Retail Wine Sales Spike in May

Easter boosts domestic wines 10% in dollars over 2010

by Jim Gordon
Syphony IRI Group
Off-premise domestic wine sales shot up in May this year, beating last year's dollar sales by 10% for the same four-week period.

San Rafael, Calif.—The four-week period ending May 15 was a hot one for off-premise wine sales. Dollar sales of domestic table wines grew 10% over the same four-week period last year, according to Symphony IRI Group, a Chicago-based market research firm. The unusually high spike in sales was partly due to Easter falling in the four-week period this year, while it came earlier in 2010.

Still, the longer measure of 52-week performance showed 6% growth in domestic table wine dollar sales, as measured by SIRI at major food and drug stores. In contrast, imported table wines barely grew over 52 weeks, just 1%.

Hottest price-points

Price-points at the top and the middle showed the highest growth rates for both four-week and 52-week performance. The priciest category SIRI measures, $20-plus, grew an amazing 37% over the same four-week period in 2011, presumably because people splurged on the fastest growing high-priced varietals to accompany their Easter ham: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Riesling. Cabernet Sauvignon led the $20-plus category in total dollar sales, however, followed closely by Chardonnay. Growth over 52 weeks for this whole price-category of domestic table wines was 21%.

The middle range of domestic table wines, priced from $8 to $10.99, grew by 15% over four weeks and by 11% over 52 weeks. Different varietals were the stars in this price category compared to the $20 wines. Red blends and/or Meritage wines spiked phenomenally by 62% in four weeks and 46% over 52 weeks.

Sparkling wines grow

May 15 also closed out a great four weeks of growth for sparkling wines, as domestics grew by 24% and imported bubbly by 32%. This shows that the winter holidays are not the only sparkling occasions. To demonstrate that growth in sparkling wines was not a total fluke caused by Easter, the 52-week rates were a healthy 6% growth for domestic fizz and an even stronger 10% for imports.

Imports command a much higher market share in sparkling wines than in table wines, according to the SIRI data. Over 52 weeks, 37% of bubbly sales were imports, while 63% were domestic. For table wines, the parallel numbers are 22% imports and 78% domestic.

Currently no comments posted for this article.