Latinos and Wine: From the Farm to the Table

- Wine and the Latino Century -

This is an exciting time in Texas and California for what some are calling the Latino Century. Long the backbone of the agricultural work force, economic advances, be it ever so slowly, are finding middle-class Latinos looking to fitness and the food/wine culture as pursuits towards healthy lifestyles.

In Texas the dominant religion has shifted from Southern Baptist to Roman Catholic, and along with the cultural taboos surrounding wine and spirits are dislodging.

Some experts attribute it to the influx, the movement of the populations from Central America and Mexico to Border States like California and Texas. Those are subjects for economists and demography experts, but the reality on the ground is that Latinos, whether they be from Mexico or Central America, are embracing wine.

Several blogging colleagues have written about this recently, Russ Kane and Jeff Siegel. Excerpts below:

Russ Kane writing in the popular Vintage Texas blog:

Part of what’s pushing the increase in consumption is sheer demographics. Hispanics accounted for more than half of the U.S. population increase over the last decade. The other factor: a socioeconomic and cultural shift among the more established Latino generations. More at: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/7585239.html

Natalia Kolyesnikova, assistant director of the Texas Wine Marketing Research Institute told attendees at this year’s meeting of the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association in March that the institute last year conducted a preliminary study, convening three focus groups to answer questions about how, when, where and why Hispanic consumers drink wine. The responses were diverse, suggesting that the state’s Hispanic population IS NOT  a monolith.

Read Russ’s complete post HERE

Wine Curmudgeon Jeff Siegel laments the old-school approach to marketing wine to Hispanics:

Wine’s new demographic: The Wine Curmudgeon, in one of his other lives, used to write a lot about marketing, and marketing in the past decade meant selling products to the U.S.’ fastest-growing ethic group, Hispanics. (Ask me why so many Spanish-language ads have grandmothers in them.) So what’s the newest advice for wine markets? Target Hispanics. Better late than never, I suppose. Of course, since the wine business does such a lousy job of marketing to everyone, why should we expect it to be current in this phase of its approach?

Before she left Texas for the cooler shores of the Pacific Northwest, Hanna Raskin of the Dallas Observer noted in March that Texas wineries are looking into marketing to local populations as well:

Hispanics represent a growing share of Texas’ wine drinking population, but wineries are still grappling with how to pitch their products to them.

“No information is available about the Hispanic wine market,” Natalia Kolyesnikova, assistant director of the Texas Wine Marketing Research Institute told attendees at last week’s annual meeting of the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association.

The institute last year conducted a preliminary study, convening three focus groups to answer questions about how, when, where and why Hispanic consumers drink wine. The responses were wildly diverse, suggesting wine sellers err in treating the state’s Hispanic population as a monolith.

Major wine companies have already begun marketing to Hispanic drinkers, and Texas wineries are eager to emulate them. According to Kolyesnikova, Hispanics represent 14 percent of the state’s wine market, and that number’s expected to increase. While only 12 percent of Hispanics consumed domestic table wine in 1998, 22 percent of Hispanics did so in 2003.

Read Hanna’s full post HERE

Nielsen Reports say the Latino population in the USA looks like this, reinforcing that this is not a monolithic population with a monolithic solution:

With cities like Laredo that are 94% Latino and El Paso which is 89% Latino and San Antonio which is 58% , Texas is at the forefront of the Latino Century and wine. And wine is going to play a big part in the developing population in Texas and the USA. The real question is if wine and spirit marketers can rise out of the old cliche’s to reach these newer, more diverse populations and keep them coming back week after week, year after year.

 

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