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Premiumization Trend Drives Imported Wine’s Growth In The U.S.

April 24, 2019

Imported wine has held steady in the U.S. at roughly 25% of the market in recent years. But that share doesn’t reflect the significant rise in the number of imported brands available on shelves, or the overall amount of cases sold. Last year, the U.S. imported some 77.5 million cases of wine, according to Impact Databank, up from just 59.5 million cases in 2003.

While import shipments slipped slightly in the U.S. last year, down from 79.02 million cases in 2017, value rose for the fourth straight year, up 3.2% to $4.35 billion. At the forefront of that growth are rosés—especially those from Provence—and sparklers, led by Prosecco and Champagne.

Premium and above brands are clearly driving gains in the imported wine category. While overall depletions were up just 0.5% in 2018, the top 15 imported brands retailing at $10 and over combined for a 12.5% increase. Standout performances among those top 15 brands included a 26% jump to 2.1 million cases for Riboli Family Wine Estates’ Stella Rosa and a 51% boost to 1.56 million cases for Treasury Wine Estates’ 19 Crimes. Stella Rosa has grown to become the third-largest imported wine brand in the U.S. overall, trailing only Yellow Tail and Cavit in volume terms. 19 Crimes, meanwhile, comprises a nearly 11% share of the total Australia category in the U.S., after only five years on the market.

Elsewhere among the premium import leaders, Taub Family Cos.’ Roscato continues to climb the rankings, edging closer to the million-case mark. The brand is now nearly twice the size it was in 2015. “We’re launching a new advertising campaign this year to promote the ‘Sweet Life,’ focusing on social media and outdoor,” says Taub Family CEO Marc Taub. “The original red blend continues to be the leader, but we’ve had an incredible uplift with Roscato rosé. We’ve also introduced two still wines to Roscato—Dark and Smooth.” Also from the Italian segment, Zonin USA’s Castello del Poggio is expanding by double-digits, nearing 800,000 cases last year.

New Zealand likewise continues to connect with consumers at the premium level. Both Oyster Bay and Matua were up by double-digits last year, to approximately 900,000 cases and 525,000 cases, respectively. While New Zealand market leader Kim Crawford slowed to a 5.1% growth rate in 2018, the Constellation label continues to drive premiumization within the category via its impressive $18 core price point and $25 Signature Reserve range.—Julia Higgins and Daniel Marsteller

U.S.―Top Ten Premium-Plus Imported Table Wine Brands1
(thousands of 9-liter case depletions)
Rank Brand Importer Origin 2017 2018 Percent
1 Stella Rosa Riboli Family Wine Estates Italy 1,661 2,100 26.4%
2 19 Crimes Treasury Wine Estates Americas Australia 1,028 1,555 51.3%
3 Kim Crawford Constellation Brands New Zealand 1,265 1,330 5.1%
4 Roscato3 Palm Bay International Italy 810 891 10.0%
5 Oyster Bay Oyster Bay Wines USA New Zealand 776 890 14.7%
6 Ruffino4 Constellation Brands Italy 870 880 1.1%
7 Alamos E. & J. Gallo Winery Argentina 825 800 -3.0%
8 Castello del Poggio Zonin USA Italy 711 796 12.0%
9 Ecco Domani E. & J. Gallo Winery Italy 750 765 2.0%
10 Bartenura Royal Wine Corp Italy 635 670 5.5%
Total Top Ten5   9,330 10,676 14.4%
1 At least $10 a 750-ml.
2 Based on unrounded data
3 Excludes Smooth & Dark
4 Excludes Prosecco
5 Addition of columns may not agree due to rounding.


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