We received positive news late last month regarding our state funding appropriation for the upcoming State Fiscal Year beginning on April 1. In his budget proposal, Governor Cuomo restored NYWGF’s funding to its pre-COVID amount. While two months remain until the Governor and Legislature agree to a final state budget, this commitment from the Governor provides NYWGF the assurance to properly plan an organizational budget and programming plan for the upcoming fiscal year. NYWGF extends its gratitude to our champions within the Executive Branch: Pat Hooker, Commissioner Ball, Steve McGrattan, Lisa Brooks, Kevin King, and Stefan Fleming.
We shifted our membership program last Fall to focus on providing the industry capacity building services. COVID caused a shift in consumer alcohol spending and comfort level towards e-commerce. We will remain focused on connecting New York’s wineries with industry leading experts in accounting, marketing, business planning, and sales. I highly recommend participating in the Business Day Sessions at this year’s B.E.V. NY as we have recruited an impactful line-up of speakers.
I took time over the past week to review the recently released Sovos ShipComplaint 2021 DtC Wine Shipping Report. They observed that “Wineries in New York, Virginia, Texas, Idaho, Michigan and other non-West Coast states outperformed the overall DtC shipping channel with a 34.7% increase in volume of shipments and a 30.6% increase in the value of those shipments.” And they noted some other positive trends for key varietal grown in New York, “Pinot Gris, at $16.75 per bottle, increased in volume of shipments by 38.5%. Riesling, which accounted for 6.1% of all shipments from the Rest of U.S. region, improved its volume by 35.2% over 2019. Meanwhile, Rosé shipments increased by 42.5% while also seeing an 8.6% increase in the average price per bottle shipped, demonstrating the momentum of Rosé sales.”
The time is now to lock-in your DtC game plan for 2021. Silicon Valley Bank, Nielsen, and Sovos all reported that during COVID, the wine industry attracted new customers who ordered wine direct for the first time. These new wine consumers were younger and looking for cheaper wines. Sovos observed that consumers retreated to purchasing more modestly priced wines, as “Shipments of wines under $30 were up 41.6 percent while wines over $100 fell 2 percent.” More importantly, recent industry surveys predict that Millennials will be less likely than Gen Z to return to wine tasting rooms. And, remote work will remain a Millennial preference after the pandemic wanes. Sovos reports that, “Remote workers have been shown to buy wine on a more frequent basis than those who work outside the house.” This all leads Sovos to conclude that DtC will remain an important channel as Millennials become the majority wine consumers.
NYWGF has built up a catalog of webinars centered on DtC best practices and they are available to NYWGF members; with more planned this year. Don’t miss your chance to use this winter to ramp up your E-Commerce strategy and expand your following of wine enthusiasts.