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LA Winemaker Anthony Riboli on Millennial Wine Habits

By Christina Najjar | August 28, 2018 | Food & Drink

Anthony Riboli knows good wine. His family has been in the business for generations. The Riboli family amazingly began its prestigious legacy of winemaking in 1917 in downtown Los Angeles and has gone from strength to strength, growing and expanding. Indeed, the Riboli Family Wine Estates’ portfolio has since expanded to include multiple brands. The Maddalena brand was created to honor Maddalena Riboli’s passion of quality in winemaking and producing single-varietal wines from Monterey and Paso Robles counties. The brand embodies her fortitude, sophistication and unwavering vision. We sat down with Anthony Riboli to discuss how he has seen the industry change over the years, and more importantly, what you should be drinking right now!


You're a fourth generation winemaker. What's been the biggest change in the industry you’ve seen?
AR: Being in a fourth-generation winemaker, I’ve seen a fair share of things changing within the industry as a whole, but I would say consolidation is the biggest change to date. Consolidation from within the winery and on the wholesale side of the business has changed tremendously—the trend also appears to be starting more on the vineyard side as well.

We’ve also seen a steady amount of millennials starting to take interest in wine and taking the time to have wine-filled happy hours, dinners and weekend plans. As millennials become more knowledgeable about wine, I think we will see even more of the demographic take interest in particular varieties they like.

People think of Napa as the California winemaking hub—what do you love about LA?
AR: I was born and raised in Los Angeles my whole life. Being the oldest winery in LA, we have had incredible support from our loyal Angeleno customers for over 101 years! Urban wineries are now very hip, we see so many popping up around the country in major cities such as NY, NJ, Boston, Chicago and of course here in LA. At this time, we no longer grow our grapes in the LA area as we have found that the grape quality is better in Paso Robles and Monterey and enhances the quality of our San Simeon, Maddalena and San Antonio winery wines. I love LA area because of its proximity to great grape growing areas like Paso Robles and Monterey, it proves that Napa and Sonoma, although great, are not the only exclusive areas to grow amazing grapes. The LA area has been beyond supportive to San Antonio Winery and I absolutely love the people who have supported us all these years.

What's the most interesting thing you’ve found about Millennial wine drinking patterns?
AR: Over the course of the last year, we’ve seen a lot of millennials drinking much more wine. According to 38.7 percent of Americans aged 21 to 29 years-old stated they drink red wine regularly, and a whopping 49.3 percent of Americans aged 30 to 49 years-old drink red wine regularly. Between the two groups, we see Americans are having more of an affinity for wine and red wine in particular.

The one thing I’ve noticed is that millennial wine drinkers are not as brand loyal. They often switch brands or try wines based on what best fits their price range. Also, millennials are also not loyal to one alcohol type throughout the course of one night. Wine, spirits, and beer are all consumed, sometimes in the same night: a beer before dinner, wine at dinner, a few cocktails after dinner. I think what we are seeing with millennials when it comes to wine, is the spillover from the rosé wine category really seeing gains with the millennial drinker. As the varietal has seen more play in recent years with the rise of photos on Instagram and celebrity-driven rosé brands, more and more millennials are willing to drink wine and explore different varietals. Wine is a nice option for millennials who try to drink less due to health and lifestyle changes.

What type of wine is best for Millennials to splurge on, versus what's ok to buy in a less expensive bracket?
AR: I always say there is never a specific varietal to splurge on per say, but if I were a millennial, I would suggest establishing a budget for wine. If you have enough money to spend $15 on a bottle of wine, go to your local wine store and let them know what your budget is, figure out what types of wines you like and don’t like and ask an expert in the store to find something that not only suits your palate but your budget as well.

Summer is coming to a close, what should everyone be drinking now and going into fall?
AR: Rosé is my personal favorite for the close of summer—it’s great for those last few warm days and actually works well into the Fall months. However, for those who want to switch to a whole new wine category, I like to suggest Zinfandel once the weather becomes more fall-like and cools down.

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