Social Media

How wine on Instagram became the aspirational lifestyle choice du jour

Social media has completely changed the way we look at food and drinks. The adage ‘you are what you eat’ has taken on new meaning in the times of Instagram Reels and Pinterest boards.

Like other lifestyle displays, such as fashion and travel, how we present our kitchen shelves and dining tables to the world has become an indicator of our lifestyle, status, and even personality.

The fine wine aesthetic is a social media favourite in 2022

Fine wines have also been riding the wave of social media popularity for a while, and with good reason. The average engagement rate for alcohol-oriented posts is the highest on Instagram at 1.53%, whereas it is only 0.14% and 0.08% for Facebook and Twitter.

Wine on Instagram used to look like a glass of sparkling next to a bubble bath or a Boomerang of a bunch of glasses being clinked in the air. Now it is so much more.

The historic elitism of wine and its modern popularity

Wine has a certain amount of elitism attached to it. Historically, in the UK, it conveyed high elitism since it had to be imported for the rich and the powerful – unlike beer. Later, in the 1960s, wine started to become popular among a wider set of people but continued to be an expensive status symbol.

Over the years, wine has become more accessible, available, and affordable. Now Instagram has further democratised the way people consume wine.  With food bloggers, wine writers, sommeliers, and wine enthusiasts sharing user-generated content about fine wine trends, wine tasting, pairing, and drinking, the world of wine has opened up for the masses. Social media has turned the guarded and dated language of fine wines into something contemporary and attractive.

With the wine world’s takeover of social media, the young and upwardly customer has entered the folds of the wine community. The world of fine wines is now available for exploration at the click of a key.

But vestiges or new iterations of the historic elitism of wine, although muted, continue to be part of its modern identity. This adds to the visual aesthetics of wine’s modern popularity, elevating it to an aspirational lifestyle choice.

The visual aesthetic of wine on Instagram

This idea is further propagated by wine influencers on Instagram showcasing curated flatlays and tablescapes, inspiring their followers to replicate their picture-perfect content. The aesthetic of wine on Instagram is a powerful language that has been inspiring a stream of viral trends, reels (think sabering champagne with a glass), and hashtags (#sommlife #wineanddine).

Restaurants, cafes and bars around the world now market themselves as ‘Insta-worthy’, recognizing the immense influence of the social media channel on customer choices. 

Research has studied social media users based on their wine-related interaction and posts with #winelovers hashtag on Instagram. Two out of four distinct consumer segments identified either drank wine in order to express their aspiration for a better social status, or they drank way to affirm their lifestyle and social status.

Experts agree that wine on Instagram has become part of the aspirational lifestyle, like breakfast in Parisian cafés and rose gold home accents. Some refer to it as a form of ‘virtue signalling’, comparing it to the drink equivalent of a New Yorker tote bag. It is a layered choice and a lifestyle indicator that says more about the person in one Instagram post or story than lines of text could.

Branding the bubbly as an aspirational lifestyle choice

Social media can generally induce envy by making everyone’s else’s filtered lives appear glossy and out of reach. It is an ideal platform to perpetuate the delicious and indulgent appeal of fine wines. Marketers, influencers, and brands understand this and leverage it. For example, champagne is immensely successful on Instagram among the affluent and the ambitious. Its aura of romance and luxury is a seamless fit for Instagram.

No wonder brands like Perrier-Jouët, Veuve Clicquot, Bollinger, and Krug have blossomed on Instagram by crafting a new and improved visual around images of fizz-filled flutes, sun-soaked vineyards, and private parties. Charles Krug, for example, is one of Napa’s oldest wineries that has adopted Instagram to sell their sleek aesthetic through wine country lifestyle and exotic vacation imagery. Followers often convert to customers just to be part of the experience.

The popular choice of wine, like fashion, can change based on social trends. But whatever be the grape in your glass, the appeal of drinking it in the sun and fantasizing of a glamorous lifestyle is eternal. It is a bonus when you can capture the moment and share it in a 9:16 aspect ratio.


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