wine sales

How wine is sold, consumed and marketed is changing—and a lot of it will be evident this year.

The wine industry must revitalize itself to keep up with how people want to buy and drink wine, so you can expect some different things from your favorite vino labels this year.

Here are 10 trends to look out for in 2019 and how you can stay ahead of these trends.

1. Expect wine sales to grow — but only slightly

Even with the growing consumption of liquor and craft beer, wine is still having its moment, especially among women. Expect wine sales to grow on average 6% this year and continue to grow to the $43 billion mark by 2020. Women, who purchase 57% of all wine, are drinking more wine than ever and are attributing to this growth.

2. Expect to see some eye-catching labels

Looks matter more than ever for wine consumers. As millennials buy more and more wine, a study from Portland State University showed this group used the bottle’s label as one of the primary factors when deciding the wine’s worth and which to purchase. Millennials are relying less and less on reading about the wine ahead of time and are going with how the label makes them feel when deciding which brand to purchase.

3. Direct-to-consumer sales will rise

Wineries are skipping the middleman and are selling their wine straight to consumers. The direct-to-consumer (DTC) channel hit the $3.1 billion mark in 2017 and is expected to continue to grow by 11% this year. It is expected to reach $5.2 billion by 2020.

When selling through the DTC channel, wineries can offer vintages or labels exclusive to wine club members or customers visiting the winery to help increase sales by offering exclusivity. Alcohol shipping laws are also slowly changing across the country, making it easier for the DTC channel to flourish.

4. Can-it

How consumers drink wine is also changing. Expect to see more wine in a can, as the new consumer wants wine that keeps up with his or her lifestyle. Union Wine Company attributed its wine in a can line as its main driver of growth in 2018.

Other labels are following suit, and with good reason: total canned wine sales saw a 43% increase in sales between June 2017 and June 2018. The brand Yes Way Rose announced in late March that it will be launching its brand in a can starting this April in Target.

Consumers can take the can tailgating or to a bachelorette party, or anywhere really.

5. Premium is king

Wine drinkers are willing to pay more for a good bottle of wine, and expect that trend to continue to grow. Premium wines, defined as wine priced at $10 a bottle and up, will grow between 4 and 8% in 2019, according to Silicon Valley Bank’s State of the Wine Industry report.

Premium sales grew in 2018 and will see this slow but steady increase this year as well. The growth can be attributed to Baby Boomers being in their peak spending years and a few years of consistent economic growth, according to the SVB report.

Big-box retailers like Target are taking note of the trend and deciding to cater to this market. Target launched its new offering called The Collection this March, priced at $10 a bottle. The move also showcases consumers shopping more at big-box retailers for their wine.

6. Pacific wonderland

Oregon vineyards will be the bright spot among domestic vineyards in 2019. Oregon wines will continue to pique the interest of large wine companies that will be willing to pay high acquisition prices for the land, according to SVB. Oregon and Washington will both see double-digit growth this year. The report predicted Oregon will have a record harvest and that it will sell out its production of pinot noir.

7. Home is where the wine is

New consumers are gravitating toward sharing wine with friends over food in the comfort of their own home.

With millennials emerging as the primary wine consumer, they’re starting to refuse to pay the markup for wine in restaurants. 80% of all wine consumption is now done “off-premises”—or in other words, at home and not in restaurants or bars.

8. Values and ingredients matter

The new wine consumer cares about a brand’s values and wants to ensure who they’re purchasing from has matching values. Consumers want to connect with the story behind the vineyard when making their purchase.

With health consciousness on the rise, consumers are also educating themselves on what’s inside the bottle, according to Winc. Drinkers care if the product is organic, where it was grown, and if the ingredients are natural. Even vegan wines are on the rise, as consumers are demanding more plant-based products.

As a label, you can play into this desire by having ingredients and your story on the label and on your website.

9. Technology and wine continue to grow

The wine industry is not exempt from technology changing the industry’s dynamic.

Some restaurants and bars now offer iPads for ordering. Uncorked claimed a 20% increase in wine sales for bottles that had photos of the labels and tasting notes on the menu. Labels can start using this to their advantage.

As in-home wine consumption grows, so will on-demand delivery of wine in major cities. Apps such as Grizzly and Uber will continue to see success.

Scanning technology is also on the rise. Consumers want the ability to take a photo of a label they enjoy and find a way or where to purchase it for future enjoyment.

10. Enotourism

While most of the drinking is done at home vs bars, wine drinkers are willing to travel for wine and experiences.

Enotourism, or travel aimed at wine regions, has been on the rise for nearly a decade and shows no sign of slowing down.

Wine and food tourism in Europe accounted for the primary travel reason for nearly 600,000 trips annually, according to the UN’s World Tourism Organization. Wine and food was the secondary reason for travel for another 20 million trips.

Allowing customers to visit your winery and offering experiences like yoga in the vineyard or food tastings will help them further connect with your brand.

How you can stay ahead of the trends

There’s a lot of exciting changes happening in the wine industry. And while it can be tempting to want your brand to try them all, it’s best to analyze one or two of the trends that make the most sense for your brand and focus on those.

You’ll want to make sure any changes your brand makes are ones it can afford and will pay off in sales.

Interested in the changing consumer? Learn more here:

Meredith Galante

Meredith Galante is a freelance writer based in New York City. She has been published in USA Today, amNewYork, Newsday, Square and more. She's interviewed then-Mayor Cory Booker, Ryan Seacrest, and other New Jersey folks who made their community better. She's covered breaking news, sports, features, and now frequently writes about small businesses.