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July 2014 Data Released on 08.15.2014Flash Offers Up in 2014Flash websites, which sell wines at steep discounts for a limited amount of time during what's become known as "flash sales," made about 100 more offers by per month during the first seven months of 2014 than during the same period in 2013. In July, there were 483 flash offers, which is 81 more offers than in July 2013. The July 2014 total also represents a 20% increase over the previous month.
Flash Reseller Offers » Month 12 Months July 2014 483 20% 6,073 18% July 2013 402 5,162
The total number of offers for the 12 months ending in July was also up by more than 17%. Flash websites offered 6,073 wines during the 12 months ending this July (up from 5,162 wines during the 12 months ending in July 2013).
Cabernet Sauvignon wines took a 24% share of total offers during both 12-month periods, while Pinot Noir had the second-highest share at 18%. The number of offers for Pinot Noir increased by 17% in the past 12 months compared to the previous period, while Cabernet grew by 18%.
More Flash Offers for Chardonnay, Other Whites
The largest growth in number of offers between 12-month periods was for white wines. Offers for white wine blends grew by 24%, Chardonnay increased by 36%, and Sauvignon Blanc enjoyed the largest increase of 54%. Flash websites offered 208 Sauvignon Blanc wines during the 12 months ending in July 2013 and 320 during the same period ending this July. However, Sauvignon Blanc accounted for less than 5% of all offers during the entire 24-month period.
The number of offers for Syrah dropped by 2% (from 256 to 250) between 2013 and 2014, and Merlot saw a slight increase from 191 to 201 offers.
Biggest Discounts for Syrah, Chardonnay
The most heavily discounted wine varietals on flash sites are Syrah and Chardonnay. Syrah, with an average retail price of $40 and an average flash price of $23, had the largest average discount at 44%, followed by Chardonnay’s average discount of 43% during the 12 months ending in July. The smallest discounts in the same period were for red blends (36% discount), followed by Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with average discounts of 38% each.
Steve Dorfman, a broker and partner with The Ciatti Company based in San Rafael, Calif., said it’s not surprising to see the biggest discount on Syrah, which has not been able to resonate with consumers. “I can understand that there would be some deeper discounts for that,” he said.
When the California bulk market went into a short position a few years ago, Dorfman said Syrah benefited by being gobbled up by the largest wine companies to fill out their red blend programs. Now that many of the large blend brands appear to be hitting a plateau, and the 2012 and 2013 harvests provided large hauls of Bordeaux varietal wine, Syrah could be back to struggling even in the bulk market.
Cabernet Sauvignon wines remain the most expensive in the flash market by both retail and flash price. The varietal had an average retail price of $62 during the past 12 months and an average flash price of $38. Pinot Noir’s average retail price was $51, and the average flash price was $38.
Napa Still the Priciest
Comparing prices by winery region, Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa County wineries commanded both the highest average retail price of $78 per bottle and the highest flash price during the past 12 months at $48. Cabernets from Sonoma County wineries came second with an average retail price of $46 and an average flash price of $29.
Sonoma County was king of Pinot Noir, however, with its average retail price ($44) besting Napa County Pinots at $38. The average flash price for Sonoma County Pinot was $28 compared to $23 for Pinots from Napa County wineries.