Most Popular Wine Varietals Shipped in 2023 and More

Rachel Hoffman | February 16, 2024

Last month, Sovos ShipCompliant and WineBusiness Analytics released the 2024 Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Report, marking the fourteenth consecutive collaboration between the two companies. Alex Koral and Andrew Adams presented an overview of the data and analysis from the report, highlighting key trends and statistics. Here, we summarize some of the noteworthy findings starting with the top wine varietals for the year. 

Top wine varietals in 2023 

The most-shipped direct-to-consumer (DtC) wine varietals have exhibited consistency over recent years, with Cabernet Sauvignon leading the pack in both volume (16.5%) and average bottle price ($85.96) last year. Pinot Noir, Red Blends, Chardonnay and Other Reds rounded out the Top 5 List. Notably, standout varietals like Chardonnay, Sparkling wines, Rose and Sauvignon Blanc, which dominated in previous years, experienced more significant declines than the overall channel. 

Wineries by size 

The largest winery size segment remains limited production, comprising wineries producing fewer than 1,000 cases annually, a large pool of truly small producers. These wineries constitute over half of the country’s total, and despite a slight 1% decrease mentioned by Adams at Unified, the numbers remain robust. The current count of U.S. wineries stands at 11,654. 

Volume and value of shipments 

2023 marked the second consecutive year of decline in volume shipped, with a 10.3% decrease in 2022 and a 6.5% decrease in 2023. Contextualizing these numbers, there was a substantial (27% and 1.4%, respectively) increase in shipments in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, forcing wineries to shift significantly to DtC shipping amid tasting room closures. However, a decade-long perspective reveals an upward trend in the volume of shipments. 

While 2020 and 2021 were anomalies in the value growth of the DtC wine shipping market, the market retained a $4.1 billion valuation in 2023—$1 billion more than in 2019. 

Average price per bottle shipped 

In 2023, there was a noteworthy 7.1% increase in the average price of bottle shipped. This surge is propelled by Napa County wines, averaging $86.43 a bottle, while Sonoma wines hover at $33.04.  

Since 2012, the average price has consistently grown, despite a notable 9.5% dip in 2020, driven by pandemic buying habits. The market witnessed a decline in sales of bottles priced below $60, while ultra-premium wines priced over $200 contributed to the overall value growth. 

What’s next for Wine Varietals? 

Wineries planning for the next few years can use this information to their advantage. Whether commanding high prices or focusing on lower-priced wines (under $30), there are opportunities in the diverse DtC consumer landscape. Despite concerns about consumer sentiment and appetite, the DtC channel remains robust. 

From a regulatory standpoint, Alaska made significant changes to DtC shipping in the state. There remains optimism that Delaware may open to DtC shipments, and New Jersey may remove its production cap. Age verification and volume checks have been on the rise in the last few years, and we don’t see that stopping. While there’s no telling what may happen in 2024, Sovos ShipCompliant is ready to keep you informed of changes as they unfold. 

Take Action

Download the 2024 Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Report for the latest information and data on the state of the market.