Wine Sales Spring Higher in April

Total sales, off-premise and DtC shipments experience solid gains during past month

by Andrew Adams
wines vines analytics off-premise sales

San Rafael, Calif.—Wine sales in all of the channels tracked by Wines Vines Analytics saw significant increases in April compared to the previous year, according to the latest Wine Industry Metrics report.

Total U.S. wine sales rose 6%; off-premise sales grew by 5%, and DtC shipments increased 9% over April 2015. The only key metric to decline was the Winery Job Index, though it should be noted that the index saw an abnormally high amount of activity last year in April.

Wines Vines Analytics data partner BW166 found total U.S. wine sales reached $3.4 billion in April, and the 12-month total grew by 4% to reach $38.3 billion. Consumer spending on all wines, including imports, came to around $55 million in April. “Table wine and sparkling wine growth is continuing to be driven by trading up,” said BW166 managing partner Jon Moramarco. “Dollar growth is in the mid-single digits, while volume growth only is in the low single digits.”

The off-premise sector as measured by Chicago-based market research firm IRI also enjoyed robust growth in April with monthly sales climbing 5% to $663 million and the 12-month total increasing 6% to $8.6 billion, in the multiple outlet and convenience stores monitored by IRI. Case volume rose to 8.6 million for domestic table and sparkling wine.

Chardonnay remains the most popular varietal on retail store shelves, and in the past 12 months through April 17, 2016, sales were highest in the $4 to $7.99 per bottle segment. While still the overwhelmingly largest sales category by volume, sales in this price segment declined by 2% from the same period a year ago.

The largest growth came at higher price points. Sales of bottles of Chardonnay priced $25 and up grew by 16%, and sales for those priced between $20 and $24.99 increased by 19% in the past 12 months.

Even with such robust growth, the two highest priced segments of Chardonnay sold in the IRI channels account for only about 5% of the total market.

The white variety accounts for a large share of the growing direct-to-consumer market as well. Chardonnay wines comprise more than half of the top white varieties shipped DtC and have triple the market share than the next most popular variety, Sauvignon Blanc. The most valuable price segment of Chardonnay shipped DtC (about $60 million) is priced between $20 and $39.99.

Overall, the DtC market continues to grow. April DtC shipments rose 9% higher than the previous year to hit $202 million, with the 12-month total also increasing 9% to $2.1 billion.

The Winery Job Index, which is derived from job postings to winejobs.com, fell 7% in April. It was a dramatic-looking drop but is more indicative of how high the index rose last year. In April 2015, the index shot up 34%, and the hospitality jobs subcategory jumped by 56%.

During the past month, postings for sales and marketing jobs grew by 14%, but winemaking and hospitality jobs declined. The 12-month total for the index remained positive at 8%.

Offers for domestic wines by flash websites continue to stay flat in 2016. Total offers in April fell 7%—from 554 to 513. So far only March has recorded a positive year-to-year change in total offers, and that was just 1%.

Last Bottle Wines held a special two-day sales drive that resulted in 128 offers for domestic wines, but that was not enough to push the monthly total higher than last year. The website did offer many high-priced wines, including an offer for a bottle of the Napa Valley cult wine Screaming Eagle at the flash price of $1,595.

The U.S. winery database also recorded a net increase of 491 (or 6% growth) over April 2015, bringing the total number of U.S. wineries to 8,826.

Currently no comments posted for this article.