Wine Sales Up for Seventh Month in 2010

Beer ceding ground to wine on July 4; top Texas brands ranked

by Jim Gordon
Domestic Table Wine Sales off-premise
The Wines & Vines graph tracking domestic table wine sales adds a bar for four-week sales ending July 11 that once again tops the bar from the same period in 2009. The month’s performance beat the same month last year by 5.9%, totaling $317,158,200 in off-premise sales as reported by the SymphonyIRI Group from food and drugstore scan data.

All seven months of 2010 through July have produced higher sales than last year’s, when the recession was still new. The pace of growth was buoyed by increased July 4 holiday sales, but remained slightly cooler than the recent 12-week and year-to-date numbers.

Domestic wines at $20 and more continued to be hot, posting 20.6% growth in the four-week period, and a total of more than $10 million in sales. It’s the smallest of the seven price segments reported by SIRI, but extremely important to thousands of small and medium-sized U.S. wineries.

The fastest growing varietals in the $20-plus segment were led by Zinfandel, with a stunning 38.6% growth rate over the same period last year. Was it the patriotism factor, since many consider Zinfandel all-American? Or because of its affinity for grilled steaks and slow-cooked ribs? High-end Cabernet Sauvignon grew at 29.1%, Pinot Noir at 26.4% and Sauvignon Blanc at 24.2%.

July 4 Wine Sales
Wine over beer on July 4
Wines & Vines reported recently that Memorial Day had become a wine event according to SIRI’s analysis of sales, and now a similar look at the recent July 4 sales period showed the same trend holding for what is probably the quintessential beer-drinking holiday in America.

“Beer has gone flat, if you pardon the expression, and wine is growing for the summer holidays,” said Doug Goodwin, VP of client insights for beer, wine and spirits at SIRI. “If wineries don’t know about this trend they certainly need to be aware of it. Holiday-based merchandising even in the summer is going to be critical for their sales, not just during the winter holidays.”

The two-week period ending July 4 saw sales up 5% over 2009, and it was the third year in a row with wine sales growth, while beer sales were essentially the same. Box wines at $3.50/750ml equivalent and higher were among the fastest growing segments for the holiday.

Texas’ top wine brands
SIRI focused on the leading brands of Texas-made wines in its latest analysis for Wines & Vines. It’s no surprise that Ste. Genevieve, owned by Mesa Vineyards, still leads in sales. Its 52-week total was just shy of $10 million. For perspective, that would make it the sixth-leading brand in Washington state.

Llano Estacado is the clear No. 2 Texas winery with $5,421,041 in sales during the most recent 52 weeks, and at a significantly higher price-point than Ste. Genevieve. Sales of Texas wines overall were up 2.5% during the recent four-week period. View data about the Top 10 Texas Wine Brands here.

Figures quoted in this article come from the Chicago-based SymphonyIRI Group, which uses scan data to provide market information and services to industries including consumer packaged goods, retail and health care. Wines & Vines provides further analysis and reporting on the results.
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