Thought you saw a lot of new wines on store shelves this year? You weren’t seeing things. Wine companies launched 423 brands in 2006, with more expected this year, according to a report from the Nielsen Co.
What’s the reason for all of these new labels? Cheap grapes, especially in California, said the report, as well as marketers trying to cash in on wine’s health benefits – perceived or otherwise. Perhaps the most significant finding is that grocery store wine sales showed strong growth, doubling the increase in liquor store sales.
The study also found that:
• In 2007, producers wanted new products and new ways of marketing to make wine less pretentious and more approachable to the mainstream consumer. We've seen some of this, though not a lot of the price discounting the report predicted.
• Screw caps continue to grow in popularity. The number of wines sold in screw caps almost doubled during the course of 2006. Intriguingly, the price of a screw cap wine was about twice that of a non-screw cap wine.
• The average price of a bottle of a wine was $5.66. If that seems low, it’s because the Nielsen survey includes every kind of wine sold in the U.S., from those 3-liter boxes of grocery store wine to the most expensive California cabernet. And since there are a lot more of the former sold than the latter, the average price is correspondingly lower.
• The biggest growth in terms of price came in the $12-$14.99 category, which was up 16.3 percent in 2006. The best-selling price point? $6 to 8.99, which accounted for 27.3 percent of sales.
• The most popular wine in the U.S. is chardonnay, which accounts for 23 percent of sales. And, believe it or not, sales of white zinfandel declined by 0.7 percent, the only varietal to lose sales in 2006.