In January, we released the 2018 Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Report, which offers an exclusive deep dive into the direct-to-consumer (DtC) wine shipping channel with our partners Wines & Vines. The report is produced using Wines & Vines’ algorithm, which extrapolates data from the extensive ShipCompliant by Sovos transaction library.
This article will focus on a few key trends we found in analyzing monthly DtC wine shipping data. Here are five takeaways:
1. Seasonally Appropriate
The holidays are always a busy time of year for wineries and distributors, and 2017 was no different. Close to 40 percent of the total value of DtC wine shipments last year occurred in the months leading up to and encompassing the holiday season: October, November and December. Similarly, 35 percent of the total volume of shipments took place in those months.
Wine country visitation patterns and weather once again played big roles in the overall performance of the industry, as the largest value and volume of shipments took place in March, October and November.
2. Value of Wine Shipments
In March, over $310 million of wine was shipped in the DtC channel, making up 11.5 percent of the total figure for the year. October saw nearly $395 million of wine shipped, accounting for 14.7 percent of the yearly sum. In November, a whopping $417 million of wine was shipped DtC, checking in at 15.5 percent of the yearly total.
3. Volume of Wine Shipments
March saw 575,661 cases of wine shipped DtC, good for 9.9 percent of the yearly total. In October, 709,693 cases of wine were shipped, accounting for 12.3 percent of the annual sum. And November saw the strongest performance in volume, just as in value, with 803,063 cases shipped totalling 13.9 percent of the year’s shipments.
The numbers for both value and volume of shipments are noteworthy on their own, but they become even more impressive when taking into account the destructive wildfires that raged through California Wine Country this past fall. Despite the entire region facing a tragic natural catastrophe, wineries managed to persevere and put up impressive numbers. Without that complication, it is likely the amount of wine shipped last fall would be even more substantial.
4. Dog Days of Summer
Summer has become a period of relative inactivity in the DtC channel. Between June and August, only about 15 percent of shipments were made. And the total value generated during this period is even less significant, at just over 12 percent. For perspective, twice as much wine is shipped in the fall than shipped in summer.
However, this is not a cause for concern – winery visitations pick up in the fall as the temperature cools, as is demonstrated in the large spikes in both volume and value of shipments in those months. In addition, wine is often held during the summer and shipped later due to temperature spikes, and wineries design their club shipments to go out in the spring and fall so they can take advantage of the least extreme weather, which is favorable for shipments.
5. Spring Shipments Blossom
While the fall season held a decided advantage over any other time of year, the value and volume of shipments were steady throughout the spring. As mentioned above, March performed third-best of any month, but April and May were not far behind. In April, 8.5 percent of the total volume of shipments took place, while May was remarkably similar at 8.6 percent. These two months also reflected each other in terms of value, as 8.4 percent of the annual value of DtC shipments took place in April and 7.9 percent occurred in May.
More comprehensive month-to-month data can be found in the full DtC report. Be on the lookout for more deep dives into data from this year’s report!