California's wine shipments in the United States were 225 million cases in 2014, up 4.4 percent from the previous year, according to the Wine Institute in San Francisco.
This translates to an estimated retail value of $24.6 billion, up 6.7 percent. California wine sales to all markets, both domestic and international, increased 3.7 percent by volume to 269 million cases in 2014.
“California has had three excellent harvests in both quantity and quality in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and these vintages are receiving global recognition,” said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, president and CEO of the Wine Institute.
“The premium wine segment — $10 and above — is strong and with excellent prospects for continued growth over the next few years,” said wine industry consultant Jon Fredrikson of Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates in Woodside. “The value-priced wine segment has been shrinking because consumers are buying more expensive wine and because of competition from the increasing number of alcohol beverage offerings.”
The United States has been the world's largest wine market since 2010.
Fredrikson explained that value-priced wines made up 75 percent of California table wine volume in 2014, while premium wines accounted for 25 percent of wine volume but almost half (47 percent) of winery revenues.
Because of the consumer transition to higher value wines, dollar sales grew faster than purchase volumes in 2014, according to Nielsen, a global provider of information and insights into consumer preferences and purchases.
According to Nielsen, in measured U.S. off-premise channels, the most popular wine types by volume were Chardonnay (19 percent share), Cabernet Sauvignon (13 percent), Red Blends/Sweet Reds (10 percent), Pinot Grigio (9 percent) and Merlot (8 percent), followed by Moscato (6 percent), Pinot Noir (5 percent), White Zinfandel (5 percent), and Sauvignon Blanc (4 percent). Red blends accounted for the strongest volume gains, along with Moscato, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.