At the Wine Market Council’s annual meeting in Napa, CA, members learned their customers want to drink better wines, but not necessarily more wines, and in a lightning round led by Emma Swain, CEO of St. Supéry Estate Vineyards and Winery, members learned that convenience in how customers buy and consume wine is paramount.
The keynote speaker at last week’s Napa gathering, Christian Navarro, president and co-owner of Wally’s Wine and Spirits and Wally’s Beverly Hills, told his audience that wine retailers, like other retailers all over America, need to be nimble and capable of change.
Navarro explained how Wally’s has gone from a traditional retailer depending on a steady Hollywood clientele to one offering food and other beverage options within its shop. The store has expanded its use of data to better understand and connect with its customers.
Wine Market Council research found more than 20% of consumers had increased spending on wine for everyday drinking. But it was not all bright news. The research also found that 29% of casual drinkers were drinking less wine than they used to. Some cited health reasons, others money and others said they were attending fewer wine-drinking occasions.
The Cannabis Industry
Nicole Bierig Jordan, vice president of commercial strategy and analytics at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, cautioned that cannabis posed a threat to wine sales as well.
“I would be really concerned about the impact of cannabis on the next generation,” she said. Based on tax information she has reviewed from places that have legalized cannabis, she sees consumers choosing marijuana over drinks before dinner.