Sonoma County wines shipped directly to consumers get sizable price increases but sell fewer cases
Sonoma County vintners had among the nation’s largest proportional increases in prices on wine shipped to consumers’ doorsteps in the first half of this year, according to a new report Monday.
The average price of a bottle of direct-shipped Sonoma County wine in the first six months increased 10% from a year before, ranking second behind Washington state wines (11% increase) and those from California’s Central Cost (9%). The national average bottle price tracked in the report by Sovos ShipCompliant and Wines Business Analytics rose 5% for the half-year, to $46.12.
Wines from Napa and Sonoma counties made up over half the 3.4 million cases direct-shipped in the first half and two-thirds of the $1.9 billion in value, according to Sovos ShipCompliant. The report tracks direct shipments by over 1,300 vintners, amounting to 12% of wine sold in the country last year.
Average bottle price nationwide for small-scale producers (1,000 to 4,999 cases annually) had the largest drop in average bottle price among size ranges of wineries, decreasing 7% in the first half, to $60.53. The North Coast has a number of small-sized vintners. Total value shipped for these wineries fell 13% from a year before.
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Napa County first-half direct shipments totaled 899,310 cases, valued at $871.9 million. Sonoma County vintners shipped 1.04 million cases to consumers, worth $405.6 million. Average bottle price in the 2023 full-year report for the two counties were $82.39 and $30.01, respectively.
Nationwide, the number of cases shipped directly to consumers slipped 7% in the first six months from a year before, while the value of that wine eased by 2%. The amount of wine shipped in the first half was lower than in the last three years, peaking at 4.1 million cases in 2021, the second year of the pandemic, the report noted. Yet the six-month volume was 11% higher than the 3.1 million cases shipped in the first half of pre-pandemic 2019.
The report authors say this suggests the wine business “continues to find its way back to relative normalcy” after the surge in online orders during times of pandemic restrictions.
“And while wineries continue to contend with inflation, the DtC market remains the most effective way to engage with their best customers and create new ones in the intensely competitive total beverage alcohol market,” said Andrew Adams, an editor with Wine Business Analytics, in the report announcement.
California remained the top destination for direct-shipped wine, but that volume dropped 14% in the first half. Shipments to Oregon fell 17% in volume and 18% in value.
Jeff Quackenbush covers wine, construction and real estate. Reach him at email@example.com or 707-521-4256.