|Unseasonably mild, the mustard cover arrives early.|
Recently released Direct to Consumer Wine Symposium data announced that DtC grew to a value of more than $3 billion in 2018(over 6,000 million cases!). Sure, prices have gone up, but that's still a number 6 times larger than 2011 when this blog started. Just a few decades ago, California wine producers were limited to shipping consumer direct to just 13 reciprocal(tax) states(wineries would show a color-coded U.S. map, and then turn disappointed visitors away). To date, only five(5) states now prohibit direct-to-consumer wine shipments: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi and Utah. Of course, that's not without increasingly complicated and burdensome bureaucratic regulations for the small wineries. And, on the bright side, it has given birth to a new integrated industry: Compliance.
It has also given thousands of small producers an effective alternative to local on/off premise retailers, and those limited placements with out of state wholesale distributors. In the current Direct to Consumer Wine Shipping Report, almost half of 2018 shipments were from small producers(less than 1000 cases), and only about 1% were generated from large producers(over 500K cases, annually). But, the increased opportunity to sell more wine effectively in more places to more wine loving customers comes increasingly at a cost.
Texas(a big market) is currently tightening regulations and required reportings' for wine shipments originating from out of state. Remote wine sellers with shipments into Iowa with revenues above a new threshold must now collect state and local taxes, and apply for permits; also its applicable to shippers with more than 200 state transactions. Also starting this month, North Carolina requires producers holding wholesale and direct-to-consumer permits to report more sales(and customers) frequently and now use a newly revised annual excise tax form.
|Discover & celebrate along the Texaswinetrail|
Their average bottle price reached more than $36 above an average DtC Sonoma wine. According to Chet Klingensmith of Wines Vines Analytics, "Napa County seemingly priced itself out of the market(DtC) in 2018." While we wait for those prices to correct, we can still find values abounding from throughout the diverse marketplace. It may be that El Dorado AVA Zinfandel, or a newly discovered Loire Muscadet(white), or even an obscure Piemonte's Brachetto(red). All we have to do is search and inquire and take a chance to drink in the changes.