California Wine Sales Still Trending Upward
According to a May press release from the California Wine Institute at www.wineinstitute.org, sales of
California wines have increased for the sixth year in a row, climbing to a retail value of $35.2 billion in 2017.
The growth in sales came primarily from premium wines priced over $10, indicating consumers are trading up
to higher-priced premium wines.. The data was culled by the BW166 and the Wine Institute.
In 2017, California wineries shipped 241 million cases to the U.S., a 60% share of the U.S. wine market. Total
U.S. wine exports were $1.5 billion, over 90% from California. California continues to be the #1 wine producing
state in the U.S. and the world’s 4th largest winemaker.
The continued increase in sales is thought to be due to increasing numbers of the population reaching legal
drinking age, the popularity of winery tasting room and direct-to-consumer sales that accounted for almost $2.7
billion in retail value and 5.8 million cases in 2017, and the increase in number of successful wine selling
locations including gourmet grocery stores, drug stores, theaters, bars and on-premise outlets. The trend is in
defiance of the aging of the Boomer generation who have driven premium wine sales and the failure of the
Millennial generation to buy their share of wine
According to Nielsen, top-selling varietals in the off-premise category by volume are Chardonnay, Cabernet
Sauvignon, Red Blends, Pinot Grigio/Gris, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Moscato/Muscat, Rosé and
Interestingly, while wine consumption increases in the New World, with the U.S. as the world’s top wine
consumer, wine consumption is decreasing in the Old World.