DtC Wine Shipments on Record Pace

Value hits $222 million in October; November expected to be even higher

by Andrew Adams
wines & vines metrics industry
DtC shipments reached $222 million in October, the highest monthly sales total since at least January 2010, when Wines & Vines began tracking them.

San Rafael, Calif.—Direct-to-consumer shipments of wine continued their rapid growth by posting a record $222 million in sales for the month of October. If sales pick up through November as they have during the past two or more years, according to the Wines & Vines/ShipCompliant Model, another record will fall.

The October total was up 13% over last year, and the 12-month cumulative total for 2012 rose 9%. The record pace of DtC shipments is just one of several positive indicators from October for the wine business, as reported in Wines & Vines’ Wine Industry Metrics section.

Retail wine sales
Off-premise, domestic table wine sales in October grew 6% from last year. While that rate of growth slightly lagged behind the 7% average seen in the past 52 weeks, imports lost 1% compared to last year.

At major food and drug stores, wines priced at $20-plus continued to stand out, with 17% growth. The $11-$19.99 category saw strong growth of 10% or more and accounted for 20% of the $3.7 billion spent at major U.S. food and drug stores, according to the Symphony IRI Group.

Wine flash sites
Flash offers for domestic wines priced less than $20 per bottle also grew in 2012 as flash retailers continued to offer more wines for sale. Total offers by flash resellers grew 40%, but the number of offers for less than $20 was up by 84%. The average flash discount in October was 38% off the winery retail price.

Winery jobs up
The Winery Job Index jumped 21% over the same period in 2011. Winejobs.com reported that the growth in hiring activity for sales and marketing people pushed the index higher at a time when some wineries traditionally start shedding their seasonal harvest staff.

Virginia wineries that own vineyards
The total number of North American wineries was up 2% when compared to last year. A review of the WinesVinesDATA for wineries in North America also found that of the top winery states, Virginia had the largest proportion of wineries that owned vineyard property. Of the state’s 220 wineries, 186 (or 85%) owned at least some vines. In comparison, of Washington’s 652 wineries only 291 or 45% owned vines.


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