ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Wine is the second fastest-growing beverage category behind bottled water, accounting for more than $3.6 billion in supermarket sales last year, according to Information Resources Inc., Chicago.
The top 10 supermarket chains account for 53% of these wine sales, with chardonnay as the varietal with the highest volume share, followed by white zinfandel, merlot and cabernet sauvignon.
The fact that most wines are promoted by country or region and not by brand name opens up vast opportunities for private-label vendors to enter the playing field. For this reason, among others, the wine category was showcased for the first time at the annual Private Label Manufacturers Association trade show, themed "Legend of Store Brands," held here recently.
Thirty-two booths occupied by about 21 exhibitors featured wines and spirits from several countries, including South Africa and Australia.
According to Brian Sharoff, PLMA president, the approximately 2,600 different branded wine labels currently on the market can sometimes confuse the consumer, who needs to consider several factors like the year and price range when making a purchase. Private-label wines not only can offer high quality at low price points, but also offer the support of the local retailer in rationalizing all of the choices on grocery shelves.