U.S. Consumer Direct Wine Shipments Reach Record $1 Billion in 2006

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New wine industry research shows consumer demand for wine club, internet and other direct wine sales jumped 58% to $1 billion in 2006 as more states allowed wine shipping. Fewer visitors and reduced spending per guest drove tasting room and event sales down 18%, bringing total U.S. consumer direct wine sales to $2.4 billion in 2006.

U.S. consumer direct wine shipments reached a record $1 billion in 2006, according to the latest research results published today by wine marketing advisors, VinterActive LLC.

Based on their annual VinQuest™ survey of the nation's 3500+ bonded wineries, VinterActive reports that wine club, internet and phone/mail orders increased 58% at U.S. wineries while tasting room and event sales fell 18%, bringing total U.S. consumer direct sales to $2.4 billion in 2006, approximately 10% of total annual wine sales.

With support from major winery associations across the country, more than 230 wineries from 35 U.S. states completed this year's detailed questionnaire from December 2006 through February 2007. Key findings of this year's research reveal:

> Total consumer direct sales by U.S. wineries in 2006: $2.4 Billion

> Value of wine shipped directly to U.S. consumers in 2006: $1 Billion

> 2006 wine club sales at U.S. wineries: $598 Million - Up 66%

> 2006 online sales at U.S. wineries: $197 Million - Up 45%

> 2006 tasting room sales at U.S. wineries: $1.3 Billion - Down 18%

> 2006 event-driven sales at U.S. wineries: $100 Million - Down 30%

> Top barriers to consumer direct wine sales in 2006: compliance with direct shipping regulations & reduced visitor traffic

Explanation for rapidly growing direct wine shipments includes strong consumer demand, a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision opening many states to direct wine sales and growing acceptance of wine clubs and winery ecommerce. Falling tasting room and event sales were attributed to higher fuel prices and competition from new wineries - reducing average visitor counts in many wine regions. Airline restrictions on wine as a carry-on item were cited as reducing onsite sales in some regions.

VinQuest™ 2007 research also identifies the most effective sales/marketing practices used by consumer direct wineries in all regions and provides a detailed comparison of tasting room, wine club and online direct sales metrics at U.S. wineries of every size.

Complete VinQuest™ 2007 Research Results Now Available

Highlights from this year's research, including key charts and graphs, are available online free of charge in the VinterActive Wine Marketing Library. (requires registration)

An 8-page summary of VinQuest™ 2007 research results, including 19 detailed charts and graphs, is being distributed free of charge to all wineries and winery associations that participated in this year's research project. This summary report is available to purchase from VinterActive for $149.

The complete 70-page VinQuest™ 2007 research report including detailed response to all survey questions, best-practices analysis, time-series views and proprietary regional winery performance data is available from VinterActive LLC at a cost of $1495.

About VinQuest™ 2007

The VinQuest™ 2007 research project was conducted by wine marketing advisors VinterActive LLC with support from a national coalition of wine industry associations in an effort to better understand the size and dynamics of the U.S. consumer direct wine sales channel. Now in its third year, VinQuest has become the largest and most widely used source of consumer direct sales data in the U.S. wine industry.

Participating winery associations include: WineAmerica, Napa Valley Vintners, New York Wine & Grape Foundation, Illinois Wine, Russian River Wine Road, Heart of Sonoma Valley Association, Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, Oregon Wine Board, North Carolina Wine & Grape Council, Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council, Seneca Lake Wine Trail, and the Paso Robles Wine Alliance. Initial guidance and encouragement was provided by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

About VinterActive LLC

VinterActive LLC is a leader in the research and practice of consumer direct wine marketing and winery ecommerce. Founded in 2001, VinterActive's global team of direct marketing experts, wine sales advisors, and system engineers have identified and developed proprietary techniques for increasing tasting room, wine club and online sales that have proven effective for both large and small wineries seeking to maximize their share of the rapidly growing consumer direct sales channel.

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Bryan St. Amant
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