Pinot Noir and Zinfandel were the hottest varietals in DtC shipments over the past 12 months in terms of rate of change in sales. Cabernet Sauvignon remained the most popular varietal in the channel. It grew, too, but only at 5% from a bigger base. Its family members from Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, were the two fastest sinking varietals. Note that winners and losers vary by sales channel. Syrah/Shiraz fell the fastest at retail and was also a tough sell among flash sales. Red blends in DtC grew by 14%, reflecting a similar trend at stores, where they were the hottest thing around, selling 26% more this year.
A substantial drop in the Winery Job Index as harvest began was the only negative movement in our Wine Industry Metrics for September. Hiring activity dipped for all three job types measured by Winejobs.com, but hospitality jobs dropped the furthest at 25%. Winemaking jobs eased off by 5%, and sales and marketing jobs were down 14%. Direct-to-consumer shipments enjoyed a month of swiftly increasing sales as the most popular time of year for wineries to ship arrived. Sales took a seasonal bump, and they also improved upon September 2011 by 36%. The news for U.S. wine sales in stores was good, too, growing 7% from a year ago.