OFF-PREMISE SALES GET A BIG BOOST
The overall economy may be slow to recover but the wine industry just got some good news. Off-premise wine sales data increased 1O% over the same four-week period last year, according to market research firm Symphony IRI Group. The unusually high spike in sales was partly due to Easter falling in the four-week period this year, while it came earlier in 2O1O. Still, the longer measure of 52-week performance showed 6% growth in domestic table wine dollar sales, as measured by SIRI at major food and drug stores. In contrast, imported table wines grew minimally over 52 weeks – just 1%. Price-points at the top and the middle showed the highest growth rates for both four-week and 52-week performance. The priciest category SIRI measures, $2O-plus, grew a 37% over the same four-week period in 2O11, presumably because people splurged on the fastest growing high-priced varietals for Easter: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Riesling. Cabernet Sauvignon led the $2O-plus category in total dollar sales, however, followed closely by Chardonnay. Growth over 52 weeks for this whole price-category of domestic table wines was 21%. The middle range of domestic table wines, priced from $8 to $1O.99, grew by 15% over four weeks and by 11% over 52 weeks. Different varietals did extremely well in this price category compared to the $2O wines. Red blends and/or Meritage wines spiked by 62% in four weeks and 46% over 52 weeks. May 15 also closed out four weeks of strong growth for sparkling wines, as domestics grew by 24% and imported by 32%.