Since 2010, Sovos has collaborated annually with Wines & Vines to highlight the growth of the direct-to-consumer wine shipping channel. Our eighth annual Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Report tracks sales by region, state, winery size, varietal, price point and more. The 2018 report revealed more and more consumers turning to this channel as states loosen their wine shipping laws, with accelerated growth expected for years to come.
Top 6 Trends in Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping
1. DtC shipping is on pace to top $3 billion in 2018: Despite the impact of the Wine Country fires in 2017, the value of wines shipped reached $2.69 billion, up 15.5% from 2016. Winery direct shipments now represent a notable 10% of off-premise sales of domestic wines, according to Jon Moramarco, managing partner of BW 166 LLC and editor of Gomberg & Fredrikson Report – up from 8.6% just one year ago.
2. Sonoma County is on path to surpass Napa County as the largest source of wine shipments: Wine shipments from Sonoma County climbed 26% over last year. Though Napa still dominates, shipping a higher value of wine than all states outside of California combined, Sonoma ships a greater variety of wine. At its current rate rate, Sonoma is on track to overtake Napa County in the coming years.
3. Pinot Noir gains dominance: Pinot Noir overtook Red Blends as the second most common varietal shipped. Two of the most important wines to the DtC channel, Cabernet Sauvignon shipments increased 16% in volume and 18% in value, and Pinot Noir shipments increased 15% in volume and 16% in value. Together, these two wines accounted for over 45% of the value of all shipments from wineries to consumers.
4. Medium-sized wineries performed exceptionally well: These wineries producing 50,000 – 499,999 cases annually accounted for 37% of the total dollar growth of the DtC shipping channel. Small wineries still dominate DtC shipping, though, making up 43% of all shipments and 46% of all sales of DtC shipped wines in 2017.
5. In its first full year permitting DtC shipping, Pennsylvania cracked into the top 10 destinations by volume. With a 158% increase in shipments over 2016, Pennsylvania is poised to climb to the sixth or seventh most common state for winery-to-consumer shipments by 2019.
6. Rosé continues its heyday. Rosé shipments increased by 58% over 2016 without taking any decrease in average price-per-bottle shipped. Its share of volume in the DtC channel has increased by 200% since 2010, the largest increase in share of any wine tracked.