BevAlc Insights’ 2023 Cabernet Sauvignon Forecast
Share continues to grow for Drizly’s top-selling red varietal wine as gifting remains strong
Cabernet Sauvignon accounted for 45 percent of all red wine sales on Drizly during the past 12 months — double the share of Pinot Noir, its closest competitor — and it is consistently the platform’s top-selling red varietal wine. This isn’t just a Drizly phenomenon; Cabernet Sauvignon is also the No. 1 varietal red wine in the United States and the most-planted red wine grape in California. Its appeal is easy to understand. The wine is available at price points for just about every budget and it offers a variety of styles ranging from rich and luscious to structured and complex.
“Cabernet Sauvignon is a very recognizable name when it comes to varietals in the United States,” says Liz Paquette, the head of consumer insights at Drizly. “Consumers also associate the grape with high quality, which makes it a very popular go-to choice.”
The variety’s share of red wine sales on Drizly has risen steadily over the last five years, from 40 percent in 2019 to 45 percent in 2023.
NielsenIQ (NIQ) data shows that Cabernet Sauvignon performed a bit better than the wine category overall during the 52 weeks ending September 9, 2023 — at least in terms of unit sales. Dollar sales declined 1.4 percent for both Cabernet Sauvignon and wine overall, while unit sales dipped 4.3 percent for Cabernet versus 4.9 percent for the total wine category during the same period. Among Cabernet Sauvignon blends, Cabernet and Malbec gained more than three percent in dollar sales, outpacing all other NIQ-tracked Cabernet Sauvignon-based blends.
BevAlc Insights dove into Drizly data for the last 12 months to highlight the platform’s most popular Cabernet Sauvignon SKUs and brands, the best-selling regions of origin, and the growing beands that retailers should consider adding to their Cabernet Sauvignon offerings.
Prices Are Trending Upward
Like its share of sales, the average unit price for Cabernet Sauvignon has shown a steady rise on Drizly over the past five years, from $18.38 in 2019 to $22.79 in 2023. The average price per unit for Pinot Noir, which ranks second among Drizly’s top-selling red varietal wines, is a bit lower at $20.34.
NIQ shows a 3 percent price increase for the varietal during the last 52 weeks, to an average of $10.76 per unit.
Gifting Is a Key Sales Driver
Cabernet Sauvignon is especially popular with consumers in the cooler winter months, and sales spike even more when holidays and other gift-giving occasions come around.
Cabernet Sauvignon’s sales share consistently peaks on Drizly during the month of December. Share reached 48 percent of all red wine category sales last December, then dipped to 46 percent share in January. Share remained relatively stable for the rest of the year. Paquette notes that gifting is a major driver of this trend.
“The varietal leads red wine category sales for gift orders on Drizly,” she says. “In 2023 year-to-date, Cabernet Sauvignon accounts for 62 percent share of red wine gift sales.” Out of all gift orders on Drizly, she adds, 11 percent are Cabernet Sauvignon.
Cabernet Sauvignon is a top seller all around the country. However, the New Jersey, Long Island, and Nashville markets tend to over-index on sales.
Which Cabs Are Selling?
Drizly shoppers overwhelmingly prefer domestically produced Cabernet Sauvignon over imports. During the past 12 months, U.S.-made wines accounted for a 95 percent share of the variety’s sales on the platform. California dominated the domestic category at 98 percent share, with Washington State making up the remaining two percent. Beyond domestic products, wines from Australia, Chile, and Argentina comprised the remaining sales share.
Drizly’s Top-Selling Cabernet Sauvignon Brands
- Josh Cellars
- Bota Box
- Justin Winery
- The Prisoner Wine Company
- Silver Oak
- Stags’ Leap Winery
- Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars
- Bread & Butter
The five top-selling brands each held their positions over the previous year, while The Prisoner jumped from No. 10 last year to No. 6 in this year’s ranking. Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars slipped from No. 6 last year to the ninth position in 2023. California represents all of the top-selling wines.
Drizly’s Top-Selling Cabernet Sauvignon SKUs
- Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon
- Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
- Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon
- Justin Cabernet Sauvignon
- Bota Box Cabernet Sauvignon
- Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
- Stags’ Leap Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
- Bread & Butter Cabernet Sauvignon
- Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon
- Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon
As with the best-selling brands, the top Cabernet Sauvignon SKUs on Drizly retained their rankings from the previous year. Silver Oak’s Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon moved from the No. 9 position last year to sixth place this year.
Brands and Formats to Watch
Topping Drizly’s list of up-and-coming brands to watch is The Wonderland Project, a minimal intervention California brand founded by former sommelier Matt Ahern. The No. 3 brand, Rare Earth, makes its wines from organic California grapes. This appears to indicate rising consumer interest in eco-friendly, minimally processed wines.
Drizly’s Fastest-Growing Cabernet Sauvignon Brands
- The Wonderland Project
- RPB Wines
- Rare Earth
- Charles & Charles
- Kicker Cane
- Gramercy Cellars
Two bag-in-box wines — Bota Box Cabernet Sauvignon and Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon — made the list of Drizly’s top 10 Cabernet Sauvignon SKUs this year. Of all Cabernet Sauvignon wines sold on the platform in the last 12 months, 6 percent were packaged in bag-in-box format. Bottles accounted for the remaining 94 percent.