Generation Wine

07 December, 2017

Palmaz Vineyards: Enter the iron gates and climb the hill for a tech visit like no other. The biggest wow-factor of this two-hour tour comes when president Christian Palmaz leads groups, Indiana Jones-style, to the third level of the wine cave. The assembly of steel tanks suddenly looks like the war room of NORAD, as Palmaz flips on the computer to project colourful grids and diagrams that map each plot in a 360° panorama.

In the tasting salon rooms, the impure air has been sucked out and fresh oxygen is pumped in so that every guest’s olfactory senses are undistracted and undiluted.

Davis Estates: Only privileged wine club members and Davis Estate staffers summon open the steel double doors to the Cellarium by pressing their palm to a hand scanner. Inside the Cellarium, a glass pavilion with cathedral ceilings, secret tastings happen around a circular table beneath a chandelier festooned with 1,500 Swarovski crystals.


Tech, sustainability, story, experiences and chill zones are making Napa wineries sexier than ever to this educated breed, who are the first generation to have witnessed parents casually drinking wine at dinner. Now millennials are both winery owners and consumers, and public relations and marketing requires a radical approach and mindset. What wineries do next to lure these new drinkers is anybody’s guess.

Stewart Cellars’ co-owner Caroline Stewart Guthrie reveals one secret to business success. Since Stewart Cellars relies heavily on social media to draw attention, she demands that all uploads must be mind blowing and millennial centric. “The vineyard photos have been done to death,” she says.

“I post and so does my winemaker husband Blair. The other day he sent out a close-up picture of the juice during the fermentation process with white foam at the top.” This high resolution, in-your-face image resembles the top of a cup of coffee crowned with frothy milk. There were many “likes”, she says. It’s just another day in the world of cool social media marketing in Napa Valley.

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