2016 California Wine Sales in U.S. Hit New Record: 238 Million Cases with Retail Value of $34.1 Billion

May 5, 2017
California wine shipments to the U.S. reached an estimated retail value of $34.1 billion in 2016, up 4.6%. The state shipped an all-time high of 238 million cases to the U.S. in 2016, up 2% from the previous year
California wine sales to all markets, including shipments to the U.S. and exports, also set a record of 285 million cases in 2016.
"Consumers worldwide recognize the high quality of California wines from diverse regions across the state," said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, Wine Institute President and CEO. "As consumers in the U.S. and around the world continue to trade up to premium wines, California is ideally positioned."
"California wines in the U.S. market have increased from 191 million cases shipped in 2006 to 238 million cases in 2016," said Jon Moramarco, founder and managing partner of BW166, who purchased The Gomberg-Fredrikson Report with partners last year. "The growth trend has been driven by population, which is up more than 12% over the last decade, and by the fact that baby boomers, traditionally the large population segment of frequent wine consumers, have been joined by millennials aged 21-38 who are also driving the growth in wine consumption," Moramarco explained.
"The estimated retail value for wine was calculated with an updated methodology that uses a wide variety of government, private, and other statistical data that have not historically been available, such as the direct-to-consumer sales report and Dept. of Commerce data," Moramarco continued. "Consumer expenditures had been growing at a 6.1% annual rate as opposed to the historical estimates of 5.5% previously published, so the retail value was reset for more recent years. The new data sources provided a more comprehensive methodology for calculating consumer expenditures."
2016 Stats at a Glance
Estimated retail value of 2016 California wine sales in the U.S. was $34.1 billion
The state shipped an all-time high of 238 million cases to the U.S. in 2016
Total California wine sales to the U.S. and exports was a record 285 million cases
The U.S. has been the world's largest wine market since 2010
Moramarco pointed out several trends in the U.S. marketplace. Both major retailers and distributors continue to consolidate, creating fierce competition and crowded sales channels. Consequently, many wineries are targeting niche sales channels, such as tasting rooms and direct-to-consumer sales, which have now reached more than 4% of the total volume. Another trend is that California wines selling for $10 and above are showing growth, accounting for 19% of the volume and 40% of the value in U.S. food stores. Wines under $10 are flat or down, but still holding 81% share of the shipment volume and 60% of the revenues.
Americans' access to wine continues to expand with over 550,000 locations that sell wine, according to Nielsen, a global provider of information and insights into consumer preferences and purchases. The number of on- and off-premise locations is about 120,000 more than a decade ago.
"Consumers are finding more "in store" restaurants and bars and also wine service in less traditional locations such as bookstores, nail salons, coffee shops and movie theaters, even car wash and car repair shops," said Danny Brager, Senior Vice President of Nielsen's Beverage Alcohol Practice Area. "Wine is a growing category, and it is being offered in new and different venues, as well as interesting, alternative packaging vehicles, such as cans, single-serve containers, premium boxes and wines on tap."
According to Nielsen measured U.S. food store volume, Chardonnay remains the largest varietal of all wine types accounting for 20% share of the cases, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon (15%), Red Blends including Sweet Reds (12%), Pinot Grigio/Gris (9%), Merlot (7%), Pinot Noir (6%), White Zinfandel/Blush (6%), Moscato/Muscat (5%) and Sauvignon Blanc (5%). The largest gains for whites came from Sauvignon Blanc with Pinot Grigio following well behind. Red wine growth was driven by Red Blends, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. From a smaller base of 1% share, Rosé is on fire with a 35% volume gain, but more than 60% on dollars.
Total shipments of sparkling wine and champagne to the U.S. reached 25.6 million cases in 2016. Up 14% from the previous year, the category is showing very strong growth with Prosecco a key growth driver. Sparkling wines/champagne accounted for a 6% share of the U.S. wine market.
The U.S. Wine Market

Wine shipments to the U.S. from all production sources - California, other states and foreign producers - grew to 399 million cases, up 3% from 2015, with an estimated retail value of nearly $60 billion. The U.S. has remained the world's largest wine market by volume since 2010. California's 238 million cases shipped within the U.S. in 2016 represent a 60% share of the U.S. wine market.
U.S. Wine Exports
U.S. wine exports, 90 percent from California, reached a record $1.62 billion in winery revenues in 2016. Volume shipments were 461 million liters or 51.2 million cases. The European Union's 28-member countries were the top market for U.S. wine exports, accounting for $685 million; followed by Canada, $431 million; Hong Kong, $99 million; Japan, $87 million; China, $82 million; Mexico, $24 million; South Korea, $23 million; Switzerland, $19 million; Singapore, $14 million; and Philippines, $13 million.