The increasingly profitable US model of selling direct

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.


  1. A couple questions but first thanks for sharing this report. I had to read all the way through the conclusions to understand the first statement of “Nearly one bottle…” (8.6% of wine purchased in the US is DTC), in other words “Nearly one out of twelve”. The other statement that puzzles me is why Pinot Noir lovers would be dissapointed that the wine they prefer is less expensive than Cabernet Sauvignon.

  2. Sorry about the typo – now repaired. (I reckon that it's closer to one in 11).
    The comment about Pinot refers to the fact that real Pinot fans imagine that wins made from their favourite grape ought to be worth as much as Cabernet…

  3. A question here too – have wineries profitability increased as well – more direct sales so more profits to the winery?

    I always wonder how many bottles does the winery pour at tasting events or their tasting room before they sell one bottle?

  4. I'm assuming paying less for their favourite wine is more important.

  5. Obviously non vintage usually costs less, but this is not always the case. Vega Sicilia charges a premium for its non vintage, and Krug and Laurent Perrier's Grand Siecle are far from cheap.
    The point of this post is not about price but about consistency.

  6. In the US it is customary to charge for these, so they cant at least nearly pay for themselves

  7. Robert…outstanding job…those numbers (especially the higher percent share of value) goes to show that we are in the midst of a silent revolution for the American wine culture!

    Bravo Robert!

  8. Anonymous · ·

    Or we can learn from the Europeans,

  9. Naked is a great model, and I'm interested to watch its progress in the US.

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