Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Throw out the top 25 brands, and guess what country is the US' biggest source of wine?

Data courtesy U.S. Beverage Alcohol Forum
Americans are very brand-oriented when it comes to wine. But what do we drink when we're not buying one of the big names?

I noticed recently that even without Yellow Tail, Australia still ranks in the top 6 sources of foreign wine. Today I decided to crunch the numbers a little further.

What if I took all of the top 25 brands out of the wine import numbers? Who are our largest sources of wine then?

The implication is that these countries are selling us a lot of small-production wine, perhaps artisanal. So who do you think it is? You might be surprised.

First, here are our 8 largest sources of imported wine, all brands included (numbers in gallons).

But Italy has a lot of big brands; 12 of the top 25 (did you think Riunite would still be in the top 5)? Italy's 12 top-25 brands outsell Australia's 5 top-25 brands, including Yellow Tail, by 27%.

France has no top-25 brands, not in this country. That might be different in the UK. But we buy more Real Sangria than we buy of any single French wine brand.

Next, I've removed the top 25 brands. See who's No. 1 now?

Sometimes the data tells you things you didn't expect. This represents some American companies bringing Argentine and Chilean wine in under their own labels. Of course, they do that with Australia too.

But it's also a whole lot of Malbec. Were you surprised?

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  1. I'm jealous, Blake. This is exactly the kind of thing I should be writing about. Sangria, indeed.

    Though I did know about Riunite.

  2. Remove the top 100 brands. What are the results then?

  3. I don't have a list of the top 100 brands. Anyone got one?

  4. Maybe it would be interesting to also take into account how much none-major brand wine there countries produce?

    The difference between the lists seems to be that South American wines moved up and Australia moved down. Is the takeaway that the South American wines can sell more without major branding because of a price point advantage?

  5. "The implication is that these countries are selling us a lot of small-production wine, perhaps artisanal."

    You really think the top 25 brands are the only "big" brands? Come on, you're smarter than that. I think...

  6. Kim: That seems to be the case. I think we all knew that, but the volume about which it was true was a surprise to me.

  7. Very interesting, especially in view of the historic growth of imports as a % of the total wine-consumption pie.

  8. What? Portugal beats out New Zealand? Must be a lot of Mateus and Lancers.

  9. ..... by volume is one thing by value is much more important The Argentine wines are selling below their cost with the finical problems they are having, next year when $12 Malbec has to go to $16 the volumes may change very quickly........

  10. As an early supporter of Argentine wines, I think it is amazing that they have reached the top of the list considering they have only had "heavy" marketing for the last 10 years! We built the category by having people taste Malbec; their response was usually--"this is delicious--what country is Malbec". Steve Weinberg

  11. Duh. I am constantly amused by wine writers, bloggers, etc. who never set foot in grocery stores.

    America is the world's largest consuming nation, and the big chains are light years ahead of wine specialty shops in volume. We sell those millions of gallons of $8 Malbec, Merlot, and Chardonnay. And Lambrusco, Sangria, Carlo Rossi and Black Box. So why the surprise? (My views are my own, I am an hourly employee of Safeway, a Wine Steward, in San Diego.)