Insights from Drizly’s 5 Fastest-Growing Red Wine Grapes
Consumers are looking to Italian grapes in their quest for red wine discoveries
Red wines are big sellers on Drizly all year long, and the category is poised to see an uptick as winter’s chill continues and Valentine’s Day approaches.
Red wine accounted for 36 percent of the platform’s overall wine sales in 2023, making it Drizly’s most popular wine subcategory. While Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir dominated sales in the last 12 months, accounting for 68 percent share of the red wine category, lesser-known varieties comprised the remaining 32 percent share.
Domestic reds commanded a large majority of red wine sales in 2023 at 79 percent, followed by Italian reds at 7 percent share. Though Italy comprised a much smaller portion of sales, the country’s wines landed four out of five spots on Drizly’s ranking of the year’s fastest-growing reds.
Liz Paquette, the head of consumer insights at Drizly, notes that Italian reds have been gaining ground on the platform for the past few years. “Italy’s share of the red wine category has grown from 7 percent in 2022 to 8 percent in 2023,” she says.
With the exception of Dornfelder, which has an average unit price of $12.96 on Drizly, the platform’s fastest-growing red wines are priced significantly higher than the average red wine on Drizly. While the average unit price for red wine overall is $21.05, the average for the up-and-comers starts at $26.52 and tops out at $63.20 per bottle.
To help retailers make informed stocking decisions in the coming months, here are the five fastest-growing red wines that shoppers are buying on Drizly.
Brunello di Montalcino
Made from the Grosso clone of Sangiovese, also known as Brunello, Brunello di Montalcino is one of Italy’s most prestigious wines. These deep, dark bottlings are famous for their tannic structure, bright acidity, and ability to age for decades. With an average unit price on Drizly of $63.20, Brunello di Montalcino is among Italy’s priciest red wines. The top five Brunello di Montalcino wines on the platform include Argiano, Cantina di Montalcino, Fattoria La Lecciaia, Col D’orcia, and Tenute Silvio Nardi.
Widely planted in northeastern Italy, Corvina is best known for its starring role in Valpolicella wines. The variety typically produces herbaceous wines with sour cherry notes, light red color, and soft tannins. The Corvina grape lends itself to air-drying, a process used for making robust Amarone wines. The average unit price for Corvina wine is $31.43 and the top-selling brands on Drizly are Cesari, Masi, Bolla, Antiche Terre, and Tasi Verona.
This medium-bodied red is primarily grown on the volcanic slopes of Sicily’s Mount Etna — a region that is gaining popularity among wine lovers. Nerello Mascalese wines have seen a major surge in interest recently due to their fruit-forward freshness, minerality, and herbaceous character. In addition to its use in Etna DOC, winemakers use the grape in a variety of Sicilia IGT wines blended with Nero d’Avola. The average unit price for Nerello Mascalese is $27.95. Drizly’s top brands include Azienda Agricola Tornatore, Alta Mora, Benanti, and Frank Cornelissen.
Hailing from Germany, where it is mainly planted in the Rheinhessen and Pfalz regions, this is the only non-Italian grape in the top five. Dornfelder is a cross of Helfensteiner and Heroldrebe, and it typically produces deeply colored wines with floral notes and moderate tannins. The grape is also grown in the United States, particularly in New York’s Finger Lakes region. Priced far below the other reds in Drizly’s ranking, Dornfelder averages $12.96 on Drizly. The platform’s best-selling brands are Fritz Windisch, Valckenberg, Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler, Schlink Haus, and Villa Wolf.
It’s unusual to find this dark-skinned Sicilian grape as a standalone wine; most often, Nerello Cappuccio is blended with Nerello Mascalese to create elegantly structured wines with perfumed aromas and a soft profile. Like its Mascalese cousin, the grape fares best on the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna. On Drizly, the wine’s average unit price is $26.52 and the top wines are Tenuta delle Terre Nere, Picabuey, Pietradolce, and Girolamo Russo. This wine has held the number five position on Drizly’s list of fastest-growing reds for two years running.