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

Lizzy Connolly
June 21, 2021

Wine direct-to-consumer (DtC) shipments continue to shift as the marketplace works to regain stability after a difficult economic year. 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. 

Similar to last month, we are now comparing to COVID-impacted periods from last year and the on-site tasting room business continues to return. Volume growth fell double digits versus a year ago for the second consecutive month. Like April though, May dollar growth was still positive.  Consequently, the average bottle price shipped rose almost $6 versus levels from one year ago.

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

DtC Shipments

  • In May, DtC shipments reached $302.6M and 718K cases shipped.
  • Versus two years ago (pre-COVID), DtC shipment growth continued to be very robust – in the +25% percent range on both dollars and volume. This is likely a result of both on-site tasting room business not yet being where it was pre-COVID, and wineries  having adapted in expanding the effectiveness and efficiency of their DtC business beyond the tasting room during COVID.
  • In the less expensive price tiers ($20 and below) volume has declined compared to last year, whereas more expensive price tier ($50 and above) volume is up double digits. It’s likely that some consumers who may have come into the DtC market at lower price tiers may have now shifted back to the retail market for their wine purchases.
  • Smaller wineries (50K and below) performed better than larger ones (over 50K) in May 2021.

Retail Off-premise

  • In May, retail off-premise sales reached $1.4B and 14.7K cases.
  • With comparisons against COVID-impacted months a year ago and some channel shifting back to on-premise, it again is not surprising that wine off-premise retail sales fell significantly versus one year ago – it is down double digits on dollars, and even larger volume declines.
  • Higher end wines continue to perform well in retail off-premise, with sales expanding even further versus the hypered levels from one year ago. It’s likely that some Napa and other premium wineries had shifted allocations to the off-premise during COVID, and both retailers and consumers were delighted to sell and buy them.
  • Sparkling was once again the best performing wine type.

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

Take Action

Download the Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Reporting for an in-depth look at the 2020 DtC wine shipping market.

Sign up for Email Updates

Stay up to date with the latest tax and compliance updates that may impact your business.


Lizzy Connolly

Share This Post

North America ShipCompliant
May 25, 2023
Out-of-State Breweries Gain Self Distribution, DtC Rights in Oregon

Under a settlement agreement, breweries located outside of Oregon now have more options for selling into the Beaver State, including direct-to-consumer (DtC) shipping and self-distribution to retailers. The settlement arose out of a lawsuit filed by a group of Washington breweries last year challenging Oregon laws that limited beer self-distribution to in-state breweries and DtC […]

EMEA VAT & Fiscal Reporting
May 24, 2023
VAT and Art: What you need to know

Significant inflation increases have impacted most of the world’s economies, with the UK still above 10% in 2023. This increase means a reduction in the purchasing power of consumers. Together with increases in the cost of raw materials, this has created uncertainty regarding growth of entire industrial departments and reduced profit margins for companies. The […]

North America ShipCompliant
May 23, 2023
Top 5 Myths Surrounding Retailer Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping

By Tom Wark, Executive Director, National Association of Wine Retailers Politics breed myths. This has always been the case as politics is, at its most fundamental, a form of storytelling. So it should be no surprise that myths have arisen as various elements of the wine industry have fought against consumers and specialty wine retailer seeking […]

May 23, 2023
IPT: Location of Risk and Territoriality

Much of the discussion on the Location of Risk triggering a country’s entitlement to levy insurance premium tax (IPT) and parafiscal charges focuses on the rules for different types of insurance. European Union (EU) Directive 2009/138/EC (Solvency II) set out these rules. However, a related topic of growing importance in this area concerns territoriality, i.e. […]

Asia Pacific E-Invoicing Compliance
May 23, 2023
Japan: New e-Invoice Retention Requirements

Japan’s new e-invoice retention requirements are part of the country’s latest Electronic Record Retention Law (ERRL) reform. Along with measures such as the Qualified Invoice System (QIS) and the possibility to issue and send invoices electronically via PEPPOL, Japan is implementing different indirect tax control measures, seeking to reduce tax evasion and promote digital transformation. […]