2023 Unified Wine and Grape Symposium

2023 Unified Wine and Grape Symposium

The wine industry’s leading trade show, the 29th Annual Unified Wine and Grape Symposium covers topics from vineyard efficiency, marketing trends, and consumer data to harvest equipment, technology and the future of agriculture.
This year Jenny and Randy Heinzen joined over 10,000 people in Sacramento, California to learn, connect, and share over 3 full days of presentations and workshops. Now we’re sharing the most important insights with you!
39 Wine & Grape Industry Takeaways:

Big Picture

  • Inflation pressure is real

  • Wine must catch up to other spirits in terms of pushing price tiers

  • The industry needs younger consumers to choose wine more frequently

  • The industry needs more high-end vineyards for wines over $25/bottle.

New Consumers

  • New consumers seek quality over quantity

  • Believe wine is healthier than other forms of alcohol

  • Flavor and convenience factor into their purchasing decisions

  • They’re also deeply conscious around perception and how their choice of beverage impacts their identity

Evolving Audience

  • The number of alcohol abstainers is growing

  • Consumers are increasing health conscious

  • 21-34 year-olds old purchasing wine lags compared to alternative products, which is problematic when 80% of drinkers still drink the first alcohol beverage they started with

  • Younger multicultural consumers are less likely to pick up wine because they don’t like taste

  • In terms of consumer metrics, 75% of high frequency and high-end consumers are white

  • Keep in mind—by 2040, 1 in 5 Americans will be over 60

Consumer Attitudes

  • 82% of Americans believe carbon dioxide should be regulated and private industry should participate 

  • 75% of consumers are willing to spend more for environmentally-friendly wine, but this same group doesn’t have an understanding of meaningful metrics and doesn’t trust self-reporting private industries

  • Symposium speakers encourage winemakers to not only add sustainable certifications to labels, but also clearly explain why it’s important

  • 50% of consumers believe wine has more sugar than other alcohols

Marketing & Technology

  • According to Google, you lose 50% of consumers if your website doesn’t load in 3 seconds

  • Consider video tours of vineyards and using grape sales marketing and links for wine consumers

Alternative Beverages 

  • The ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktail category is bigger than all alternative wine packaging

  • Gallo is by far biggest producer by 3x

  • RTD’s are more popular than American whiskey, rum and tequila.

  • Low to no alcohol products take market share from soda and water

  • 4 of 5 of such buyers also buy alcoholic drinks

Current Grape Sales

  • Coastal demand and price is strong

  • California inventory levels are higher now compared to 2022—even after a short harvest

  • Buyers are willing to sign longer term deals for needed varieties

  • For San Luis Obispo County, and Paso Robles in particular, demand looks good compared to outside regions

  • Lodi and Delta areas are experiencing grower/buyer pressure more so than other regions in state

  • Select varieties are reaching their limit—for example, Valley Cab Sauv shifted from $8 to less than $6 per gallon recently

  • Bulk market activity is sluggish since Valley Cab Sauv inventory has grown problematic

2023 Survey of Grapevine Nurseries:

  • 43% white and 57% red

  • Cab Sauv and Chardonnay are still king

  • Pinot Noir pulling back

  • Merlot, Syrah, and Petite Sirah continue to be relatively strong

  • Sauv Blanc is third largest purchased, doubled from last year (acreage will grow by 8.4% based on plantings)

Looking Ahead

  • Expect supply limitation due to under performance of the largest wineries combined with the cost of doing business in California 

  • More contracted grapes and less on-the-spot market

Key Event Highlights 

The 2023 Unified Wine and Grape Symposium Gold Medal was awarded to our treasured friend and client, Georges Daou of DAOU Vineyards.
The ceremony introduction summed up the accolade beautifully with, “Their wines continue to challenge the status quo and prove that Paso Robles produces some of the best wines in the world and is shaping the future of the region.”
Speaking in response to the honor, Georges Daou shared, “Our motto from day one was, live the dream in Paso. It makes me very happy to continue investing in Paso Robles.”
Among Jenny Heinzen’s all-time favorite clients, she’s been privileged to sell the Daou family a vineyard adjacent to DAOU mountain and recently sold one of their personal properties off-market.
Paso Robles Vineyard & Winery Real Estate
California's #1 vineyard broker, Jenny Heinzen is the trusted agent for wine industry clients, investment funds, and high-net-worth individuals. Equipped with over two decades of insider expertise and $250+ million in closed real estate transactions, count on Jenny to achieve your most ambitious goals.
Contact Jenny at (805) 260-0581 or [email protected].

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If you're looking for a proven Paso Robles vineyard and winery expert, Jenny Heinzen is prepared to listen, share expertise, and deliver on your goals.