Off-Premise Wine Sales Grow by 6%
Average bottle price of domestic wines up by 21 cents in a year
Major U.S. food and drug stores sold more than 71 million cases of U.S.-produced wine for $5 billion, reported SIG, a Chicago-based market research firm. Case prices rose by $2.58 and the average bottle price reached $5.85.
The four-week performance in November 2012 vs. November 2011 lagged only slightly behind those numbers, growing 5% in dollars but staying flat in volume.
Chardonnay on top
Looking at the data by varietal, Chardonnay remained the biggest seller with $1.4 billion and a 22% share during 52 weeks. Cabernet Sauvignon was second with just under $1 billion. Merlot was a fairly distant third with $550 million and negative growth rate, while Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris had $497 million and, with a 9% growth rate, gained on Merlot.
Red blends enjoyed the fastest growth rate, 23%, of all major varietals and rose to sixth place in market share, behind fifth-place Pinot Noir, which also grew.
Merlot producers at the high end had some good news in terms of bottle price, as the medium-bodied red rose faster over the past year than any other major varietal in the $20-plus range. This runs counter to Merlot’s price performance in direct-to-consumer shipments. Top-end red blends also grew significantly in price, paralleling their performance in direct-to-consumer sales.
Washington wines grew 7% in value, and Oregon wines grew 9%—leading California wines, which nevertheless counted for 72% of the total market share. Imports claimed 20% market share, led by Italy and Australia in a near-tie.