Direct-to-consumer Captures 10% Wine Retail Share-while Wine Marketing Needs Upgrading

Posted: Feb 05, 2020

There was a time when Sonoma played second fiddle to Napa wine country, and so Sonoma wineries took their show on the road to retail outlets across the country. That was well before the Internet and the 2005 Supreme Court decision that opened direct shipping to consumers from wineries.

Today, according to the “2019 Direct To Consumer [DtC] Wine Shipping Report,” with 19% volume growth and 18% dollar value growth in 2018, Sonoma County’s 1.8 million cases shipped DtC topped Napa County.

The top three DtC regions are Sonoma (19%), Oregon (19%) and Washington State (13%). Oregon is on a seven-year run of outpacing the market.

Wineries don’t like to ship during extreme weather seasons, so the largest DtC action takes place in spring and in autumn. But California fires had upset the fall schedule in 2017, which brought October 2018 shipments to more than 16% of all shipments that year and November represented almost 14% of all 2018 shipments. In the end, the report shows that for 2018, 10% of all domestic off-premise wine retail had been shipped DtC. It may not seem like much of a dent in the traditional wine retail market, but it represents 53% growth in the DtC category since 2015; the 6 million cases shipped in 2018, at $3 billion in sales, made for an 11.6% jump since 2017. That’s a good performance, but the news isn’t all good.

By Thomas Pellechia
February 5, 2020
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