THE WINE BREAKDOWN
It’s certainly not news to hear that wine sales are hot. But which wines are leading the various price categories in the US? Trade publication wines & vines conducted a recent analysis, looking at the differences in consumers’ varietal preferences from the top shelf to the bargain shelf. Cabernet Sauvignon remained the favorite in the $2O-plus category, capturing 34% of the dollars spent on the six top varieties of domestic and imported wines over 52 weeks. Chardonnay was the second choice, earning 27% of sales dollars. Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris at 13% kept a lead on Pinot Noir at 12%. The whole category of domestic table wines at $2O and higher grew 29% over 52 weeks. Imports in this price segment were also hot, gaining 26% in the same period. The mix looked different among table wines priced from $3.5O to $4.99. Here, Chardonnay led with 28% of the sales among the top six varietals, and Cabernet ranked way down the list at fifth. No. 2 was White Zinfandel. Moscato/Muscat wines sweetened their standing to tie with Merlot for third place in this bargain segment, posting 25% growth vs. a year earlier. Among all price-points, however, four of nine segments of imports lost at least 1% in dollar sales, while no domestic categories fell. The gains in revenue have come with the help of price reductions among domestic table wines at $2O-plus. They came down in price by 98 cents per 75Oml over 52 weeks, while domestic table wines overall rose by 1O cents per bottle. California accounted for 71% of table wine sales followed by Australia at 7%, Italy at 6% and Washington at 5%. Australia, Chile, France, and Germany lost dollar sales over the past year, while Argentina and New Zealand grew the fastest. Sales of Italian wines are being driven largely by Prosecco which saw a surge in shipments of more than 17% to the US.