Sheri Hebbeln
November 29, 2013 | Sheri Hebbeln

DTC wine sales on the rise

October was a record-breaking month for direct-to-consumer wine sales, meaning wineries have big opportunities to ship wine. Wines & Vines began tracking DTC sales in 2009, and with $240 million in wine shipments, October has broken the previous record by $16 million. The figures were 8 percent higher than the same month last year. Off-premise wine sales are on the rise as well, meaning there's no shortage of opportunities for wineries to boost their DTC revenue.

DTC has the potential to drive the most sales growth in the next five years, according to Retail Times. Winemakers need to engage with consumers to ensure the buying and fulfillment process runs smoothly. Delegates at the Wine Vision conference in London were surveyed on their opinions about DTC, and many participants feel this channel represents a huge chance for sales growth, but wineries need to do more to connect with their customers. One-third of respondents said the wine industry isn't in tune with casual drinkers. 

That's not the only issue for wineries - rising transportation costs could also have an impact on distribution.

Sure, these challenges will remain significant. But thankfully there are a few small adjustments vintners can make to boost their DTC success.

Chardonnay reigns supreme in off-premise sales
Who's winning the largest portion of DTC and off-premise sales? Chardonnay tops the charts, and vintners should adjust their marketing efforts accordingly. Bottles ranging from $20 to $29 generated $34 million in sales and a volume of 114,000 cases in October, Wines & Vines said. 

DTC trends are an important factor for wineries to consider when selecting varietals to highlight in monthly wine club offerings or wine marketing efforts. Since chardonnay is capturing a significant portion of off-premise sales, it may be worthwhile to emphasize it in promotional materials to increase sales further.

Focus on personalization and convenience
The Wine Vision survey shows the growing importance of acknowledging consumer preferences. Targeted winery websites may be able to help vintners boost online sales, but it's not the only consideration. Efficient shipping and fast, affordable deliveries are also factors for people who buy wine online. 

What's the surefire way to increase DTC revenue? Put customers at the front and center of your strategies and ensure their needs are met. As online wine selling grows in popularity, wine lovers will have more options for purchasing - you'll need to build loyalty now to reap the rewards in the future.



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