Direct-to-consumer wine sales growing faster than industry

on 01/07/11 at 1:28 pm

Industry

The ShipCompliant Direct Shipping Seminar at the Napa Valley Marriott last Tuesday provided a wealth of information about direct-to-consumer sales and shipping — from advice on how to improve customer relations from Barbara Talbott, former head of marketing at Four Seasons Hotels and Neel Grover, CEO of Internet shopping powerhouse Buy.com, to an update on state wine regulations from Alcoholic Beverage Control and Tax and Trade Bureau spokespersons.

One interesting talk by researcher Marc Engel reported the results of a study done by WinesVinesDATA, the research arm of Wines & Vines industry magazine, and ShipCompliant.

Engel reported that direct sales to consumers from May 2010 to April 2011 totaled 7 million cases, amounting to 3 percent of the total wine sales by U.S. wineries to U.S. consumers — 253 million cases.

Of that, 40 percent (2.75 million cases) were sold through phone, Internet, clubs and at the tasting room for delivery. The rest was carry-out from wineries.

Though only 1 percent of total wine sales, these direct-to-consumer sales are a large percentage of sales and larger source of profits to many small wineries like most in Napa Valley.

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