Eye-Catching Names Lead Top 20 New Wine Brands

Wine Industry Metrics show off-premise sales up 5% in February, DtC shipments up 22%

by Wines & Vines staff
wines & vines industry metrics
San Rafael, Calif.—Fresh brands with provocative names like Skinnygirl, Ooh La La and Stark Raving made the Top 20 New Table Wine Brands of 2012, as selected by the Symphony IRI Group (SIG). At least half a dozen appeared to be targeting female consumers, while only one new “critter” brand—Curious Beasts—made the top 20 this year.

The Top 20 New Table Wine Brands are featured as one aspect of Wines & Vines' March 15 update of Wine Industry Metrics at winesandvines.com. The fastest selling new brands and the Top 30 Momentum Brands of 2012 come from SIG, based on off-premise sales at food, drug and liquor stores across the United States.

Other indicators of the wine industry’s health in February, as covered in Wine Industry Metrics, include direct-to-consumer shipments, up 22%; winery job activity, also up 22%; and flash reseller offers, down 7%. An array of tables, charts and analysis is available now at winesandvines.com/metrics.

Regarding the hottest new brands, wine companies other than the big three—E. & J. Gallo, The Wine Group and Constellation Brands—launched the top four brands out of 20. Skinnygirl by Beam Global ranked No. 1 and led No. 2 Be wines from Treasury Wine Estates by more than $1.5 million cases, according to the Chicago-based market research firm.

Symphony IRI group Momentum brands
SIG’s special report on the Top 30 Momentum Table Wine Brands of 2012 also came out in February and included familiar names such as Cupcake Vineyards (Wine Group) repeating at No. 1, 14 Hands (Ste. Michelle Wine Estates) at No. 2 and Barefoot (E. & J. Gallo) at No. 3.

To create the Momentum Brands list, SIG started with the top 250 brands by volume from their total U.S. multi-outlet results for 52 weeks ending Jan. 6, 2013, and created a power ranking based on 11 criteria. (See winesandvines.com/metrics to view the full list.)

Off-premise sales of domestic table wines in February continued their long-term growth trend, hitting 5% growth in value for the month vs. a year ago and measuring 6% up for the past 12 months. In February 2012 the 12-month growth rate was 8%.

February DtC shipments accelerate
Wine shipped directly to consumers made the biggest February sales increase in at least three years, according to the Wines & Vines/ShipCompliant model. Growth in value rose 22%, while growth in volume grew 15%, indicating higher prices than a year ago. February is becoming more popular as a shipping month, as evidenced by the accelerating growth rates of 5% in February 2011, 12% in February 2012 and 22% in February 2013.

wines & vines industry metrics
Half the money spent on direct-to-consumer shipments in the past 12 months went toward the highest priced wines at $50-plus per bottle, and only 11% on the least expensive, priced under $20 per bottle. The results tend to underscore the value of an active wine club and other direct shipments for domestic wineries. These dollar share numbers contrast sharply with sales by flash sites. Of those, 51% of sales involved wines at less than $20.

Winery hiring activity spikes
The index for job postings by wineries in February increased 22% from February 2012, reported Winejobs.com. In the sub-categories of winery jobs, the tasting room/hospitality index increased 33% from February 2012 and is up 29% for the year. The winemaking jobs index increased 34% from February 2012 and is up 19% year-to-date. The sales and marketing job index increased 8% from February 2012 but is down 8% year-to-date.

Bargain offers lead flash sales
Flash reseller offers went down 7% in February vs. a year ago but were still up by 19% during the past 12 months total. Wine flash sites are living up to their claims of offering deep discounts. During the 12 months through February, a quarter of the 5,366 wines offered had a flash price of less than $14.99 per bottle. Adding in offers for wines priced below $20, the share of value wines grew to 51%.

The $20-$30 per bottle segment accounted for 25% of all offers, but at prices higher than $30 per bottle the number of offers plummeted. Compared to the 12 months through February 2012, flash sites offered more wines for less than $20 per bottle. That segment’s share of total offers grew from 45% to 51%. Only wines priced above $50 per bottle saw an increase (from 369 to 484 offers), which resulted in that segment’s share growing from 8% to 9% of total flash sales. The number of offers for wines priced $30-$50 stayed flat compared to 2012.

More tables, graphs and other details are available in the Wine Industry Metrics section of winesandvines.com.

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