Today’s U.S. wine market is a product of Byzantine post-Prohibition legislation, with wineries ranging from tiny micro brands to multinational conglomerates, imports arriving from every wine-producing region in the world, and new generations of consumers competing with established core wine drinkers for the attention of the entire industry.
The U.S. wine market presents a complex set of challenges for wineries who want to compete effectively:
- The U.S. is poised to become the world’s largest wine market over the next two years;
- The number of domestic and imported brands competing on retail shelves has exploded;
- To gain market share, multinational corporations market national brands (often with narrow margins) through multi-state distributors;
- The repeal of Prohibition gave the power to regulate wine sales to each state and county, which has created an astoundingly complex maze of laws;
- Wine distribution in the U.S. has been undergoing consolidation through mergers and supplier alliances, creating multi-state distributors focused on national brands;
- “Big box” and national chain retailers often dictate product pricing and selection through the buying power they wield with the multi-state distributors;
- New generations of consumers are showing a remarkable and growing interest in wine;
- Consumers are turning to the internet for information about, and buying wines directly from wineries.
U.S. wineries have responded to the challenges of the market through developing consumer-direct sales and building relationships directly with loyal customers. Tasting rooms, wine clubs, events, and especially the web have enabled domestic wineries to communicate with, and in many circumstances, sell directly to interested consumers.
Until now, foreign wineries have had no mechanism to sell directly to U.S. consumers, so they don’t even try. This puts imports at a disadvantage, especially among new and young wine consumers who tend to turn the internet first for information, interaction, and purchasing. The unique Whole World WinesSM solution creates a seamless purchase by a U.S. wine consumer directly through a foreign winery’s website.