Premium Boxed Wines Are Smoking Hot

3-liter category growing at 28%, while 5-liter value wines drop 2%

by Paul Franson
wine box sales premium value
Source: IRI
Sacramento, Calif.—Though bottles are still the most popular format for wine, premium wine in boxes is the fastest growing major format.

During the recent Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, Danny Brager of Nielsen Co. reported that Constellation Brands’ Black Box is ranked No. 3 and Delicato Family Vineyards’ Bota Box is No. 5 in year-to-year increases among wine brands. He also said that boxes of all sizes represent close to 20% of wine volume sold.

Nielsen has also reported that Bota Box’s 3-liter format is the No. 15 overall wine brand in the United States. The Bota Box brand is up 28%, growing seven times as fast as the total table wine category. Over the past five years, Bota has grown 139%, an average of seven times faster than the table wine category.

CEO Chris Indelicato of Delicato Family Vineyards said the winery sold 5 million cases of Bota Box wines in 2016.

Of course, the overall boxed wine volume includes larger 5-liter boxes such as The Wine Group’s Franzia and Gallo’s Peter Vella.

According to IRI sales data, which doesn’t include the whole market and varies from Nielsen, Franzia’ 5-liter value box was the third-largest brand with $337 million in sales for 12.3 million cases in the 52 weeks ending Jan. 17, but the increase was only 1.1%.

But sales of premium 3-liter boxes are growing much faster than 5-liter boxes.

Black Box Wines sold $163 million in premium boxes, up 28.5%    , and Bota Box sold $114 million, up 28.1%.

Vendange premium box wine hit $84 million, an increase of 12.2%.

Those are average prices per 750ml, which break down to $5.02 for Black Box, $4.77 for Bota Box and $5.58 for Vendange.

While the market for wines selling for less than $8 per bottle isn’t growing in general, it is growing for box wines.

Brager points out that 58% of the wine sold in glass bottles sells for less than $8, though that represents just over one third of the dollars spent on wine. He also said that 28% of table wine volume is in 1.5-liter or larger glass bottles or jugs.

Also, if premium boxes were included in the $4-$8 segment, that tier would reflect modest overall gains rather than a drop in sales around 3%.

According to IRI, total boxed wine sales for the 52 months ending Jan. 22 were $576 million, with $278 million for value wines value and $299 million for premium. However, the premium category grew at 24%, while the value slipped 1.9%.

Those represent 4% and 4.4% of the overall table wine market measured by IRI. It valued the table wine market for the 52 weeks ending Jan. 22 at $6.8 billion.

Sales of value wines are up 25.8% by dollars, while value boxes are down 2.8%.

The picture is even more dramatic for imported boxes, which represent a tiny amount of the market at present, with value boxes amounting to only $3 million in sales, down almost 20% over a year ago compared to premium imported boxes with $6 million of sales up 24%.

Of course, some of the domestic brands use imported wine in their offerings, including Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile and Malbec from Argentina for Black Box, among current offerings. In the past, Black Box has also included Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.

A number of producers offer popular red blends in the boxes, but the only true rosés (not white Zin) come from small imports. The other fastest growing wine category is sparkling, but that’s not compatible with bag-in-box packaging.

Posted on 02.07.2017 - 07:44:53 PST
Great article - so nice to see coverage of the premium imports in the box wine category! Boxx Cellars is a box wine only marketplace online offering a larger selection of box wines across the country. Hopefully we will see more imports and domestic artisan producers coming. Cheers!
Gregg Lamer