Saturday, February 23, 2008

As reported by Wine & Spirits Daily

Wine & Spirits Daily
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Imported Wines Stronger in 2007

February 22, 2008

In the 52 weeks ended January 12, 2008, table wine dollar sales rose 6.3%, with volume up 3%, according to a report by Nielsen. The blush wine segment continued to decline in 2007, with sales down -1.4% and volume down -2.7%. Red wine showed the highest rate of growth, up 8.2% by dollar sales and 5.4% by volume. White wine showed a slightly slower albeit strong growth, with dollar sales climbing 5.7% and volume rising 2.7%.

Imported and domestics wines were practically neck and neck in dollar sales, with domestics growing 6.1% in 2007 and imports taking a slight lead at 6.8%. Imports took a stronger lead in volume, growing 4.1%, while domestic rose a respectable 2.7%. The industry is predicting that imports will see a decline in growth this year as the depreciating dollar struggles to compete with the strong euro and Australian dollar.

Countries that contributed the most to import growth were South Africa, New Zealand and Argentina, with dollar sales up 37.4%, 34.4% and 29.7%, respectively. The big three importers also showed growth in 2007, with Italy up 7%, Australia up 2.2% and France up 3% in sales.

Varietal wines continue to exemplify the most dollar sales growth, increasing 7%, as compared to generic wines that grew only 2.2%. Volume of varietals rose 5.1% and generics declined -3.2%.

The fastest growing varietals in 2007 were Pinot Noir, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel. Dollar sales of Riesling rose 23%, followed by Pinot Noir at 22.8%, Pinot Grigio (13%), Zinfandel (11.9%), Cabernet Sauvignon (11.1%) and Sauvignon Blanc (10%). Oh yeah, and Chardonnay grew 2.6% and Merlot was up 1.9%. White Zinfandel continues to lose momentum, declining -2.8%.

Pinot Noir showed the highest rate of volume growth, rising 25.4%, followed by Riesling at 22.6%. Next in line: Pinot Grigio (14.2%), Cabernet Sauvignon (10.3%), Zinfandel (8.5%), Sauvignon Blanc (5.1%), Merlot (3%) and Chardonnay (1.7%).

Trading up trends also boded well in 2007. Wines priced between $12 and $15 rose 16% in sales, followed by the $15 and above range, jumping 15%. Premium wines, $9-$12, rose 9.7%, says Nielsen, while the $6-$9 category grew 2.9% and $3-$6 rose 4.1%. The low-end segment ($0-$3) declined 0.6%. Volumes showed a similar pattern in terms of which category grew the most.

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