United Wine & Grape Symposium Top Takeaways

United Wine & Grape Symposium Top Takeaways

For 28 years, the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium has served as a beacon of rich insights for wine and grape industry professionals. This year, the epic event returned to downtown Sacramento for an in-person gathering—the first in three years due to the pandemic. The 2022 conference included 7,000 attendees and over 850 trade show vendors. The highly-anticipated State of the Industry Seminar included frequent Jenny Heizen referral partner and trusted insider, Mario Zepponi of Zepponi and Co. Now, let’s get to what you need to know.

Forecast: The industry is stable with a chance of oversupply

While short crops eliminated a glut of wine grapes, the potential for overproduction still exists. According to Tim Hearden of Western Farm Press, two years ago, Allied Grape Growers’ president Jeff Bitter made waves by calling for a 30,000-acre reduction in West Coast wine grape acreage to correct an oversupply of fruit. Growers responded by taking out about half of those acres, mostly where it was more difficult to turn a profit. But two short crops in 2020 and ‘21 cured the glut and stabilized the industry, at least for now. Bitter elaborates:
“With us having another short crop last year, things have changed. Based on bearing acreage, we can produce 4 million tons again for several years, so in the future there could be a cause for concern. But right now, the industry is stable.”
Between COVID-19 and California wildfires, the past year has been winning for some and less so for others.

The COVID-19 Impact

Danny Brager of Brager Beverage Alcohol Consulting shares, “Coronavirus-related tasting-room and restaurant closures have accelerated the growth of e-commerce since 2020. In 2021, wineries moved 2 million more cases via online direct-to-consumer sales than in 2019, and these transactions now represent 10% of all sales.”

Evolving Trends

With more alcoholic beverages available than ever (and a $1.4 billion dollar  marketing push for craft beers, seltzers, ciders, and cannabis-infused options) only 17% of wine drinkers consume wine exclusively. While we know overall U.S. retail wine sales dropped 6.2% in 2021, we also know that
  • Premium wines over $50 jumped 46%
  • Sparkling wine sales rose 11%
  • The wine industry spent just over $80 million in marketing last year
  • Off-premise sales from the Napa and Paso Robles regions are pacesetters for the West.
Ultimately, know that rebounding wine markets are sparking an optimistic atmosphere.
Want to learn more about what to expect in the year ahead? Connect with California's #1 Vineyard Real Estate Broker, Jenny Heinzen, for the proven expertise you need to achieve your goals.
Call (805) 260-0581 or email  [email protected] today.

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