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SAN FRANCISCO — California wine shipments to the U.S. reached an estimated retail value of $31.9 billion in 2015, a 12% increase since 2010. The state shipped an all-time high of 229 million cases to the U.S. in 2015, growing 14% since 2010.
California wine sales to all markets, both domestic and international, were 276 million cases in 2015, a record high.
“California wines continue to garner global recognition for their outstanding quality and value,” said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, Wine Institute President and CEO. “Consumers are comfortable with wine, and well informed about it, which is translating to growing interest in California’s regions, American Viticultural Areas, sustainable winegrowing practices and how wine complements their lifestyles.”
“The premium wine segment $10 and above is continuing its long-term growth trend,” said Jon Moramarco, founder and managing partner of BW166, who recently purchased The Gomberg-Fredrikson Report along with along with Wine Communications Group. The Gomberg-Fredrikson Report has been the authoritative resource for statistics used by Wine Institute for many decades. “The premium segment accounts for about a quarter of the shipments but half of the revenues. These sales offset the shrinking volume of value-priced wines $9 and under.”
Stats at a Glance
- Estimated retail value of 2015 California wine sales in the U.S. was $31.9 billion
- Total California wine sales to U.S. and to exports was a record 276 million cases
- The U.S. has been the world’s largest wine market since 2010
Wine Institute has reported on the value of consumer expenditures on wine for two decades using volume data, scan pricing and other spending estimates. BW166 has reset the baseline for these figures using revised methodology and new sources of information from the U.S. Census Dept. and U.S. Commerce Dept. Consumer spending now reflects a compound annual growth rate of 6.1% versus the 5.5% rate used previously.
Moramarco pointed out several developments in the U.S. marketplace last year. The lower 2015 winegrape crop has helped drive the premium wine emphasis. The U.S. consumer base is changing—millennials are reaching legal drinking age and now make up about a third of consumers over 21 years of age, with wineries tailoring their wines and marketing to appeal to this younger group seeking new and more upscale offerings. Competition was fierce with a strong dollar paving the way for foreign wines crowding U.S. distribution channels which continue to consolidate. More than 160,000 wine labels are approved annually by TTB for sale in the U.S. Smaller wineries seeking distribution looked to direct-to-consumer (DTC) shipping, which will be legal in 44 states (when Pennsylvania’s DTC law comes into effect Aug. 7) and the District of Columbia.
Because of the move to higher value wines, dollar sales grew significantly faster than case sales in 2015, according to Nielsen, a global provider of information and insights into consumer preferences and purchases. In U.S. food stores, total wine volume sales grew 2% while total revenues increased 6%.
“The number of U.S. supermarkets selling wine is increasing, hitting about 30,000 last year, an increase of over 1,700 stores compared to 2011,” said Danny Brager, Senior Vice President of Nielsen’s Beverage Alcohol Practice Area. “No longer confined to specialty shops and liquor marts, many grocery stores are offering a cornucopia of wines to be part of a growing category. Both consumers and retailers are reaping the benefits.”
According to Nielsen, in measured U.S. food stores, the most popular table wine types by volume were Chardonnay (21% share), Cabernet Sauvignon (14%), Red Blends/Sweet Reds (10%), Pinot Grigio/Gris (9%), Merlot (8%), followed by Pinot Noir (5.5%), Moscato (5%), Sauvignon Blanc (5%) and White Zinfandel (4%). Sauvignon Blanc accounted for the strongest volume gains followed by Red Blends, and then Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio/Gris and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The U.S. Wine Market
Wine shipments to the U.S. from all production sources—California, other states and foreign producers—grew to 384 million cases, up 2% from 2014, with an estimated retail value of $55.8 billion. The U.S. has been the largest wine consuming nation in the world since 2010. California’s 229 million cases shipped within the U.S. in 2015 represent a 60% share of the U.S. wine market.
Sparkling Wine and Champagne
Shipments of sparkling wine and champagne to the U.S. reached 21.7 million cases in 2015, up 9% over the previous year. The category appears to be growing at a healthy rate since the U.S. started emerging from the 2008 recession. The popularity of Prosecco may also have affected sparkling wines, which are now trendy beverages that include single serve bottles and cans.
U.S. Wine Exports
U.S. wine exports, 90 percent from California, reached a record $1.61 billion in winery revenues in 2015. Volume shipments were 461 million liters or 51.2 million cases. The European Union was the top destination for U.S. wine exports, accounting for $622 million; followed by Canada, $461 million; Hong Kong, $97 million; Japan, $96 million; China, $56 million; Nigeria, $29 million; Mexico, $26 million; South Korea, $23 million.
(In millions of 9-liter cases)
|Year||California Wine Shipments to All Markets in the U.S. and Abroad2||California Wine Shipments to the U.S. Market||Estimated Retail Value of CA Wine to U.S.3|
Sources: Wine Institute and BW166/Gomberg-Fredrikson Report. Preliminary. History revised.
1Includes table, champagne/sparkling, dessert, vermouth, other special natural, sake and others. Excludes cider.
2Excludes foreign bulk shipped by California wineries.
3Estimated retail value includes markups by wholesalers, retailers and restaurateurs.
(Wine shipments from California, other states
and foreign producers entering U.S. distribution)
|Year||Table Wine1||Dessert Wine2||Sparkling Wine/ Champagne||Total Wine||Total Retail Value3|
Sources: Wine Institute, Department of Commerce, Estimates by BW166/Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates. Preliminary. History revised. Excludes exports. Excludes cider as of 2011 going forward.
1Includes all still wines not over 14 percent alcohol.
2Includes all still wines over 14 percent alcohol and sake.
3Estimated retail value includes markups by wholesalers, retailers and restaurateurs.
Journalists requiring further information should contact the Wine Institute Communications Dept.