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ANALYSIS OF SHIPMENTS
The Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Report is an annual collaboration between Sovos and Wines & Vines examining wine shipments from wineries to consumers in the United States.
To create this report, Wines & Vines Analytics created an algorithm that uses its database of U.S. wineries to extrapolate all direct-to-consumer shipments from millions of anonymous direct shipping transactions filtered through Sovos’ ShipCompliant platform in 2017. The model tracks sales by winery region, annual production, destination of shipments, wine type (varietal) and price points. The result is the most accurate estimate of the American direct-to-consumer shipping channel.
DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER REPORT HIGHLIGHTS
Value of Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping
The value of direct-to-consumer wine shipments increased by 15.5% to an all-time high of $2.69 billion in 2017.
Direct-to-Consumer Growth Across All Categories
In 2017, the volume of direct-to-consumer wine shipments increased by 15.3% to 5.78 million cases, and the average price per bottle increased to $38.75.
Month-by-month variations in wine shipments have held fairly steady over the past five years. March, October and November remain the most popular months largely due to wine country visitation patterns.
Weather also plays an important role, with wineries using the more moderate spring and fall weather to deliver wine club shipments and make up for shipments delayed due to temperature extremes. However, interesting trends emerge in shipping patterns on a seasonal basis. The graphs and charts below show more detailed trends.
2017 Average Price-per-Bottle Shipped by Month
In 2017, 35% of all shipping volume came in September, October and November, representing 38% of the value of wine shipments during the year. Twice as much wine in volume and three times the value shipped in the fall versus the summer.
2017 Percent of Volume & Value by Season
Twice as much wine is shipped in the fall versus the summer, while three times the value of wine is shipped in the fall months of September, October, and November, versus June, July and August.
ANALYSIS BY WINERY REGION
Impressive gains in shipments by wineries in Sonoma County and Oregon drove much of the growth in the DtC shipping channel in 2017.
However, Napa County continues to dominate the DtC channel, with almost half of the entire value of the channel attributed to Napa County wineries. Finally, the Rest of California category did not fare as well as its in-state neighbors. Wineries in this large swath of California—including Mendocino, Monterey, Santa Barbara, the Sierra Foothills and Paso Robles—significantly underperformed the overall DtC shipping channel. Specific regional data is available in the graphs and charts in this section.
2017 Change in Volume & Price Per Bottle by Region
Impressive gains in shipments by wineries in Sonoma County and Oregon drove much of the growth in the DtC shipping channel in 2017. Sonoma and Oregon together accounted for 40% of the $361 million increase in the value of shipments.
2010-2017 Growth in Volume & Value by Region
The Rest of California region has struggled to keep pace with the rest of the DtC shipping channel’s performance over time. Meanwhile Oregon, Washington, Sonoma and the rest of the U.S. have experienced steady growth.
ANALYSIS BY WINE TYPE
As in past years, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Red Blends, Chardonnay and Zinfandel were the five most commonly shipped wines, accounting for 60% of the volume of shipments and 73% of the value.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, two of the most important wines to the DtC channel, had very strong performances in 2017. However, Rosé stole the show by recording its largest annual growth ever, with shipments increasing by 58% over 2016. Its share of volume in the DtC channel has increased by 200% since 2010, the largest increase in share of any wine tracked. Details on every varietal tracked in the direct shipping channel are in the graphs and chart below.
2017 Top Varietals by Increase in Volume of Shipments
ANALYSIS BY PRICE CATEGORY
In 2017, two-thirds of all wine shipped was less than $40 per bottle. Meanwhile, wines in the $40-$99 per bottle range saw a near 17% increase in volume. Finally, the $100+ price range only saw 9% growth in volume over 2016.
This underperformance by the highest priced wines disguises an important trend. Despite underperforming the channel as a whole this past year, wines priced $100 or more increased in volume shipped by 200% since 2010 to capture a nearly 6% share of the DtC shipping channel, accounting for 25% of the channel’s value. In-depth specifics on volume, value and average price per bottle are in the graphs and chart below.
Annual Change in Volume & Value by Price Category
In 2017, two-thirds of all wine shipped was less than $40 per bottle. This category of wine performed relatively well, with a 15% increase in volume shipped.
Comparison of Price Points for DtC vs. Off-Premise Retail
The average price-per-bottle-shipped direct-to-consumer in 2017 was $38.75, while the average price-per-bottle sold off-premise in 2017 was $10.35.
ANALYSIS BY DESTINATION OF SHIPMENTS
Seven of the top 10 shipment destinations—California, Texas, New York, Washington, Florida, Illinois, Oregon, Colorado, Virginia and Pennsylvania—also fall into the top 10 states for wine production.
This should be no surprise, as local residents support their own states’ wine industries, and DtC sales most often originate from tourism. Pennsylvania is among those states. Pennsylvania became a top 10 destination this year after experiencing a 158% increase in shipments over 2016. See how much growth your state experienced in the maps below.
2017 Top 10 States by Volume
The top five destinations based on bottles shipped per capita are California, Oregon, District of Columbia, Washington and Colorado. Four of these five destinations have robust wine industries.
2017 Percent Growth in Volume By Destination State
Pennsylvania became a top ten destination this year after experiencing a 158% increase in shipments over 2016. (By value, Pennsylvania sits at number 11, edged out by Georgia, which has a significantly higher average price-per-bottle shipped than Pennsylvania).
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