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Nipping at our Heels

Generation_y As a member of Generation X (and on the younger side of the demo, at that), I continue to read about the 77M strong that is Generation Y.  In fact, my new bride is the first year of those that are, by definition, Generation Y—born after 1977.  She is 28.

While I was in Vegas dining with a customer at a trade show, we were talking wine.  The customer in question was my parents age and had kids my age.  He was suitably impressed when I knew that Parker was from Maryland, where he lived, and we continued to have a lengthy conversation about wine—the kind that he enjoyed (French) and the kind that I enjoyed (California and non-French wines).

My dining companion started drinking and learning about wine when he was in his late 30s.  I, on the other hand really started when I was in my early to mid-20s.

We both, generationally, started at an average time.

This just in ... if there is any doubt that Generation Y is going to change the rules of the game regarding wine and its consumption.

Whiz Kids
Despite being younger than some of the wines they pour, youthful sommeliers are energizing the Bay Area dining scene

- Amanda Berne, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, February 2, 2006

Many people’s 21st birthday includes a tour of bars and praying to the porcelain god at the end of the night.

Mark Bright’s 21st birthday bestowed an honor that would shape the rest of his life: He became a sommelier at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas.

Chicago-born Bright, now 23 and a sommelier at Michael Mina restaurant in San Francisco, is just one of many young wine pros who are flooding the Bay Area restaurant scene, uncorking their enthusiasm, eagerness and ever- expanding knowledge for the wining and dining public.

In a time of easy information, these youthful oenophiles are soaking up tips from mentors, books, travel and the Internet, as more restaurants push wine service as a necessity.

Beyond restaurants, Bay Area wine and specialty stores aren’t shying away from youth, either, squashing the notion that wine knowledge has only accumulated in those with gray hair. Jeff Porter, 28, is the bottle shop and beverage category manager at Bay Area supermarket chain Andronico’s, giving him the decision-making power for all 10 of its stores.

So, if it wasn’t bad enough that these guys are coming out of school making a ton more money then Generation X, they are supplanting them in jobs—now, albeit its a Sommelier gig at a restuarant, but just the same ...

Though, truth be told, I wish I would have thought of it coming out of school ...


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