What Retailers Can Learn from Drizly’s Top 20 Best-Selling Wines
Consumers are trading up and embracing alternative formats, among other key takeaways
A lot can change in a year, and that’s the case with Drizly’s ranking of its Top 20 best-selling wines. To help retailers stock the wine SKUs consumers want most right now, we examined the top-selling products in the wine category on Drizly over the past 12 months and compared this data to the previous year.
The data suggests that wine drinkers are seeking out both trending and niche varietals, international producers and grapes, and wine in alternative formats. Consumer demographics and price points have shifted too. So as you consider inventory decisions in the months ahead, let this deep dive be your guide.
Drizly’s Top 20 Best-Selling Wines
1. La Marca Prosecco
2. Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon
3. Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
4. Oyster Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
5. Whispering Angel Rosé
6. Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label Champagne
7. Apothic Red
8. Meiomi Pinot Noir
9. Alamos Malbec
10. Matua Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
11. Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay
12. Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio DOC
13. Mionetto Prosecco Brut
14. Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon
15. Starborough Sauvignon Blanc
16. Bota Box Cabernet Sauvignon
17. Cavit Pinot Grigio
18. The Pinot Project Pinot Noir
19. 19 Crimes Cabernet Sauvignon
20. Bota Box Pinot Grigio
FOUR KEY TAKEAWAYS
1. Consumers Are Embracing Boxed Wine
A newcomer to the best-selling wines list in 2020 is Bota Box, with two boxed wine SKUs that cracked the Top 20: the Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio. Boxed wine has grown .7 percent in share year-over-year (YOY), now accounting for a 8 percent of overall wine share in 2020. “Driven by the pandemic and ‘stock-up’ consumer behavior, boxed wine appeal grew because it’s a larger quantity format than bottles,” said Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights.
Historically, boxed wine has come packaged with a cultural stigma as a cheap bulk wine of low quality. But newer brands, like Bota Box, have breathed new life into the category in recent years and the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated this growth. According to Nielsen, boxed wine sales increased 36 percent during a 15-week period ending June 13 compared to the same period in 2019. Moreover, IRI Worldwide reported that three-liter boxes like Bota Box rose a whopping 78 percent during a 13-week period that ended June 7, compared to the year prior.
Attitudes are clearly shifting, as a further bonus for consumers, boxed wine stays fresh longer than wine in bottles and it’s better for the environment (shipping a three-liter box results in about half of the carbon emissions of a 750-liter bottle). “People are looking to minimize the number of trips they make to stores, and because our wines stay fresh for up to 30 days after opening, they’re a natural choice,” said Mary Burnham, Bota Box’s director of public relations.
Bota Box has grown by double digits every year since launching in 2003. In 2019, it became the No. 1 three-liter box brand in America by both volume and value. Burnham says that 2020 sales have exceeded forecasts, increasing more than 40 percent YOY. “What we’ve seen is that, as new consumers have tried Bota Box and realize that the wine is as good as or better than wine in glass bottles, they come back and buy again,” Burnham continues. “When they realize that each three-liter box contains four bottles and they take into account the quality, the value equation becomes extremely compelling.”
2. Cab is Still King
Cabernet Sauvignon has been trending for a while now, overtaking Sauvignon Blanc over the last five years as the top-selling varietal on Drizly. Cabernet continues to see growth in 2020, accounting for 14.94 percent of total wine share. Josh Cellars is the best-selling Cabernet Sauvignon on Drizly, coming in at No. 2 on the best-selling wines list, which also featured Decoy and a pair of brands that cracked the Top 20 for the first time: the aforementioned Bota Box and 19 Crimes.
According to Burnham, sales for Bota Box’s three-liter Cabernet Sauvignon have increased by 61 percent in 2020 and the Nighthawk Cabernet Sauvignon (Bota Box’s more premium tier) is up 80 percent in sales YOY. “Consumers are looking for bolder flavor profiles,” Burnham says, describing the line as having a “bigger, bolder flavor profile.” “The rich flavors have a strong appeal with younger Millennial and Generation Z wine consumers.”
The company’s Nighthawk Black Bourbon Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon, which it introduced late last year, was the first spirit-aged wine in alternative packaging. Burnham describes its rollout as “a huge success.” “We are on track to sell the equivalent of 280,000 nine-liter cases of this wine this year,” she says.
IRI Worldwide reported a 21 percent increase in sales, year over year, of Cabernet Sauvignon priced $15 and above (for $379 million in total sales) and a 14 percent growth over the last year for Cabernet priced $25 and above (at $94 million in total sales). Moreover; sales at these price points have grown by 57 percent and 45 percent since 2017, respectively.
Duckhorn, with its Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon at No. 14 on the best-seller list, also reports increasing sales during the pandemic. “The arrival of Covid-19 seems to have only accelerated this growth as consumers flock to varieties and producers they trust,” says Carol Reber, chief marketing and business development officer of the Duckhorn Portfolio. “This has certainly been the case for our Decoy Cabernet, which has earned a reputation both for its depth, lushness, and balance, and for the fact that it represents an exceptional value in its category.”
3. International Wines Entice Consumers
With travel halted for most during the pandemic, Drizly consumers appear to be seeking out international experiences via their alcoholic beverages. Consistent with the previous year, 56 percent of wine sales on Drizly are from brands based outside of the United States, with wines from Italy and France making up 30 percent of the share. New Zealand and Argentina round out the last 15 percent.
Top 20 Best-Selling Wines by Country of Origin (past 12 months):
1. United States: 44%
2. Italy: 16%
3. France: 14%
4. New Zealand: 9%
5. Argentina: 4%
Further proof of this is that four of the top five fastest-growing brands are internationally-based. These include Terrazas de los Andes (Argentina), Roscato (Italy), Folonari (Italy), Murphy-Goode (U.S.), The Little Sheep of New Zealand (New Zealand).
Additionally, the list of fastest-growing wine varietals are largely produced outside of the United States, including Gamay, Cinsault, Brunello, Petite Sirah, and Carmenere.
4. Demographics and Price Points Are Shifting
Women continue to make up the largest share of wine consumers (58.77 percent), but men are closing the gap, jumping from 38.71 percent in 2019 to 41.23 percent in 2020. Male consumers are purchasing significantly more wine than women in several categories, like Dessert Wine, Sake, Vermouth, Madeira, and Ice Wine.
And across genders, buyers are spending more per bottle, as indicated by a seven percent increase in the average price of the Top 20 wines. “Consumers trading up slightly when it comes to wine purchases,” Paquette says.
Moreover; the share for the $20 to 25 price range is up five percent from 2019, while the $10 to $15 range decreased by 10 percent, “signaling a consumer shift toward more premium offerings over bargain hunting,” Paquette adds. Top-selling wines at the higher price point that retailers can consider adding to their inventory include Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label Champagne, Whispering Angel Rosé, and Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon.