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Winery Hiring Activity Surges

Wine Industry Metrics for March also show off-premise sales up, DtC shipment volume up, flash offers down

by Andrew Adams
wine industry metrics data center
With especially strong hiring activity in hospitality jobs, the overall index rose 31% in March and 17% during the year to date.
San Rafael, Calif.—Led by postings in the hospitality segment, the index rose by 30% in March. The strong level of hiring in winery hospitality jobs pushed the overall index of job postings to its highest level since its inception in January 2007. Hiring activity in winemaking and sales and marketing also rose.

The frantic winery hiring activity was perhaps the biggest news in the Wine Industry Metrics report for March, released by Wines & Vines today. But off-premise wine sales also grew by 6% on an annual basis, topping $5.1 billion, with $403 million in March, according to the Symphony IRI Group, a market research firm based in Chicago, Ill.

Wines priced higher than $20 per bottle saw a 15% increase in annual sales (or $238 million) after the average price per 9-liter case in the segment dropped by $3.62. Wines in the $11-$14.99 category posted an average price increase of $1.01 per case but still saw more than a 10% increase in sales.

Bell curve in DtC sales
The 49 largest wineries, making more than 500,000 cases per year, do less direct-to-consumer business than wineries making fewer than 1,000 cases a year, according to WinesVinesDATA. The similarity of the two ends of the production spectrum help illustrate how much mid-tier wineries making 5,000-49,000 cases dominate the DtC channel. Sales by wineries in the middle accounted for $738 million during the 12 months ending March 2013.

DtC sales in March alone accounted for $177 million, bringing the 12-month total to $1.48 billion, a 10% increase over a year ago.

Wine flash sales
While the total number of wine offers by flash resellers was 13% higher over the previous 12 months, the monthly total is down by 7%. March was the third consecutive month to see a drop; February also was down by 7%, and January was 1% lower.

The decline in monthly totals could be the result of wineries having less inventory to clear out, and because Lot 18 has pulled back from flash sales to some degree.

Invino had the most offers in March with 69 wines from 59 unique wineries. The average flash price for wines proffered by Invino was $19.87. WinesVinesDATA is now tracking 18 websites offering wine through flash sales. The average retail price for wines offered from all 18 sites is $41.53, with an average flash price of $27.36, a 34% discount.

Based on the past 12 months of total offers, Wine Woot had the most diverse mix of wines by type. Invino had the highest number of offers, but nearly 60% of its offers were for red blends, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir—the three most popular wine types in the flash segment. Those three varieties accounted for just 256 wines, or 36%, of Wine Woot’s 695 total offers.

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Wine Industry Metrics
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
August 2015 $608 million
$8,178 million
August 2014 $568 million $7,729 million
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
August 2015 $80 million
$1,908 million
August 2014 $78 million $1,686 million
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
August 2015 261
August 2014 218 224
MORE » Released on 09.15.2015
Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
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