U.S. Winery Count Passes 8,000

Wines Vines Analytics reports Oregon wineries grow fastest

by Andrew Adams
Direct-to-consumer shipments from U.S. wineries reached $78.4 million in August, representing a 17% rise from August 2013.
San Rafael, Calif.—As domestic wine sales continue growing, the number of U.S. wineries has just passed 8,000 for the first time. Wines Vines Analytics counted 8,049 wineries as of Sept. 1 and reported that Oregon saw the largest percentage increase in wineries during the past year.

The new winery total is part of the latest wine industry metrics report that also found direct-to-consumer shipments in August rose 17% in value over the previous 12 months, and off-premise sales in the most recent four-week period increased 5% to $558 million. For all the August metrics and more analysis, visit winesandvines.com/metrics

Oregon winery growth
The number of Oregon wineries in the database grew by 10% from 550 wineries in September 2013 to 605 this year. Virtual wineries, or those that produce wine at a bonded host facility, increased by 19%, and bonded wineries grew by 6%. The new Oregon wineries are located throughout the Willamette Valley. Many of the new virtual wineries fall in the limited production category of less than 1,000 cases, while many of the new bonded wineries produce between 1,000 and 4,999 cases.

While the number of Oregon wineries is growing quickly, the entire state still has fewer wineries than California’s Sonoma County, which now is home to 782 wineries. Napa County’s winery total has increased to 1,040, which accounts for 27% of California’s 3,798 total wineries. For the U.S. as a whole, wineries grew by 403 producers, or 6%.

The Wines Vines Analytics winery database includes all unique bonded and virtual wineries. Bonded wineries are licensed by the TTB; many bonded wineries have multiple TTB permits. These additional bonded production or storage locations under the same management are not considered unique wineries and are not included in the counts.
A virtual winery has a unique physical location (that may be another entity’s winery), produces at least one brand (may have multiple brands and/or produce for others) and has its own winemaker and management (may share either of these with another entity).

The Wines Vines Analytics winery count excludes wineries that are no longer viable (but may remain on TTB’s records) and excludes bonded facilities that produce non-wine products such as beer, spirits and hard cider.

Wines Vines Analytics will release its annual count in January 2015.

DtC posts new 12-month high
DtC shipments from U.S. wineries reached $78.4 million in August, which is a 17% increase from August 2013. The 12-month total rose by 10% through August for a new high of $1.69 billion, according to the Wines & Vines/ShipCompliant model.

For this month’s report, Wines Vines Analytics focused on Cabernet Sauvignon. In the DtC channel, the Cabernet Sauvignon segment was the largest in sales and the fastest growing during the 12 months through August. Cabernets shipped direct to consumers, and those priced at $100 and up grew 18% from the previous year and totaled $198 million.

In the off-premise channel, Cabernet sales gained $121 million in the most recent 52 weeks, and sales in all price segments higher than $5 per bottle saw increases. The largest sales growth came in the $11 to $14.99 category, which increased 23% and totaled an additional $54 million in the multiple-outlet and convenience stores monitored by market research company IRI, based in Chicago, Ill.

For all types of domestic wine, off-premise sales during the past 12 months grew 6% more than the same period in 2013, IRI reported.

Flash offers up from special sales events

During the past 12 months through August 2014, there were 1,545 offers for Cabernet Sauvignon wines by all of the flash websites, which sell wines at steep discounts for a limited amount of time. Cabernet comprised a full quarter of the 6,310 total flash offers from that 12-month period; Napa County accounted for more than half of all the Cabernets offered. Nearly three-fourths (or 1,107) of all the Cabernet wines had flash prices lower than $40, with 598 offers priced between $5 and $19.

Special sales events during the Labor Day weekend pushed the total number of offers for domestic wines in August to 601, which is 64% more than during the same time the previous year and 24% higher than in July.

Hiring led by winemaking, hospitality jobs

Winery hiring activity was 12% higher in August than the previous year, according to the Winery Job Index, which is published by winejobs.com. Two of the three subcategories of the index also stayed higher than in August 2013.

Hospitality job postings increased by 25%, and winemaking rose by 24%. The marketing job subcategory, however, dropped by 32% to hit its lowest point of the year.

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