California wine sales up 6.7% to $24.6 billion

225 million cases of California wine shipped in 2014. Chardonnay is (still) the most preferred grape.

California wine sales continue to grow, up 6.7% y/y in 2014

California wine continues to roll, in a big way. In 2014, sales were up 6.7% y/y reaching a total value of $24.6 billion.

That according to a report released today from the Wine Institute. Wine shipments were also up, by 4.4%, with 225 million cases shipped last year.

Also noted is that the U.S. has been the biggest wine consuming nation since 2010 — a slightly astonishing stat given the small head start enjoyed by storied, old world countries with rich wine traditions such as Spain, France, and Italy.

A few reasons why the U.S. is seeing a continued increase in wine sales:

— wineries are increasing to DTC (direct-to-consumer) offerings through tasting rooms, wine clubs and online (mobile apps are a huge opportunity); DTC is now legal in 42 states making it easier for consumers to purchase wine

— the number of brick-and-mortar stores selling wine continues to grow

— exports accounted for $1.5 billion in sales; European Union was top buyer at $518 million, followed by Canada at $487 million

It would seem that the craft beer trend is not impacting wine buying habits. My suspicion is that the two–wine and beer–are not cross-shopped, and don’t represent direct replacements. If you want a beer, you want a beer. If you want a glass of wine, you want a glass of wine. More likely (and perhaps obviously), craft beer sales cut into the revenue of the traditional brands like Budweiser, MolsonCoors, and Carlsberg.

Anything But Chardonnay?

Not quite. At 19%, Chardonnay continues to be the number one grape of choice, followed by Cabernet (13%). Thankfully, Moscato (6%) is far down the list — who poured a bag of sugar into my bottle?

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