Top 10 Locations to Reach Affluent and Highly Educated Millennials

By Chris Bitter, Vintage Economics

· Demographics,Wine Consumers,US Wine Market,Millennials

Affluent, highly educated millennials (AHEMs), which I define as millennial households with college degrees and incomes of $125,000 or more, represent a growing force in the wine market. They are far more likely to purchase wine than their less educated and less affluent counterparts and spend substantially more when they do. They are still in the early stage of their wine careers and will move upmarket as they age, so they represent an alluring target market for wineries.

Millennials comprise 26% of US households, but fewer than one in five millennial households qualify as an AHEM. Of importance to wine marketers, AHEMs tend to flock to particular types of metropolitan areas (generally large high-tech and financial centers) and cluster together in enclaves within them.

The list below shows the 10 locations with the highest concentrations of AHEMs in the US. These figures are based on my analysis of microdata from the US Census Bureau, which divides the nation into 2351 microdata areas with populations typically ranging between 100,000 and 150,000.

This table shows the top 10 locations to find affluent and highly educated millennials

The top spot in the nation is located in northwest Santa Clara County California, which sits at the heart of Silicon Valley. AHEMs comprise one third of all households in this area – nearly seven times the national average (the concentration index is measured relative to the national average, which is rescaled to a value of 100).

Nine of the top ten are situated within large coastal urban regions, including four in the New York market, three in the San Francisco Bay area, and one a piece in Seattle and Washington DC. The lone exception can be found within the heartland metropolis of Chicago. Nonetheless, sizeable pockets of AHEMs exist inside major metropolitan areas throughout the country including Denver, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston, and there are a few in mid-sized metros such as Austin and Raliegh-Durham North Carolina.

AHEM enclaves represent a compelling opportunity for wineries to engage with high-value millennial wine consumers. Of course, this demographic isn’t the primary target market for all brands. Most other consumer segments of interest to wine tend to cluster together too – and each has a unique geographic footprint.

Vintage economics helps brands to identify markets and submarkets with high concentrations of their unique target market as well as areas with attractive wine consumer bases in general. Visit our website at or contact Chris Bitter to learn more.


Chris Bitter

















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