The economy may continue to be shaky, but wine consumption in the U.S. in 2012 increased for the 19th straight year.
The Beverage Information Group (BIG) credits the elimination of some states' blue laws prohibiting Sunday sales, relaxed restrictions on direct shipments, and customers trading up to more premium-priced wines.
BIG's recently-released "2013 Wine Handbook" says the wine industry grew 1.9% last year to 318.0 million 9-liter cases.
Consumers' interest in sweet wines, unoaked chardonnays and red blends helped the table wine category to increase 1.8% to reach 292.4 million 9-liter cases. Domestics grew 2.0% and imported table wine increased 1.5%. The Champagne and sparkling wine category also posted positive results.
Direct-to-consumer wine shipments saw success, contributing $1.4 billion to the industry.
"What started out as a primary way for boutique wineries to get their product to the public has gotten the attention of larger wineries as well," said Adam Rogers, BIG senior research analyst. "These larger wineries are choosing direct shipping as wholesalers consolidate."