According to a recent by the Symphony IRI Group, red wine blends have emerged as the clear winner in terms of retail growth in 2012, showing a 26% increase in year to date sales.
In a fairly-distant second place was Sauv Blanc, with New Zealand leading the group (which isn’t too big of a surprise).
Cab is in third with a 7% growth, but still leads overall U.S. wine sales with $507 million.
“The Cabernet story is about premium, premium, premium. Cabernet is up more than 27% in the $20-plus category,” said Curtis Mann, the director of client insights for wine for the Symphony IRI Group, the Chicago-based market firm which conducted the research.
And then there’s Syrah…
Syrah/Shiraz, as a category, was easily the biggest loser by percentage of sales, dropping by 16% in year to date sale. Even Aussie brand Yellow Tail wasn’t left unharmed, with its Shiraz sales also dropping. One common criticism of Syrah is that styles of the wine vary so widely that consumers don’t know what to expect when they buy a bottle.
Poor old Syrah! Everyone had such high hopes for you, at least, those who knew what you’re capable of…and also those who just like to pretend they can predict future wine trends. You know who you are!
So what’s the explanation for the sudden increase in red blend/Meritage sales? I’m not too sure. The only two reasons I can think of are:
– As “un-academic” of a reason as it may be, new wine drinkers seem to like asking for “a blend” when ordering/buying wine – something I know because I ran a wine bar for 7 years. It helps newbie drinkers sound like they know what they’re talking about, in that they have gone one step beyond asking for a wine simply by grape type, and instead have started entering into the world of “wine lingo.”
– My second reason is that the vast majority of red blends on the market (under $15 retail)seem to have been blended in such as way that makes them…..well…sweeter. It’s no secret that new wine drinkers tend to skew sweeter, especially if they’re trying to make the transition from white to red.