Top 20 Luxury Wine Brands

Decoy takes No. 2 position in $20 and higher category

by Andrew Adams
San Rafael, Calif.—Aside from one import in the top spot and an addition from California's Central Coast, all the other top-performing wine brands in the off-premise sector priced higher than $20 are from wineries based in either Napa or Sonoma county.

The list is part of the latest Wine Industry Metrics report by Wines Vines Analytics, which found all of the key metrics continued to grow steadily in May. 

Wines & Vines compiled the list with data from the Chicago-based research firm IRI. Santa Margherita, the Italian brand imported by Terlato Wines International and famous for its Pinot Grigio, remains No. 1 with $36.5 million in sales during the past 12 months at the stores tracked by IRI. The brand has an average retail price of $20.69, and sales grew 4% overall to 147,025 cases. Brands with retail prices of $20 and above at the beginning of the time period were included; the average price of four brands dropped below $20, however, during 12 months.

Fast-growing Decoy
Decoy, by Napa Valley-based Duckhorn Vineyards, moved into the No. 2 spot after being listed at No. 4 when Wines & Vines compiled the same list two years ago. Decoy’s sales grew by 50% to just less than 86,000 cases. Duckhorn is based in St. Helena, Calif., but the fast growth of its Decoy program prompted the winery in the fall of 2013 to purchase a large winemaking facility in the Mendocino County town of Hopland, Calif. The winery had been the location of custom winemaking services provider Rack & Riddle, which moved its operations to other locations in Sonoma County.

Off-premise sales in general totaled $559 million in May, which is a 5% increase over May 2013. The 12-month total reached $7.5 billion, which is a 6% increase. Sparkling wine enjoyed a 10% growth spurt in May compared to last year, and it grew to $19 million over the past 12 months.

Gary Heck, chairman of California’s Korbel Champagne Cellars, said he understood that domestic sparkling wine shipments from all wineries were up 13% this year through March, and that Korbel’s had grown by 8%. One reason for the growth may be increased consumption of sparkling wine by Millennial consumers, particularly as a mixer in cocktails, Heck said. He is optimistic about the sparkling category as a whole. “I think that it’s going to be a pretty good year for everybody, domestic and imports.”

DtC rises to $1.66 billion
Direct-to-consumer shipments slowed their rate of growth in April to $135 million, which is 6% more than in May 2013. Total shipments for the past 12 months, however, were up 10% over the previous period, to reach $1.66 billion.

Wine shipments from Napa County accounted for nearly half of the total value for DtC shipments in the 12 months through May. About half of the shipments from Napa were Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

Napa wines and flash sales
In the flash sales segment, Napa County wineries accounted for 1,122 offers, or 19% of the 5,954 total offers. For the same 12-month period in 2013, nearly a quarter of the 5,274 total offers were for wines from Napa County wineries.

Wines Vines Analytics tracks flash offers by both winery and vineyard source. Based on vineyard region, Napa County accounted for 1,730 (or 29%) of the 5,954 wines offers in the past 12 months. Wines from the North Coast region (which includes Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake and Marin counties) accounted for 64% of all wines offered by flash sites, and California wines in general took a 90% share of total flash offers. Napa County wines represented 46% of the North Coast offers and 32% of all the California offers.

Total flash offers in May grew by 68% over the previous year thanks to a Memorial Day Weekend sales event by Invino, which had 190 total offers for the month. Wines Til Sold Out and Last Call Wines each had 96 offers, the next-highest total after Invino.


Posted on 06.16.2014 - 08:04:07 PST
Sorry, but really... Santa Margherita a "Luxury" brand?
A Nichols Worth of Wine