Tom's blog

Direct-to-consumer sales rising

In its Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Report, Sovos and Wines & Vines reports that consumer shipments of wines have increased by more than 15 percent. Although Napa Valley continues to dominate this market, Sonoma and Oregon have shown the biggest growth.

I’m not surprised this part of the business is growing. More and more people are finding it difficult to find wines they enjoyed while visiting West Coast tasting rooms. The report shows the biggest growth in expensive wines, which are often sold only in tasting rooms or through a producer’s club.

The highest sales come in October and November when presumably people are returning home after winery tours during the harvest season.

Wine producers make significantly more money in direct-to-consumer sales because they eliminate the middle men — distributors and retailers. Since most of these wines are made in small quantities, they may not need to the marketing and sales force that distributors can bring.

I really doubt this avenue of sales will ever replace distributors, but it’s surely making a bigger and bigger dent in their overall sales.