Direct-to-Consumer Wine Sales Growing in Lodi, California


Direct-to-Consumer Wine Sales Growing in Lodi, California

Wineries throughout Lodi are shipping bottles of their wine directly to customers all over the United States, and business is booming.

“We’ve seen a tremendous amount of growth in direct-to-consumer shipments and direct-to-consumer business here in Lodi,” said Stuart Spencer, program manager for the Lodi Wine Commission.

Tasting room business is booming, and wine shipments are trending up for the majority of Lodi’s more than 80 wineries, he said.

Lodi isn’t alone. Ship Compliant by Sovos and Wine & Vines Analytics have released their 2018 Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Report, which looks at trends for 2017.

In 2017, wine lovers spent $2.69 billion on direct-to-consumer wine shipments throughout the country, showing annual growth of 15.5 percent. That translates to more than 5.78 million cases of wine, the report said.

Wineries in Sonoma County and Oregon saw the largest amount of growth, and Napa County continued to dominate the direct-to-consumer market, the Wine Institute said. Much of the rest of California saw growth too, but not much — but the report didn’t look at the Lodi wine region.

While the Lodi Wine Commission doesn’t collect statistics on direct-to-consumer shipping volume or growth, individual wineries have reported that business is booming — not just in shipping, but in tasting room visits and sales as well.

“We’re seeing a lot of growth. I think our numbers probably reflect that as well,” said Jeremy Trettevik, owner of Jeremy Wine Co.

The winery does most of its shipping within California, but also gets visitors from all over — New York, New Jersey, Texas and Canada.

“The amount of out-of-state traffic we’re now seeing coming into the tasting room — it’s outstanding,” he said.

David Lucas, owner of Lucas Winery, agreed.

“The visitor traffic is just phenomenal,” he said.

When his winery first began selling wine, Lucas found himself traveling all over the state and outside the U.S. to find new customers, going shop to shop. He needed a distributor to help get his wine out in front of customers.

Now, most of his business comes from wine club members, with more tourists visiting his tasting room and signing up all the time.

At Acquiesce Winery, owner Sue Tipton has seen growth every year since the winery opened in 2012.

“All of our sales are direct-to-consumer, and we’ve been sold out since early November,” she said.

That’s been true every year since the winery opened, even though Acquiesce increases production every year. This fall, they’re hoping to double the amount of wine they sell, Tipton said.

None of Acquiesce’s wines — the winery focuses on niche Rhone-style whites — are found in supermarkets. All of its sales are through its tasting room and wine club shipments, she said.

And Michael David Winery saw its direct-to-consumer business grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to Sara Helmers, the winery’s direct-to-consumer manager.

“Here at Michael David, we’re very, very pleased with the way that Lodi is trending upward,” she said.

The winery has more than 7,000 wine club members, she said.

“I’ve heard it from other wineries too, that things are going well,” she added.