Special Report: Premium-Plus California Wine Rising Sharply, As Cupcake Leads ChargeJune 13, 2013
California’s premium-plus wine segment ($10-and-above) is thriving, despite a challenging on-premise environment. The top 10 premium-plus California wines grew by an aggregate 8.2% in 2012, according to Impact Databank, far outpacing wines priced below $10.
Eight of the top 10 brands in the $10-plus segment posted growth last year, and those eight brands now account for more than 40% of total volume at that pricing tier.
Growth in the $10-plus segment is being led by Cupcake ($11-$12), which jumped by 25% to 3 million cases last year. Cupcake, marketed by Underdog Wine Merchants (The Wine Group), has been on a tear over the past few years. After selling roughly 60,000 cases in its launch year of 2008, Cupcake leapt to 300,000 cases in 2009 and hit the 1-million-case mark the following year. The brand’s upswing continued in 2011, when it more than doubled sales to 2.4 million cases. This year, Cupcake is on pace to leapfrog Kendall-Jackson (which rose by 3.9% to nearly 3.1 million cases in 2012) as the U.S. market’s top-selling wine priced above $10.
While California’s $10-plus segment has been rising swiftly, wines priced above $20 are faring even better. According to SymphonyIRI, domestic table wines priced above $20 a bottle rose 17% by volume and 15% by value in the 52 weeks through April 21, with California accounting for 94% of the domestic category.
While the market is generally strong and enthusiasm abounds—especially about the highly anticipated 2012 vintage—leading players admit that work remains, particularly on-premise. “It’s been a bumpy ride on-premise, trending with consumer confidence, but that channel is in growth again and we’re focused on by-the-glass listings,” says Michelle Perry, marketing director for Constellation’s luxury wines.
For a comprehensive report on California’s premium-plus wine business, see Impact’s June 1&15 issue.
|U.S. – Top 10 California Table Wine Brands Priced Above-Premium1
(thousands of nine-liter case depletions)
|1||Kendall-Jackson||Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates||2,780||2,875||2,970||3,085||3.9%|
|2||Cupcake2||Underdog Wine & Spirits||300||1,000||2,400||3,000||25.0%|
|3||Menage a Trois||Trinchero Family Estates||1,375||1,785||2,010||2,145||6.7%|
|5||Clos du Bois||Constellation Brands||1,620||1,700||1,660||1,715||3.3%|
|6||Sterling Vineyards3||Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines||1,405||1,300||1,290||1,255||-2.7%|
|7||J Lohr Estates||J Lohr Vineyards & Wines||885||975||1,085||1,220||12.4%|
|8||Mirassou||E. & J. Gallo Winery||700||765||880||915||4.0%|
|9||Estancia Estates||Constellation Brands||795||805||860||875||1.7%|
|10||La Crema||Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates||655||740||870||850||-2.3%|
|Total Top 10||11,725||13,315||15,535||16,810||8.2%|
1 at least $10 per 750ml
2 includes some imports and sparkling wine
3 includes Sterling Vintners Collection and Sterling Napa
Source: IMPACT DATABANK