Wines Sales and Jobs Continue Strong Growth

All industry metrics remain positive through May, flash offers down

by Andrew Adams
DtC direct to consumer wine shipment
Direct-to-consumer shipments by U.S. wineries jumped by 17% in both value and volume this May compared to May 2012. Total value reached $127 million.
San Rafael, Calif.—Strong growth in direct-to-consumer sales and intense winery hiring activity kept all key wine industry metrics positive in May.

According to the latest Wine Industry Metrics report by WinesVinesDATA, the Winejobs.com Index grew by 32% over last year. Job offers in the hospitality sector fueled much of the growth, but hiring in other categories was strong as well.

Tasting room managers are boosting their staff numbers in preparation for a summer season that could be much busier than recent years, and winemakers are hiring interns for the fall harvest.

Off-premise, DtC sales solid
DtC sales in May were up 17% in both value and volume over 2012. Total value grew to $127 million, and wineries shipped 318,061 cases, according to the Wines & Vines/ShipCompliant model.

In the off-premise sector, wine sales posted a steady 6% gain in value over 2012 but only a 1% increase in volume. Average prices are up 5%. In the past 12 months through May sales totaled $5.2 billion.

The top sellers in this channel continue to be the largest U.S. brands. According to analysis by Chicago, Ill.-based market research firm IRI and Wines & Vines, E. & J. Gallo and Constellation Brands accounted for half of the top 20 brands by off premise sales. Gallo’s Barefoot brand is the nation’s top brand, racking up $323 million in sales during the past 52 weeks. (For more on this report see, “Barefoot Steps Further Ahead in Sales.")

Flash offers dip
The 364 total offers for domestic wines by flash resellers was 11% less than the May 2012 total of 408 offers. May 2013 saw flash offers from 270 unique wineries. The average retail price was $46.45 and average flash price $31.36 for an average discount of 32%. 

The drop can be attributed to the steady decline in the number of offers for domestic wines by Lot18, which announced in January that it would transition from being a flash reseller to a wine club. Lot18 posted 70 offers in May 2011, but this past month it only had 20. Invino, the flash offer leader, made 81 offers in May followed by Wines Til Sold Out with 49 and Last Call Wines with 46.

In Late May, Philip James, one of Lot18’s original founders who was still with the New York-based company, announced he would be leaving. James had been helping the firm’s new CEO Jay Sung with the company’s transition.

James also announced he would be riding his motorcycle around the world to raise funds for the nonprofit Wine to Water.

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