DtC Shipments Climb 12%; Total Wine Sales up 4%

All wine industry metrics stay positive through March

by Andrew Adams
wines vines analytics metrics dtc sales
San Rafael, Calif.—Direct-to-consumer (DtC) wine shipments increased by 12% over the previous year to reach $283 million in March.

The 12-month total also grew by 10% to surpass $2 billion as wine club shipments and the return of warmer weather helped fuel the seasonal increase in DtC sales.

Off-premise sales of domestic wines in IRI channels grew by 4% to total $654 million, while total U.S. sales of domestic wines also rose by 4% to nearly $3.4 billion. All of the other key wine industry metrics tracked by Wines Vines Analytics stayed positive through March.

DtC shipment volume reached 509,622 cases, which is more than double January’s total and 37% larger than February’s shipment volume of 370,732 based on data from the model by Wines & Vines/ShipCompliant.

This month, Wines Vines Analytics focused on shipments and sales by wineries in the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon and Washington. When it comes to DtC sales, Oregon wineries are pulling away from their neighbors to the north.

Oregon DtC shipments have risen steadily in value since 2013 and topped $100 million in the past 12 months, while Washington state’s shipments totaled two-thirds of that in value and have grown at a slower rate. The two states are much closer when it comes to the average bottle price per DtC shipment. Oregon Pinot Noir is the leader by value at $48.20, but Washington state Cabernet Sauvignon is pretty close at $45.50.

Washington and Oregon follow California as the second and third wine producers by value, respectively. Washington’s DtC shipments increased 8% over last year to reach $66 million, while Oregon’s rose by 12% to pass $102 million. Washington’s direct-shipped case volume was 163,887 in the past 12 months, while Oregon’s was 217,144

According to the Chicago, Ill.-based research firm IRI, off-premise sales growth of domestic wines has stayed at 4% for the past two months. The 12-month sales total came to $8.6 billion, which is 6% more than last year. Case volume increased by 1%.

Wine industry research firm BW166 reported the overall U.S. wine market grew 5% in the past 12 months to reach $38.4 billion.

The Winery Job Index, which is tied to listings on winejobs.com, rose 4% in March, and the 12-month total increased by 13%. The overall index reached its second-highest level since January 2007.

The hospitality and sales and marketing subcategories posted gains over last year in March. Hiring in winemaking is on the rise, as is expected, with the 2016 harvest approaching, but growth in that subcategory was not larger than in March 2015.

A four-month trend of dropping flash offers for domestic wines came to an end in March with a tiny increase. The total number of offers came to 467, which is just six offers more than the total in March 2015. The 1% increase in flash offers is the first positive year-to-year growth for flash offers since October 2015.

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