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05.2012

Massachusetts Beverage Business

archivedOnWineReport

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.

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