of two of Millennials’ favorite red wines, epitomize the marketing trend towards over the top labels, imagery, and storytelling. Apothic sells their “Red” using an “Apothic Alchemist” who promotes cocktails made with the wine. Menage a Trois uses equally intense imagery and stories for their “Thrillogy” wines and their “Indulgence” wine club.

Oregon winemakers – it is time to consider developing new higher end brands with the over the top labels, imagery, and storytelling Millennials love. Alchemists and all.