SCHAUMBURG, Ill. --
Reports of red wine's health benefits helped the segment outpace overall category growth by 40% during the 20 weeks ending March 10, according to The Nielsen Co. Last November, medical studies found that daily doses of resveratrol, a substance present in red wine, may slow the aging process. “The younger, millennial generation, once a surer bet for domestic beers, are increasingly turning to wine and other adult beverages, while boomers and seniors, who often have significant discretionary incomes, may be especially interested in the health effects of red wine,” said Danny Brager, vice president of client service for Nielsen Beverage Alcohol, in a statement. In the 20 weeks ending March 10, red wines accounted for 52.9% of table wine dollars, up from 51.5% in the comparable period the previous year. Prior to the release of the studies, white wine growth was 9.3%, outpacing red wine increases of 8.4%. Since then, red wine dollar sales have increased by 8.5%, versus white wine sales, which are up 4.8%. The top two red wine varietals -- cabernet sauvignon and merlot -- were up 12.9% and 5.3%, respectively, in volume growth for the 20 weeks ending March 10, while pinots noirs saw a 24% volume growth. Along with news of health benefits, other factors are helping wine, including increased distribution in grocery and convenience stores and other channels, and more convenient packaging innovations, such as screw tops and premium boxed wines. “At the same time, we‘re seeing many consumers drinking better and trading up to more expensive, premium brands,” Brager said.