Why Are There So Many New Wine Clubs?

I wrote the other day about the new American Airlines Wine Club and it brought up a question: why are there so many new wine clubs?

Here’s the graph of direct to consumer wine sales over the past few years:

If you’re scoring a home, the growth rate between 1.33 and 3.2 is something akin to 150% in 9 years. Yes, there’s an average growth rate in direct to consumer wine sales of about 10% per year.

Overall wine sales during the same time period have grown at approximately 3% per year. So while direct to consumer wine sales don’t make up the entirety of the growth in wine sales, it is by far the fastest growing portion of the wine market.

In terms of new wine clubs, we know a few things out of the gate. First, it’s a hell of a lot easier if you already have a massive email list, or if you can take a loss on some initial sales to get customers in the front door (therein was the issue with my wine club).

So will we see this trend continue in terms of direct to consumer wine sales? Heck yes. This is a major, major point of focus for wineries. Also, will be see a continued increase in the number of new wine clubs? Seems likely. I will caution that for many of these new players, especially from previously established brands, you’ll have to answer a very basic question, why are you here other than to make money?

So why are there so many new wine clubs? Because the industry is growing, although much of that growth is still centered in wineries focusing on their own lists and wine clubs, some new players are growing rapidly. I’ll be taking a deep dive into one of those in the coming days: FirstLeaf.

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