(Newsroom America) -- As the economy continued to stabilize in 2012, wine consumption increased for the 19th straight year, according to The Beverage Information Group's recently released 2013 Wine Handbook.
Overturned blue laws, relaxed restrictions on direct shipments, and customers trading up to more premium-priced wines all led to the industry's success last year, it said.
According to the 2013 Wine Handbook, the wine industry grew 1.9% last year to reach 318.0 million 9-liter cases.
Consumers' interest in sweet wines, un-oaked chardonnays and red blends helped spur the Table Wine category to increase 1.8% to reach 292.4 million 9-liter cases. Domestics grew 2.0% and imported table wine increased 1.5%. The Champagne and Sparkling Wine category also posted positive results.
The off-premise saw a 2.2% increase in cases and a 4.5% increase in dollars, but on-premise wine sales began to slow toward the last half of 2012 due to economic uncertainty. Total wine dollar sales grew to $28.9 billion last year with off-premise accounting for 56.4%, while on-premise accounted for only 43.6%.
While the on-premise had its struggles, direct-to-consumer wine shipments saw success, contributing $1.4 billion to the industry. Direct shipping data is now detailed in the 2013 Wine Handbook, including data by volume, region, price category and varietal.
"What started out as a primary way for boutique wineries to get their product to the public has gotten the attention of larger wineries as well," says Adam Rogers, Senior Research Analyst, The Beverage Information Group, Norwalk, Conn. "These larger wineries are choosing direct shipping as wholesalers consolidate."
The 2013 Wine Handbook is the leading source for U.S. wine sales and consumption trends. It includes wine consumption analysis; the top 50 metro markets; supplier performance; advertising expenditures; consumer drinking preferences; and economic/demographic data.