According to a survey by the market research giant Nielsen, 12% of those Americans who bought alcohol in the last six months did so online. And wine accounted for 42% of those alcohol purchases.

Interesting analysis by Vivino, the US wine rating and sharing app, revealed reveals that its top five wines investigated by US consumers were:

  • Gallo’s Apothic Red
  • Marqués De Riscal Rioja Reserva
  • Meiomi Pinot Noir
  • Casillero Del Diablo
  • Catena Zapata’s Cantena Malbec.

Vivino concludes that if wine producers want to be successful, they should follow a formula combining the common features of these wines:
Smooth and fruity with generous amounts of residual sugar;
totally consistent (none of this vintage nonsense, just carefully engineered, mass produced and blended so that every bottle tastes identical);
classy marketing as a bit European, even if they’re not (apart from the Rioja);
priced $10 to $22 – the sweet spot for mid-range wines.

These two studies make a telling story. However you cut it, the Internet is making an ever-growing impact on wine purchases in USA. Inter-state wine shipping is becoming easier and easier, helping to drive “Internetization”. Wine “clubs” masquerading as small bespoke operations are pushing to exploit the opportunities (as an example of this, the widely advertised Firstleaf subscription club is actually a part of Time Inc. megacorporation). Even individual wineries, both here in Georgia and across USA, are creating their own wine clubs to ship their wines (with or without the help of a specialist partner). I can’t see this changing in the near future.

This move towards the Internet marketplace does carry a big challenge, though. Boutique wineries we find in North Georgia may find their wines being compared for quality and price both with similar wineries in other states and also mass producers masquerading as gallant little operations. I wonder how this will all work out with the ultimate judges, the wine drinking public.