Norwalk, Conn. (September 4, 2018) – The U.S. wine market reached 344.7 million nine-liter cases in 2017, an increase of 1%, according to the Beverage Information Group’s 2018 Wine Handbook. That’s down from a 2.4% gain in 2016, perhaps a sign of the category’s struggle to compete with spirits and beer for share of beverage alcohol occasions.
As with the previous year, sparkling wines—up 5.8% in 2017—drove the growth. This marked the 16th consecutive year of increases for the total sparkling category. Strong sales of rosé and wines in the $15+ per-bottle price points also contributed: Consumers have discovered that sparkling wines are not just for special occasions and rosés are not just for warm weather.
Table wine saw modest growth of 0.8% to 311.8 million cases sold in 2017, led by a 1.2% increase of imported wines. This amount represents 90.5% of the total U.S. wine category, the Wine Handbook notes, although some of the major table wine brands are struggling to capture consumer attention that’s been lost to other products such as bourbon and craft beer.
Millennials are more interested in trying new flavors than adhering to one style or one brand, so they buy across different categories, countries and varietals of wine. These consumers are interested in specific wine varietals and drawn to eye-catching label art and a strong brand story.
Higher quality boxed/canned wines are changing consumers’ negative perceptions of this wine packaging. Two of the major boxed wine brands posted double-digit growth in 2017, according to the Wine Handbook.
Red wine blends have also increased in popularity. Consumers no longer look at the term “blend” as a negative but rather a sign that a wine is fine-tuned and flavorful.