U.S. Consumer Direct Wine Sales Steady at $3 Billion in 2009

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U.S. wineries increased use of social networking and direct marketing to offset a weak economy in 2009 – winery managers remain optimistic about direct sales growth in 2010

VinQuest 2010 U.S. Consumer Direct WineSales Report

"...wineries adopted new marketing strategies to offset declines in tasting room traffic and consumer spending..."

U.S. wineries worked harder than ever to maintain their consumer direct wine sales at record levels in 2009, according to the latest research results reported today by wine marketing advisors, VinterActive LLC.

Based on their annual VinQuest™ survey of the nation’s 3500+ bonded wineries, VinterActive reports that tasting room, wine club, internet, and event sales remained at a record $3 Billion in 2009 as wineries adopted new marketing strategies to offset declines in tasting room traffic and consumer spending across the U.S.

While many larger established wineries reported declining wine club and tasting room sales in 2009, small and mid-sized wineries aggressively increased their use of social networking, direct marketing and special events to generate solid gains in online, telephone and face-to-face sales.

Key findings of this year’s research reveal:

  • Total direct sales by U.S. wineries in 2009: $3 Billion
  • Overall direct sales growth in 2009: 3%
  • Tasting room sales growth in 2009: 2%
  • Wine club sales decline in 2009: -5%
  • Online wine sales growth in 2009: 29%
  • Mail order sales decline in 2009: -14%
  • Phone order sales growth in 2009: 16%
  • Event sales growth in 2009: 8%
  • U.S. wineries projecting consumer direct as their fastest growing sales channel in 2010: 63%

Despite significant concerns about the economy and continuing challenges with interstate shipping regulations, consumer direct wine sales remain a bright spot in the U.S. wine industry with winery sales managers in most regions forecasting 5% to 15% growth in 2010.

This year’s VinQuest research report identifies key benchmarks for direct sales performance across major U.S. wine regions and provides a detailed comparison of tasting room, wine club and online direct sales at U.S. wineries of every size. The VinQuest 2010 U.S. Consumer Direct Wine Sales Report also contains the first-ever benchmarks for winery use of social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The complete 73-page VinQuest™ 2010 wine industry research report including detailed response to all survey questions, time-series views, and proprietary regional/price-point performance sales comparisons is available from VinterActive LLC at a cost of $1595. A summary of these research results was provided to survey participants and association sponsors.

About VinQuest™ 2010
The VinQuest™ 2010 survey 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 sixth consecutive year, VinQuest research has produced 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, 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, winery website design 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 consumer direct sales channel.


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Bryan St. Amant
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