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Wine Giants Monopolize U.S. Market

A Californian vineyard belonging to global producer E. and J. Gallo
© E. & J. Gallo | A Californian vineyard belonging to global producer E. and J. Gallo
Brand is king in North America.

Three wine companies – E. & J. Gallo, The Wine Group and Constellation – accounted for nearly half of all the wine sold in America in 2012. Out of the 345.1 million nine-liter cases sold in the U.S., the trio were responsible for 172.3 million cases, or 49.9 percent, according to the 2013 Trends in Adult Beverage (TAB) report from Technomic.

Gallo, the producer of the country’s second-largest brand, Barefoot, and Constellation, owner of Mondavi and Ravenswood, experienced single-figure growth. However, The Wine Group’s sales dropped slightly compared to 2011, with sales of its boxed Franzia 3-liter WineTaps – the largest wine brand in America – falling 8.8 percent in volume.

Top 5 Wine Suppliers by Volume ('000s of 9-liter cases)

RankSupplier2012 volume% Change
1 E & J Gallo Winery 81,730 3.5
2 The Wine Group 49,175 -4.4
3 Constellation 41,448 4.9
4 Trinchero 15,478 3.1
5 Treasury Wine Estates 12,552 -1.9

The U.S wine market’s biggest mover was California’s DFV Wines, which grew by more than 28 percent in 2012. The TAB report suggests that DFV’s growth was driven by its boxed-wine brand Bota Box – an indication of  “consumers' growing acceptance of premium wines in alternative packaging.” The company also boasted the fastest-growing wine brand in the U.S in 2012. Handcraft sold 100,000 nine-liter cases – an increase of nearly 5,000 percent in one year.

Supply constraints presented widespread challenges. Domestic grape and wine production has not kept pace with growing consumer demand in recent years, causing many wine suppliers to turn to international sources. While domestic wine was the primary driver of the industry, imported table wine grew by 1.6 percent, accounting for slightly more than one-fifth of America's total wine consumption.

Suppliers were active in terms of developing new products. Nearly 240 new table wines hit the market in 2012 and more than half were made in America. Many were new varietal or style additions to existing portfolios, often with sweeter flavor profiles and sometimes without varietal or appellation information on the labels. Constellation alone introduced 33 new wines.

"Wine consumers, especially Millennials, gravitated toward more approachable and drinkable wines suitable for a range of dining and social occasions," said Donna Hood Crecca, senior director at Technomic.

"Specialty wines such as sangrias and chocolate wines really took off," she added. "Wine is now part of a casual lifestyle, and domestic wine marketers are looking to satisfy that growing demand with intriguing products."

Fastest-Growing Wine Brands ('000s of 9-liter cases)

BrandSupplier2012 volume% Change
Handcraft DFV Wines 100 4900.0
Josh Cellars Deutsch Family 130 550.0
The Dreaming Tree Constellation 185 236.4
Domino DFV Wines 285 231.4
Primal Roots Constellation 135 125.0

Source: Technomic's 2013 Wine TAB Report

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  • Comments

    John Morrison wrote:
    25-Jul-2013 at 14:07:33 (GMT)

    I can't remember having bought any of these brands.

  • Divit wrote:
    24-Jul-2013 at 02:41:24 (GMT)

    Soul crushing ,Marketing driven wines are more prevalent than ever. My shop tries to promote farmer driven wines from around the world but everyday we are asked if we can get Cupcake or Middle sister or some other manufactured wine with RS and no honesty in its core. I need a glass of Cotes du Rhone!

  • Larry Chandler wrote:
    20-Jul-2013 at 19:31:02 (GMT)

    Yes, most people don't have sophisticated palates. It's why McDonalds has so many restaurants. It's why great literature is rarely on top of the best seller lists. Are the big blockbuster movies that take in billions of dollars really better than the small art films? Why should wine be different? There's a lot of "no soul" in much of what we consume. If you live in a small town with only a bad selection in the stores and your state doesn't allow direct shipping, it's more of a problem, but even then you can make a trip now and then to a larger town or state and stock up. And in real terms, it's not a monopoly. It's good marketing. But you can ignore it.

  • Jnedeau wrote:
    16-Jul-2013 at 19:35:52 (GMT)

    All wines with no soul. Depressing statistics. How can the public be so ignorant to small production real wines?

  • Greatest32 wrote:
    15-Jul-2013 at 19:38:28 (GMT)

    Great title and first sentence. A secondary fact that would add even more punch to the title would be that there are over 7,000 wineries in the USA. The top 30 (less than 1/2 of 1%) control 97% of the volume. Monopoly it is.

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