San Rafael, Calif.—
Off-premise sales of domestic table wine shot up 11% in April over last year, largely due to a very positive Easter holiday. This high growth rate in the four-week period ending April 15 also lifted the 52-week growth rate to 8%, according to Wines & Vines’ analysis of Symphony IRI
Easter is the only major holiday that falls in different months from year to year, and it has become a wine-drinking occasion for Americans, so its effect on monthly sales data is very dramatic. In 2011, Easter was celebrated April 24, about as late as it gets, while this year it came April 8. SIRI takes its data from major U.S. retail stores every four weeks (13 times per year), rather than by calendar months.
Easter sales this year were recorded in the four weeks ending April 15, during which domestic table wine sales hit $384 million. The similar period in 2011 was Easter-less, and wine sales then grew only 2%. So, this year’s four-week growth of 11% reflects not only the presence of Easter this year, but also the absence of it last year.
Domestic bubbly up 27%
Sparkling wine benefited especially during the spring holiday period, as domestic bubbly soared 27% over last year. Sales totaled $20.5 million in the big food and drug stores where SIRI, a Chicago-based market research firm, reviews check stand scan data. Imported sparkling wine brought in $12.7 million and grew at 31%.
The Easter effect on domestic sparkling wine sales brought retailers an extra $4.3 million. The Easter effect on domestic table wine improved sales by an impressive $39 million.
Sales for the 52 weeks ending April 15 gave a longer view on what’s hot and what’s not. Most of the fastest growing price/varietal segments were in red wines. The biggest single price segment was for wines at $8-$10.99, and the fastest growing types in this range are red blends/appellation of origin wines that rose 54% over last year and red blends/Meritage wines that grew 48%.
High-end Cabernet grows
Cabernet Sauvignon grew by 24% in the $15-$19.99 segment and by 35% in the $20-plus range. Red Zinfandel only sold about one-tenth as much as Cabernet, but it grew at the dramatic rates of 24% for $15-$19.99 wines and 29% for $20-plus wines.
The other fast-growing reds in the top price tier were Pinot Noir and red blends/Meritage, both at 40%. Some whites also grew dramatically. Sales of Chardonnay at $20-plus increased by 22% and Sauvignon Blanc by 27%.