Top 10 US wine trends

10. Very significantly, changes in state regulations have allowed a bonanza of direct shipping to consumers for Californian producers and for internet-based shippers.

OnlineEach of America’s 50 states has its own regulations on how wines can be sold and delivered to customers, and some forbid wine shipments originating outside its borders to consumers. But in 2005 the US Supreme Court ruled that if a state permitted wine shipments within a state, it had to permit shipments from out of state – chiefly California – as well.

Since the ruling, some states, though not all, have dropped shipping barriers, expanding wineries’ direct access to customers and providing them with greater profit margins. “That ruling opened the floodgates,” Lazar says. “In general if you look back 10-12 years, many of us increased direct sales by as much as 50%.”

Sonoma-based winemaker and winery consultant Paul Hobbs agrees. “We sell a lot of wine through our wine club and though our mailing lists,” he says. Retailer Morrell concludes: “The whole world is now buying online.”

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