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Impact Databank: Non-Champagne Sparklers Are Thriving, Led By Prosecco, Cava And Korbel

June 14, 2016

Sparkling wine is surging in the U.S. market, with nearly all segments of the category achieving impressive growth. Total sparkling wine depletions approached 20 million cases in 2015, a 6% increase over the previous year, according to Impact Databank. Over the past two years, sparklers have added more than 2 million cases in volume. The category is almost evenly divided between the domestic and import segments, and both are on the rise.

The sparkling wine boom is set against an overall wine market that’s eking out only modest growth. As a result, sparklers’ share of the U.S. wine market is steadily rising, although at around 6%, that share is still small. But given that scenario, sparkling wine appears to have considerable upside as it evolves from an occasion-driven category into much broader usage.

“The best thing about sparkling wine’s growth is that it isn’t due to only one factor,” says Gary Heck, president of Korbel Champagne Cellars, whose flagship Korbel brand is the U.S. market’s top sparkler at over $10. “We see growth in many areas, such as expanded occasions like brunch and after-work socializing; a greater variety of offerings, particularly in the cocktail segment; and a wider array of consumers—especially Millennials.”

Non-Champagne sparkling wine is attracting consumers in the off-premise channel with its accessible pricing. While the market’s leading Champagne brands generally retail at more than $30 a 750-ml., non-Champagne sparklers are nearly all under $20. Only two of the top 20 non-Champagne brands are priced-positioned at above $15—Mumm Napa and Domaine Chandon, both selling at around $18. “Sparkling wine is making inroads as an accessible alternative to Champagne,” says Tom Burnet, president of Freixenet USA. “As sparkling wine becomes more of an everyday affair, categories like Prosecco and Cava will continue to do well.”

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