Wine Metrics Positive in January
New year brings solid growth in winery job activity and DtC and off-premise sales
San Rafael, Calif.—A high level of winery hiring activity and robust direct-to-consumer shipments helped the wine industry kick off a new year with a strong start.
Off-premise sales also posted a healthy growth rate, as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon led the channel with more than $1 billion in sales for each.
According to the latest data from Wines Vines Analytics, all of the key wine industry metrics were positive in January with winery hiring activity continuing to lead the way. The Winery Job Index in January grew by 26% over the same period in 2013, according to WineJobs.com. The winemaking jobs index grew by 50% surpassing both the hospitality jobs index, which rose by 34% and the sales and marketing index that grew 17%.
Off-premise sales up 7%
The total value of off-premise sales of domestic wines rose 7% to $7.4 billion in the past 12 months through January. Sales reached $572 million in January alone and that is 7% more than in January 2013.
Bottle prices for nine of the 10 most popular varietals rose in the most recent 12 months. Cabernet Sauvignon took the largest price increase among major varietals in 750ml sizes including domestic and imported table wines, gaining 42 cents per bottle for a new average of $9.66.
DtC shipment volume up, prices down slightly
In the DtC channel, total shipments rose by 13% in value versus January 2013 and volume also rose by 14% to 189,277 cases. It was the best growth in January in the past three years. Total sales grew 8% in the past 12 months, reaching $1.6 billion and totaled $77 million in January alone
The average bottle price in a DtC shipment decreased by 65 cents to $37.37 in the past 12 months. Wines shipped by Sonoma County wineries dropped the most among the geographic regions measured, but the value of Sonoma wines sold still rose. Sonoma bottles decreased $2.13 per bottle to $33.05. The average bottle price drop for Sonoma County wines is largely a result of a limited number of high-volume direct-to-consumer offerings. The region with the most sales, Napa County, saw an 82-cent-per-bottle decline to $56.04.
Flash offers continue to rise
The number of offers for domestic wines by flash resale websites started to pick up as 2013 came to end and kept rising through the start of 2014. Total offers for January came to 542, which was 42% more than January of 2013. The 12-month total also is 3% higher.
A special offer event by the website Wired for Wine accounted for much of the January increase, but even after taking out that site’s 89 offers, the monthly total was still more than in 2013.
If a wine is offered through a flash website, it’s most likely to be a red from California. Red wines accounted for 76% of the 5,561 total offers made in the past 12 months and 76% of those offers were for California wines. Napa and Sonoma counties accounted for 68% of the offers.
Napa County wines had the highest average retail price of $57.89 and the highest flash price of $35.72. Cabernet Sauvignon wines also had the highest average retail price of $63.80 and fetched an average flash price of $39.62, which is the highest of the major varieties.
Syrah had the largest average discount of 42% and an average flash price of $22.03. lash resellers had a total of 247 offers for Syrah in the past 12 months. The major variety with the lowest average flash price was Zinfandel at $20.10.