Wine sales and volumes were down -0.5% in the 4 weeks to May 1, according to Nielsen scan data of food, drug, c-stores and liquor stores, including Target and BJs. Keep in mind the industry was against some tough comparisons since Easter took place during this same period last year. Imports were largely responsible for the declines as well. Dollar sales of imports fell -6%, while volumes declined -5%.
When it comes to price categories, there were some noticeable discrepancies between dollar sales and volume, especially as you move down the pricing ladder. Strangely enough, the biggest winners were on both ends of the spectrum. The good news is that wines priced above $20 grew 3.1% in sales and 1.2% in volume. But at least some of that growth is likely coming from more expensive wines that have been marked down. Wines priced $15-$20 declined -2.9% in sales and -2.5% in volume. Wines priced $12-$15 declined -0.2% in sales but grew 2.9% in volume. Wines $9-$12 grew 1.1% in sales and 3.6% in volume. Volumes for wines $6-$9 saw sales drop a whopping -5.8%, while volumes declined -3.3%. Lastly, wines priced $3-$6 gained 2.9% and volumes grew 2.2%, while wines $0-$3 saw sales drop -1.7% and volumes decline -4.6%.
The import countries with the biggest dollar sales declines were South Africa (-14.1%), France (-12.2%), Australia (-10.4%), Spain (-6.8%) and Italy (-6.7%). Meanwhile, Argentina grew sales by 14%, while New Zealand wines were up 13.6% and Portuguese wines grew 5%. Chilean wines gained 0.7%.
Blush wine continued to struggle, with sales down -5.7% and volumes declining -6.7%. Red wine also met with declines. Sales fell -0.9% while volumes dropped -0.8%. White wine had the best month, with sales up 0.8% and volumes rising 1.8%.
Pinot Noir (4.9%), Riesling (3.5%), Sauvignon Blanc (3.7%), Cabernet Sauvignon (2.6%), Zinfandel (2%) and Sangiovese (1.7%) all posted dollar sales growth in the period. Although Chardonnay declined -1.4% in dollar sales, it grew 0.5% in volume, which suggests some discounting. Pinot Grigio also declined -0.6% in dollar sales but grew 2% in volume.