Shipments of wines from producer to consumer rose significantly in 2917, thus reinforcing consumer popularity of buying wine directly from a winemaker. According to wine industry data collection firm, Gomberg, Fredrikson Associates, sales rose 158 percent year over year. Direct to consumer wines now represent 10 percent of sales.
Much of the reason for the increase is that more states are allowing alcohol to be shipped across the state and across states. Until the last several years, it has been a felony in some states to ship wines from wine producing states such as California and Oregon. Now, people traveling to those wine-growing regions can ship home wines that are exclusively sold at the winery.
I have argued long and hard that liberalizing these archaic laws would not harm distributors and retailers. Even though the sales of direct-to-consumer wines are up, so are general retails sales of wine. Not only was it prohibitively expense for small producers to adhere to the expensive three-tier system, but distributors didn't want to spend a lot of time on them. So, it's a win-win for consumers to join wine of the month clubs and ship home special wines during their visit to these regions.
No surprise: the states showing the largest increases in 2017 are: California, Oregon, Washington, Texas, and Virginia. Tourism is a significant influence to wine sales -- something many winemakers have told me over the last several years.