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Paul Franson

Paul Franson

Although it seems irrelevant to most Napa Valley wineries, premium wine in boxes is the fastest-growing major format.

At the recent Unified Wine and Grape Symposium, the wine business’ biggest annual trade show, Danny Brager of Nielsen research reported that Constellation Brands’ Black Box is no. 3 and Napa-based Delicato Family Vineyards’ Bota Box no. 5 in year-to-year increases among wine brands.

Local Trinchero Family Estates also supplies the Wine Cube to Target stores and packages Bandit wine in cartons.

Brager also said that boxes of all sizes represent close to 20 percent of wine volume.

The Bota Box and Black brands are up by 28 percent, seven times as fast as the total table wine category. Napa-based CEO Chris Indelicato of Delicato Family Vineyards said the winery sold 5 million cases of Bota Box wines in 2016.

Of course, the overall boxed wine volume includes larger 5-liter boxes such as The Wine Group’s Franzia and Gallo’s Peter Vella.

According to research firm IRI data, which doesn’t include the whole market and varies from Nielsen, Franzia’ 5-liter value box was the third largest brand with $337 million in sales in the 52 weeks ending Jan. 17 on 12.3 million cases but up only 1.1 percent.

It was beat in sales only by Gallo’s Barefoot bottles at $666 million, up 3 percent and Trinchero’s Sutter Home also in bottles at $366 million, up 2.8 percent.

But premium 3-liter boxes are growing much faster than 5-liter boxes and premium 750-ml and 1.5-liter cartons are also booming.

Black Box Wines sold $163 million in premium boxes and Bota Box sold $114 million worth.

Meanwhile, the market for wines selling for less than $8 per bottle isn’t growing, but it’s still large: Brager points out that 58 percent of the wine packaged in glass sells for less than $8, though that represents just over one third of the dollars).

He also said that a surprising 28 percent of table wine volume is in 1.5-liter or larger glass bottles or jugs.

According to IRI, total boxed wines sales for the 52 months ending Jan. 22 were $576 million, $278 million value and $299 premium. However, the premium category grew at 24 percent while the value category slipped 1.9 percent.

Those represent 4 percent and 4.4 percent of the overall table wine market measured by IRI, which it valued for the 52 weeks ending Jan. 22 at $6.8 billion.

Naples Wine Festival raises $15 million

The 2017 Naples Winter Wine Festival’s live auction in Naples, Florida, raised more than $15 million, bringing the total amount raised since its inception in 2001 to over $161 million.

Many Napa vintners are big supporters of the auction. Local vintner Jeff Gargiulo was festival co-chairman.

Women of the Vine & Spirits to stream symposium

After selling out 700 tickets in a matter of hours, Women of the Vine & Spirits will stream keynote speakers and general sessions worldwide, live and on-demand, for its third annual Women of the Vine & Spirits Global Symposium, March 13-15 at the Meritage Resort & Spa in Napa.

Individuals may register at womenofthevine.com.

The live stream fee is $30 for members of the Women of the Vine & Spirits Alliance, $55 for others. Visit www.womenofthevine.com.

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