Italian Wine and Generation X – A Growing Love Story

The pandemic brought a lot of changes to the Italian wine industry.

There are obvious changes, of course. Producers had to alter how they make their wines for a while. We also saw plenty of interesting developments in the wine tourism sector, especially with the introduction of virtual technologies. Plus, global wine logistics had to adapt to make it possible for consumers and retailers to maintain access to the wines they love.

But perhaps the most interesting thing about the pandemic’s effect on Italian wine lies in how it has changed the buying habits of consumers.

Nowhere is this more apparent than with recent statistics about Generation X.

According to several reports, almost 46% of all wines purchased between 2019 and 2021 went to people from Generation X. This is followed by 30% for millennials and just 1.1% for Generation Z.

What does this tell us?

The simple message is that Generation X is clearly the group that Italian wine producers should be marketing their products to. And in this article, we’re going to explore some of the reasons for this. But first, let’s find out a little more about this generation of consumers.

Who Are Generation X?

Generation X is the term that is loosely applied to people who were born at any point between the mid-1960s and early-1980s. They followed on from the Baby Boomer generation, with much of early 1990s culture being defined by this generation. The rise of Grunge music, for example, was influenced by the cultural changes brought forward by this interesting generation.

Right now, approximately 65 million people belong to this generation in the United States alone, with many millions more around the world. People in this generation are typically approaching the middle of their careers and are usually in their peak earning years. Interestingly, Generation X is also the first generation in recorded history to be on track for being worse off than their parents were.

Why are we telling you all of this?

Hidden within this description are some of the reasons why Generation X is buying more wine online than any other.

The Age Factor

Age plays a role in Italian wine purchases.

As much as younger people are slowly moving towards wine, the fact is that most millennials and Generation Z members tend towards drinks that are intended for a younger audience. These include beer and the many spirits that are used for mixers in bars. For these generations, drinking is still very much a social activity, meaning it is comparatively rarer for them to spend time at home enjoying a glass of wine.

Generation X, on the other hand, is the perfect age for appreciating Italian wine.

Most members of this generation are in their 40s or 50s, meaning they don’t go out to drink with friends as often as they did when they were younger. And even when they do, they are more likely to visit wine and cocktail bars than they are to go to clubs. Wine, being a more refined drink than what many consumers in their younger years drink, is the ideal choice for people in this age group.

Of course, this extends to the home. While it would be false to say that Generation X members no longer enjoy beers and spirits, as that is certainly not the case, it is fair to say they develop a greater appreciation for the complexity and history that Italian wines bring to the table.

It sounds a little like we’re making the argument that Italian wine is for older people here.

That is not the case.

However, with maturity comes a renewed respect for the effort that goes into making wine. And right now, Generation X is at the point where that maturity is peaking, likely leading to more people from this generation buying wine.

The Online Component

Notice that the 46% mentioned earlier covers online sales.

That’s an important point.

It would seem to most that millennials and Generation Y would be buying more Italian wine online than those from the generations that came before. After all, millennials saw the rise of online technologies during their childhoods while Generation Y and beyond were raised with the web simply being a part of their lives.

Generation X grew up before the internet existed.

However, it’s unwise to assume that they would not adapt.

After all, Generation X has observed the evolution of the internet too. During its early days, this was the generation that adopted the web and made it popular. If you’re a millennial, it was your Generation X parents who brought the internet into your home and learned, along with you, about what it was and how it could be used.

So, Generation X is as in tune with the internet as a concept as younger generations, even if they do not use the internet for the same purposes.

For this generation, the internet represents convenience and choice. It allows them to access a world outside of their own so they can enjoy experiences they wouldn’t otherwise have.

And that’s where wine comes in.

With Generation X already being at the perfect stage of maturity to enjoy Italian wine in ways that younger generations don’t just yet, the perfect storm of maturity and online access makes it natural that this generation would buy more wines online.

This is the first generation that adopted internet usage into their lives. In many cases, Generation X governed access to the web for younger generations until they were ready to adopt it themselves. It stands to reason that this would also be the generation that makes the most use of the web when buying a product that it enjoys more than other generations.

The Final Word

What does the future hold for Italian wine online?

In the immediate future, we’re going to see even more Generation X’ers using the web to buy wine. But we’re also going to see the maturity mentioned in this article begin to take place with millennials, Generation Y members, and those who come after. Eventually, their percentages will rise as they develop the same taste for Italian wine that Generation X has. And when it does, Xtrawine will be here to serve them, as it is for Generation X right now. Whether you’re buying wine online for the first time or you’ve already bought plenty of bottles, Xtrawine’s collection is sure to have something that you’ll enjoy.


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