The Data: Wine DtC Shipments and Off-Premise Retail (July 2021 Special Report)

Lizzy Connolly
August 30, 2021

Summer is winding down and the wine landscape continues to fluctuate in response to the pandemic. Staying mindful of marketplace data will ensure the industry can properly adjust to any ebbs and flows, helping wine producers, retailers and consumers alike. 

Nielsen is collaborating with Wines Vines Analytics and Sovos ShipCompliant to provide a much more comprehensive view of the U.S. off-premise wine category than ever previously available, with a data product that enables both separate and combined views of retail off-premise sales and DtC shipments. 

We are now comparing to COVID-impacted periods from last year, with the on-site tasting room business continuing to return. Volume growth fell double digits versus a year ago for the second consecutive month. The DtC shipment channel is proving to be considerably more resilient than wine sales in retail off-premise. ​The average bottle price shipped is well above the levels we saw one year ago (and is closer to the DtC average bottle prices of 2 years ago) – to almost $5 more than levels from one year ago. 

Here are some highlights from the most recent data, along with commentary from Nielsen consultant Danny Brager.

DtC Shipments (H4)

  • In July, DtC shipments hit $180.9M and 451.3K cases shipped.
  • Versus two years ago (pre-COVID), DtC shipment growth continues to be very robust – +41% on volume and +53% on dollars – a strong indication that many wineries have adapted in expanding the effectiveness and efficiency of their DtC business.​
  • Once again, growth was led by higher price tiers (minimum $30+) with $100+ the strongest tier, and less than $30 tiers in decline. Some consumers who may have come into the DtC market at lower price tiers may have shifted back to the retail market for their wine purchases.  ​
  • Oregon and Rest of California led the way in July volume growth, but on dollars, Napa and  Central Coast were well up versus levels from one year ago. 

Retail Off-premise (H4)

  • In July, retail off-premise sales reached $1.4B and 13.8K cases.
  • As expected, with the return to the on-premise (to some degree), along with comparisons to large year ago comps in the off-premise, sales in this channel declined  – though the rate of decline continued to moderate versus where it was in April and May. ​
  • At the same time, versus two years ago, off-premise sales are still up on dollars, but barely up on volume.​
  • While there is still evidence of trading up activity (dollar growth rates are better than volume), the price/mix difference is tighter than it was during the first year of the pandemic – i.e. premiumization is moderating.
  • Wine declines versus one year ago, and gains versus two years ago remain well below Spirits, and not better than Beer, the latter benefiting from Hard Seltzers and other ‘non core’ Beer-related segments. Versus two years ago, Wine dollar and volume increases remain significant, but well below Spirit gains.
  • Napa and Oregon origin Wines continue to perform best at retail off-premise, while Sparkling once again was the best performing wine type.


Interested in knowing more (e.g., by price tiers, varietals, origin, winery size, geography)? Contact Danny Brager at


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Check out our 2021 Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Mid-Year Report to learn about what happened in the DtC shipping channel between January and June 2021..

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Lizzy Connolly

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