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Heard It Through the Grapevine: Wine Trends to Watch For in 2018
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Heard It Through the Grapevine: Wine Trends to Watch For in 2018

It’s a new year, which means manufacturers, retailers and consumers alike are on the lookout for the latest trends within the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) space. And wine is a category to keep an eye on in the search for growth opportunities.

When it comes to wine, there is plenty of diversity within the category itself—ranging across different varieties, price tiers and packaging. Despite the range of wine preferences among legal-aged Americans (age 21+), three areas within the wine category have continued to grow significantly in recent years with no signs of a slowdown any time soon. This year, alternative packaging, rosé and prosecco should remain top of mind for wine producers and distributors, as well as retailers, as three areas of high growth sub-segments within wine.

Same Wine, Alternative Packaging

In an increasingly crowded wine marketplace, wine package design has become a key purchase driver. While we started to see early growth of canned wines back in 2016, it’s clear that glass bottles still own the lion’s share of total wine sales (nearly 73%). However, alternative wine packaging like canned wine, premium boxed wine and Tetra Paks are gaining attention and saw tremendous dollar growth over the last year.

In a recent Nielsen omnibus survey, wine drinkers said they prefer canned and Tetra Pak wine at outdoor events like picnics, festivals and barbeques, while boxed wine is consumed with relaxation and everyday-convenience in mind. Whatever the occasion, wine producers can create stability and continue fostering growth within alternative packaging by driving higher retention with current buyers of alternative packaging.

Rosé All Day

In the last several years, rosé wine has exploded in popularity among wine drinkers. While consumers purchase this varietal throughout the year, sales in U.S. off-premise channels highly skew to summer months and peaked during the week of Independence Day in 2017.

Interestingly, rosé buyers are expanding total wine sales, as consumers are adding rosé to their carts as an addition to other wine varieties they also purchase. For example, rosé shoppers are increasingly adding more white wines, such as chardonnay and white zinfandel, to their baskets compared to a year ago. This indicates that rosé is a popular middle ground for consumers who prefer sweet or dry white wines.

Prosecco on the Rise

Sparkling wine is one of the top wine varietals during the holiday season, and though the holiday cheer has passed, there’s still plenty of growth opportunity for prosecco in particular. Prosecco accounts for nearly 20% of the total sparkling wine category, with dollars rising 21.1% in the last year.

Price is key when it comes to prosecco; more than 30% of sparkling wine purchases are based on price tiers, and prosecco is well positioned as a mid-tier price offering within sparkling wine. More than one-third of prosecco dollars come from the mid-tier price range (between $13-$14 per glass bottle), and this price tier within prosecco has grown nearly 30% in dollars in the last year.

For wine retailers and manufacturers, we expect to continue seeing trends like alternative packaging, rosé and prosecco continue to capture new share and drive dollar growth. Understanding what’s driving the growth of these segments, as well as consumer preferences, is critical for portfolio evaluation and identifying ongoing growth opportunities.

Methodology

Insights from this article were derived from Nielsen’s syndicated report, “Heard It Through the Grapevine: What’s Hot in Wine,” December 2017.