For all the talk about international varietals and regions making headway in the US, it’s California wine that keeps growing. California wine sales were up three percent by volume and five percent by value in the US last year.
"In 2013, wineries gradually released the highly acclaimed wines from the large 2012 California harvest, offsetting the slowdown in the American wine market growth due to short vintages in 2010 and 2011 and continuing soft economic conditions," said wine industry consultant Jon Fredrikson of Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates, regarding the latest stats presented by the Wine Institute. "In response to these market factors, California wineries focused on sales of premium table wines priced at $10 and above, which increased by nine percent in volume and made up nearly half of winery revenues."
California wine shipments within the U.S. were 215 million cases in 2013, up three percent from the previous year, with an estimated retail value of $23.1 billion, up five percent. California wine sales to all markets, both domestic and international, increased three percent by volume to 258 million cases in 2013.
"With two record wine grape harvests in 2012 and 2013, California wineries were able to meet consumer demand, and these recent vintages are receiving high praise worldwide," said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, Wine Institute President and CEO.
Fredrikson said that 2013 was highly competitive. Nearly 99,000 new wine labels were registered by the Federal Government, the majority of these from foreign producers, which crowded trade channels and vied for consumer attention and shelf space. In addition, over the past five years the number of alcohol production permits increased by 4,100, up 47%, not only for new wineries, but for craft breweries, distilleries and cider producers, expanding the product mix offerings.
Wine shipments to the U.S. from all production sources—California, other states and foreign producers—grew 3% to 375.2 million cases with an estimated retail value of $36.3 billion. This represents 21 consecutive years of volume growth. The U.S. has been the largest wine consuming nation in the world since 2010. California's 215 million cases shipped within the U.S. represent a 57% share of the U.S. wine market.