February 2013 Issue of Wines & Vines
 
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Off-Premise Sales Up 6% in 2012

Boxes and aseptic pouches were the fastest growing categories of the year

 
by Jim Gordon
 
 
wine industry metrics
 
wine industry metrics
 
Retail sales continued to increase in December, finishing a year of 6% growth for domestic table wines and passing the $5 billion mark. Revenues in December 2012 (always the biggest month of the year) beat the same month in 2011 by 4% and reached 6.3 million cases, according to the Symphony IRI Group (SIG).

Imports dropped by 0.5% in 2012 and held 20% market share at the major food, drug and liquor stores analyzed by SIG. Wines at $20-plus continued to enjoy the fastest growth of any bottled wines. They gained 11% in December versus a year ago and jumped 15% for the year. The absolute fastest growing categories in 2012 were boxed wines at $3.50 per 750ml and above (which increased by 30% for the year) and wines in aseptic pouches, which rose by 29%.

The biggest price segment in dollars was $8-$10.99, with just over $1 billion. The category’s growth rate of 10% was instrumental in keeping the overall sales trend up for domestic wines.

A look at the varietal lineup including both domestic and imported table wines shows that Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon stayed on top in 2012. Chardonnay grew by 3% to nearly $1.4 billion. Cabernet grew twice as fast to just under $1 billion.

No. 3 Merlot was the only major varietal to shrink in sales, dropping by 6%. The success story of red blends/Meritage wines stood in contrast, as sales rose 22% and approached the size and average bottle price of Pinot Noir.

 
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