$20-Plus Wines Down in Price, Up in Sales

Growth rate increases from 21% to 27% in food and drug stores

by Jim Gordon
symphony iri group
San Rafael, Calif.—The latest data from Symphony IRI Group (SIG) give further testimony to the rapid off-premise sales growth of wines priced $20 and higher. This category continued its successful run with 27% growth in dollars over the 52-week period ending May 13. Growth for the previous 52-week period was 21%, according to the Chicago-based market research firm.

A closer look at the data from major U.S. food and drug stores shows that decreases in bottle prices have accompanied the overall sales gains for most varietals in the $20-plus segment, meaning that volume went up even faster than dollars. 

Syrah/Shiraz wines dropped by an average of $1.49 per bottle, Chardonnay dropped by $1.35, Pinot Noir by $1.22 and Cabernet Sauvignon by $1.16. Fumé/Sauvignon Blanc dipped a mere 6 cents per bottle.

Seven out of eight major varietal wines (including domestic and imported brands) grew in dollars, as Pinot Noir tied with red blends/Meritage wines as the hottest segment at 37% growth. Close behind, Cabernet Sauvignon grew 32% and tallied the most varietal sales in the $20-plus arena at $71 million.

Curtis Mann, director of client insights for SIG’s wine and spirits division, said, “Everybody used to see the high growth numbers in this segment, but the brands were nearly all under $1 million, so few retailers got excited. It was still too small. But now, with 27 domestic brands each selling $2 million to almost $13 million a year at the stores we analyze, it’s getting attention.”

Among the fastest growing $20-plus domestic brands were Orin Swift, Belle Glos, Decoy and Provenance.

Domestic table wine sales in all price categories continued to grow at 7% in dollars over the previous 52 weeks. However, for the most recent four-week period these sales grew only 3% over a year ago. Analysts consider the lower number an anomaly caused by the different measuring period when Easter occurred  than in 2011.

To see more information about wine retail sales, DtC sales and other wine industry metrics from WinesVinesDATA, click here.

Posted on 06.19.2012 - 06:43:59 PST
I would consider all of this good news for the wine industry. Growth at any rate is always a positive.