This has been an interesting year for the wine business. While not exhaustive, let’s look back on some of the key events that molded our wonderfully odd direct wine sales industry this year (individual articles quoted as referenced):
January – The DTC Symposium moves to SF from Napa – and is met with great success and more attendees than ever. Guess Direct to Consumer might be around for awhile…
February – New Jersey opens up to direct shipping unlocking one of the last big wine-consuming states.
March – Care Act “Off the Table” – According to reports, distributors have decided not to pursue passage of the “Community Alcohol Regulator Effectiveness Act” – a bill that basically stripped away many of our rights to ship wine to consumers.
April– In 2010, the U.S. consumed more wine than France for the first time ever. (Although France still consumes more wine per capita than the U.S)
May – Wine Business reports Gallo pays a record price for Monterey Vineyard ($18 Million for Force Canyon). This is followed up by Gallo purchases through the rest of the year in Lake County, Washington and San Luis Obispo.
June – WineDirect acquired Vin65 in a move that shocked many – uniting two key direct vendors of wineries.
July – Businessweek reports the retail industry is experiencing a tectonic shift in consumer behavior fueled by the popularity of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Already, some observers are predicting that mobile commerce (m-commerce) may eventually dominate e-commerce as shoppers are won over by the control mobile gives them over their shopping experience. What’s at stake is wallet share of a total e-commerce market that is expected to generate $1 trillion revenue worldwide by 2014.
August – Crushpad – the custom-crush company in Napa faced a financial crisis, and left many of its boutique brands holding their must.
September – Wines & Vines reported that wineries producing less than 50.000 cases per year collected 74 percent of the $1.4 billion, 12-month total for DTC shipments through July 2012. Shipments by wineries in all size categories except one grow in value, with a total growth rate of 10 percent.
October – California reports a “near perfect” harvest with a disease-free wine grape harvest estimates at $3.7 million after a string of disappointing vintages.
November – Wines and Vines reports the number of North American wineries grow to a record high of 7,954 (an increase of 1.5% since January 2012).
December – Time reports that there is no longer a “black Friday”. What’s happened is that Black Friday has grown so big that it cannot be contained in a single 24-hour period, and its sales and promotions are no longer limited to the stuff displayed on shelves and racks at the mall. Today, Black Friday begins Thanksgiving morning (if not earlier), when retailers flood e-mail subscribers with special online shopping offers. It stretches on to Thanksgiving night, when stores open their doors for Black Friday door busters several hours before Friday arrives. All through the long holiday weekend, the stream of sales and promotions continues, encompassing every mode of shopping known to man.