Within a notoriously fragmented wine industry, a number of brands have succeeded in building a presence that makes them household names.
This year’s list of the 10 biggest wine brands by global volume sales shows little movement within the rankings, although with nearly all the featured labels in growth, it is clear that any newcomers hoping to break into this powerful group have their work cut out.
One notable omission from this collection of brands due to an absence of reliable sales data, is a number of big hitters from China such as Great Wall, Dynasty or Changyu. Although almost all their production is sold domestically, making them little known outside the Far East, you can be sure that major global brand owners looking to tap into the growing base of Chinese consumers are watching them carefully.
One to watch in particular is the state-owned Great Wall, the country’s largest with annual sales estimated at over 15 million bottles. Not content with dominating the domestic production scene, Cofco indicated last year that it had plans to expand its vineyard holdings into other countries too.
Another Chinese casting its gaze further afield is Changyu, which last year named its new €70m facility after Austrian producer Lenz Moser, who consults for a brand that is now available around the world, including UK merchant Berry Bros & Rudd.
That said, although the impact of government austerity measures has been more keenly felt in the luxury spirits sector, there are signs that China’s rapidly expanding domestic wine scene is currently experiencing a marked slowdown.
The recent IWSR Domestic Volume Report – China 2014 reported that local still light wines “declined sharply as the official banqueting business collapsed.” As a result, it recorded a -15% volume decline in China’s wine production last year.
Until China rallies again, as it surely will, it is no coincidence that the world’s other great, but still relatively untapped source of wine consumers continues to provide a significant number of brands in this list.
The US may have a population of over 300 million, but only one third of Americans over the legal age of 21 currently drink wine, according to Stephanie Gallo, vice-president of marketing for her family business.
Nevertheless, slowly but surely, that figure is increasing as wine steadily builds itself a place in popular culture. According to the Californian Wine Institute, in 2012, per capita wine consumption in the US was 2.73 gallons (12.4 litres), up from 2.68 gallons the year before. (These figures include those not of legal drinking age).
That’s an attractive prospect for any wine brand whose business holds a solid base in the US. As even Starbucks gets in on the wine retail act, Gallo puts it, “There is nowhere to go but up.”
Read on to discover the full list and analysis of the world’s top 10 wine brands, based on data sourced either directly from the brands themselves or industry estimates.