Nearly one bottle of wine in every 11 drunk in US homes is now bought direct from the winery, according to last year’s very complete Wines & Vines/ShipCompliant report.
Most interestingly, this proportion is growing faster than the rest of the market (by 10% v retail growth of 7% between 2011-2012) and now represents nearly $1.4bn.
The figure that will give most Europeans reason to pause, though, is the average value of the nearly 36m bottles: $37.69.
In fact, the biggest growth in sales (at 15%) was of bottles selling at over $100. These now represent 19% of the value of all direct shipments.
Pinot Noir lovers will, incidentally, be disappointed to see that, despite its increased popularity, their favourite grape commands a far lower premium (at $41 per bottle) than Cabernet Sauvignon (at $62)
I suspect that much of the success of these direct shipments comes from the growth of wine clubs – and their subscription schemes – among premium wineries.
Maybe European – and other New World – wineries should take a closer look at the US model to see what lessons they could learn.