Pinot Noir is HOT

The Pinot bandwagon still apparently has lots of room on it.

ACNielsen’s Scantrack shows that sales of Pinot Noir in America rose 75% in volume and in value for the 4 weeks ending May 7. The 52 week increase up to the same date is 28.5% in volume sales and a 33% increase in total value.

It appears that the only thing in the way of Pinot sales continuing to grow is access to grapes. Pinot Noir sales in the U.S still only represent 2.1% of all wine sales.

Posted In: Wine Business


5 Responses

  1. maggie - September 1, 2005

    Don’t get me wrong…anything that gets people to drink more Pinot Noir is good.
    But. But…. But, Pinot Noir to me is the best example of the battle for the wine world’s soul. As in, MANUFACTURED versus MADE wine. As in, what’s more important: where the wine comes from, how it’s made, or the brand? (in this case the “brand” is a grape)
    That’s where we on our little electronic soap boxes can make a difference. So when I see numbers like this, I ask what do they really mean…..and what level of interest is there really? Is this just a grocery store choice of chocolate over vanilla, bran over granola? Or is this a choice of lighter-styled wines, a summer surge, or broadening of horizons.Obviously, we hope for the later.

  2. Tom - September 1, 2005

    I think what these stats mean is simply that there is much more interest in Pinot today than a year ago. Clearly, grocery stores and big brands are pushing a lot of $10 Pinot.
    However, perhaps this is how you introduce the consumer who may not be willing to spend the money on the good stuff to the varietal and thereby lead them to the good stuff eventually.

  3. Christian Pillsbury - September 1, 2005

    I don’t have the current Nielsen in front of me. Are we looking at Pinot replacing other varietals, or are we looking at a net gain in wine consumption? As far as I’m concerned, a gain is a gain. I’d rather people were drinking souless wines than abstaining.
    I’m also convinced that getting a new consumer excited about a varietal leads to exploration of wine, which leads to enthousiasm and increased quality over time.

  4. Anonymous - September 1, 2005

    I’m not sure if Pinot is replacing anything in particular. Overall, table wine sales are up roughly 3% by volume for both the most recent 4 week period as well as the most recent 52 week period. Pinot sales start from a very small base. So, this huge increase is easier to achieve than say, chardonnay, which starts with much greater volume.
    But I agree. More wine drinkers has no downside.

  5. James G. Lester - September 9, 2005

    Hello all,
    I have been growing Pinot Noir in Southwest Michigan since 1984. I fell in love with Burgundy, have spent a small fortune on it, and totally believe in that “terrior” thing. I found a spot that seems to produce a wine more like Burgundy than anything I have tasted from the left coast. So I have been direct selling my wines to individuals and restaurants by the case here. As you may know, current wholesaler forces are trying to kill my ability to self-distribute.
    In any case to the point of Pinot sales heating up, I think it represents an awakening of sorts in the minds of the US consumer. True, like lambs, they went running to the wineshop after seeing “Sideways”. But the movie also had plenty of dialog about the mystique of the grape and excellent information regarding Pinot’s fickle and difficult nature. So the Pinot surge is about searching for that mystique–that “Pinot experience” which all of us Pinot lovers have had and can’t stop talking about! And I am just optimistic enough to believe that this may represent a clean break from the “Coca Cola” mentality most neophyte wine consumers have been blinded by.
    Jim Lester

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