Total U.S. Wine Sales Stay Strong

Wine industry metrics report for July includes summer surge for DtC sales

by Andrew Adams
wine sales metrics
Source: bw166.com, Wines Vines Analytics. Domestic table and sparkling wine sales on and off premise.
San Rafael, Calif.—Solid wine sales growth in July came with a spike in direct-to-consumer wine shipments, according to the latest findings by Wines Vines Analytics.

Total U.S. wine sales increased 3% in July to reach $2.9 billion, and direct-to-consumer shipments rose by 23% to $82 million. The DtC growth is coming off a small base, as summer is the slowest period for wine shipments but still indicative of the segment’s strong and consistent growth overall. 

Total DtC shipments in July reached 236,452 cases by volume, and the 12-month value increased 12% to $2.14 billion based on the Wines & Vines/ShipCompliant model. 

Sales of domestic table wine and sparkling wine rose 3% in July from a year ago, while the 12-month sales total through July grew 4%, according to bw166.com.

Import sales growth beat domestic wine sales during the 12 months through July, growing 5% in value and garnering 34% market share. Imported packaged wine (excluding bulk imported) is up 6% by volume and up 4% by value over the past 12 months, said bw166.com founder Jon Moramarco.

Import growth slowing
However, he said this growth has decelerated over the past three months. Imported packaged wine from Italy represents 35% of all packaged imports by volume, while imported bulk wine from Chile represented 31% of all bulk imports by volume. Exported packaged wine for the last 12 months was down 5% by volume but up 3% by value, in the bw166.com data.

Chicago-based IRI recorded the biggest monthly increase in off-premise domestic wine sales since January. Off-premise sales rose 6% from the same period in 2015, and the 12-month total also increased 6%. The rise in volume during the four weeks ending July 10 was 3%, based on IRI’s multiple-outlet and convenience store data.

Red blends passed Sauvignon Blanc as the fastest growing major varietal or wine type during the past 52 weeks, according to IRI. In a similar case of red overtaking white, Cabernet Sauvignon’s growth rate overtook that of Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris.

Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon retained the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in varietal sales, according to IRI. Pinot Noir passed Merlot for the first time, however.

Cabernet Sauvignon still accounts for the largest share of DtC, but red blends and sparkling wines have the fastest growth in shipments. Sparkling wine sales shot up 85%, but from a much smaller base.

Hiring steady, flash offers down
Winery hiring activity stayed steady in July. The overall Winery Job Index, which is tied to job postings at winejobs.com, rose 3% for the month and 8% over the past 12 months.

The growth in job postings came from the sales side of the industry as the hospitality subcategory rose 14% over the previous year and sales and marketing job postings also grew 14%. Hiring for winemaking jobs increased by 2% over the previous year.

Offers for domestic wines on flash websites fell by 11%, and growth for the 12 months fell to zero (its lowest rate since December 2013). July’s 511 offers for domestic wines was 11% less than July 2015. 

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