Wine sales continue to struggle, according to the Beverage Information Group’s 2022 Wine Handbook, recently published.
The wine category saw its volume fall -0.5% in 2021, dropping to its lowest point since 2018, with 348 million 9-liter cases sold.
Table wine represented nearly 90% of wine volume, and declined -1.0%, or over 3.1 million cases. As consumers increasingly switched between beverage alcohol categories, they have been choosing wine less often, a trend reflected in wine volume that has been mostly flat since 2018, after many years of low-single-digit growth.
According to Handbook data, the domestic table wine drove category volume losses with a -1.4% pullback in volume, which lost 3.5 million 9-liter cases.
Imported table wine offset some of the declines by growing +0.5%. Champagne and sparkling, at 7.6% of wine category volume, grew +5.4%, led by the imported segment, which was up +8.0%. Domestic sparkling wines also grew, up +2.7% versus 2020.
The wine category faced headwinds in 2021 that contributed to volume declines. Supply chain challenges and a shortage of employees made it more difficult to make and sell wine. Compounding the supply-chain problems, wineries on the west coast continued to face the growing effects of climate change with fires and severe drought impacting grape volumes at harvest. Changing consumer preferences strained volume as Boomers — core drinkers of the wine category — drank less, and Zoomers and Millennials increasingly chose spirit-based options.
“While the total Wine category contracted in 2021, there were segments of the business that benefited as the country emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic and premium wine suppliers met consumers’ needs by capitalizing on macro-trends,” says Marina Velez, Research Director for the Beverage Information Group. “In addition to affordable beverage alcohol luxuries, consumers wanted convenience in both smaller and larger sizes leading to many suppliers increasing their focus on 375-ml. bottles that can be consumed in one evening, and larger boxed packages that can be consumed over a period of weeks. The better-for-you beverage trend shows no sign of slowing, and several winemakers have taken notice. The health and wellness trend are also a way to reach younger consumers to encourage them to choose wine over other beverage alcohol categories”.
Champagne and sparkling wine was the brightest segment in the overall category. During the last decade, Champagne and sparkling wine has grown every year, with a CAGR of +5.2%. 2021’s volume growth was slightly faster than the ten-year rate at +5.4%. With growth significantly faster than total wine, Champagne and sparkling wine increased share of total Wine from 5.1% in 2011 to 7.6% in 2021 and now represents 26.3 million 9-liter cases.