Winery Hiring, DtC Shipments Hot in July

Direct to consumer wine shipments up 15% while Winery Job Index jumps 29%

by Andrew Adams
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Winery hospitality jobs led a surge in hiring activity this July.

San Rafael, Calif.—It may be the slowest time of the year for direct-to-consumer activity but total shipments still rose by more than 150,000 in case equivalents and surpassed $56 million in value in July.


The strong DtC shipment numbers were joined by a renewed surge in winery hiring during the past month that saw the Winery Job Index jump by 29% over July 2012. Hiring activity was strongest in the winery hospitality sector where the index rose 44% yet stayed high in other sectors with winemaking up 28% and sales and marketing 7% higher.

Solid DtC sales growth and the frenetic pace of hiring are just some of the positive trends seen in the latest Wine Industry Metrics report based on WinesVinesDATA. Off-premise sales also grew in value and volume this past month with Red Blends and Pinot Grigio/Gris showing impressive growth.

DtC sales top $1.5 billion
DtC sales totaled $56,037,392 in July bringing the past 12-month total to more than $1.5 billion, which is 12% higher than the same period last year. Compared to July of 2012, DtC sales were up 15% last month. While it accounts for a small portion of DtC shipments, Pinot Grigio/Gris was up 24% over the past 12 months compared to last year.

Pinot Grigio/Gris’s share of the off-premise channel, however, is quite large. Based on data collected by the research firm IRI, Pinot Grigio/Gris grew by 11% in the past 52 weeks and just edged out Merlot to take the No. 3 position in market share by varietal. Chardonnay continues to be the most popular varietal wine with 27% of market share among the top nine varietals, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon’s 20%.

Blended red wines had the strongest sales growth since last July gaining 21% or $92 million. White Zinfandel fell 7%, or $24 million, and Merlot and Riesling sales also slipped 2% and 3% respectively.

Flash sales slightly lower
The total flash offers for domestic wines in July came to 402, which is slightly less than July 2012’s total of 413. July’s flash data continue a trend that began in January in which the monthly total has been lower than in 2012. However, the number of unique wineries offering wines the first six months of 2013 is higher than last year.

California wines still dominate the flash market. Wineries from Napa and Sonoma counties and the other regions in the state produce nearly 9 out of every 10 domestically produced bottles offered by the major flash resellers.

Wineries reach 7,573
About half the wineries in the United States are located in California. According to the latest figures from the WinesVinesDATA winery database, there are 7,573 wineries in the United States and 47% of those have a California address.

The U.S. total has grown 2% over last year. Washington’s 676 wineries is the next highest winery count followed by Oregon’s 546. About two thirds of U.S. wineries produce wines with an average bottle price between $11 and $29.

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