Winery Hiring Stays Strong Through September

All key wine industry metrics positive during past six months

by Andrew Adams
The Winery Job Index by Winejobs.com for September increased 32% from September 2012 as hiring activity for hospitality jobs was especially strong.
San Rafael, Calif.—Winery hiring in production and hospitality jobs remained strong this September, marking the start of harvest and the end of summer tourist season.

The 33% growth in the Winejobs.com Winery Job Index coincided with higher off-premise wine sales and strong direct-to-consumer shipments as all of Wines Vines Analytics markers stayed positive for the sixth consecutive month.

The total offers by flash site resellers in September also was up 17% over the previous month, the largest increase in 2013.

The hospitality sector continued to lead winery hiring activity with a 42% increase from September 2012. Winemaking also grew by 23% from the same time last year, and sales and marketing posted an 8% increase.

Domestic wine sales maintain growth
Off-premise sales of domestic wines in September increased 6% over 2012 and the annual growth rate remained steady at 7%, according to scan data analyzed by IRI, the Chicago-based market research firm. Four-week sales reached $541 million, and 52-week sales reached $6.8 billion at the food, drug, convenience and wine/liquor stores monitored by IRI.

Two red and two white wine types grew at 11% or more: Pinot Noir and red blend/Meritage for reds, and Fumé/Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio/Gris for whites. Their growth helped offset the declining sales of Merlot, Syrah, white Zinfandel and Riesling. 

Pinot’s popularity in three channels
As part of its regular monthly metrics report, Wines Vines Analytics focused on the popularity of Pinot Noir wines.

Combined domestic and imported Pinot Noir sales hit $520 million for 52 weeks, which beat the previous year by 11% in dollars and 10% in volume. Pinot Noir sales were highest in the three mid-price segments from $5 to $14.99 per bottle, but the fastest rate of growth came at the high end, $20 or more.

In the DtC segment, Pinot Noir sales were strongest in the price range of $40-$59 per bottle for the 12-month period through September, according to the Wines & Vines/ShipCompliant Model. This segment yielded $90 million, for 37% of the market share in value and 32% in case volume. Pinot Noirs from $20 to $39 per bottle accounted for 36% of volume and 36% of value. Overall, DTC shipments grew by 6% to $141 million in September.

Pinot is often the second most offered wine by flash resellers behind Cabernet Sauvignon. In the past 12 months, there have been 959 offers for domestic Pinot Noir wines, or 19% of the 5,171 total offers by all the flash resellers. Almost all of these Pinots (81%) came from California, and nearly half of those wines were offered by wineries in Sonoma County. Napa County wineries accounted for 197 Pinot offers.

Of the Pinot Noir wines offered during the past 12 months, 66% were offered at flash prices between $15 and $29. The number of Pinots dropped off sharply past the $39 mark. Only 75 offers were posted for Pinot Noirs with flash prices of $40 or more and only three for more than $100.

A special Labor Day promotion by flash reseller Invino fueled a significant increase in total offers for domestic wines in September. Invino offered 201 wines, which accounted for 36% of the 559 offers by all resellers in September.

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