If you're buying wine online, you're probably shopping at Wine.com: the online retailer, which ships to 43 states, shipped more than 2.5 million bottles of wine this year. Now, Wine.com has released its top-selling wines of 2012, and the list reveals what bottles we're popping open this year.
Here's a breakdown of the biggest wine trends of the year, based on the stats from Wine.com:
California still rules the wine market, but Italy is close behind. Forty of the top 100 bottles come from California; but another 12 come from Italy. That might seem like small potatoes to some, but it's double the number of Italian wines on the 2011 Wine.com best-seller's list. The majority of the Italian wines came from Tuscany, with Veneto close behind.
As Mike Osborn, the founder of Wine.com, explained, the Italian wine growth has much to do with the availability and price points of wines not only in Italy, but worldwide. If another wine region, like California, suffers from rising prices and limited availability of vintages, consumers start turning to other regions, like Italy. And fortunately, that means better prices. "Eight of the 12 Italian wines on our list we sell for less than $20," Osborn said. "And all but one of those wines were rated at 90 [points] or higher." That's a bang for your buck.
The close runner-up to Italy? South America, where 10 of the top 100 are from. You all are really loving your malbecs and cabernet sauvignons. Again, Osborne said, it's the quality that wins out — at exceptional prices. The rounder, "picnic wines," as Osborn calls them, are easily sold for $20 in Napa, but lower production costs means Chilean or Argentina wines are half that price.
And it seems we are a cabernet sauvignon amd chardonnay nation. Twenty-nine of the wines on the list are cabernet sauvignon varietals; South America, California, and Washington wine regions took the stage with their cabernet sauvignons. In fact, numbers one and five through 10 on the top 10 chart were cabernet sauvignons. The number one best-selling wine of 2012? The Columbia Crest Two Vines Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 from Columbia Valley, Wash. (Perhaps it's Columbia Crest fueling the booming Washington wine region.) And it's a steal at $8.99.
Close behind the cabernet sauvignon? Chardonnay. "Chardonnay is the number one selling varietal in the U.S.," Osborn said, and Wine.com's top 100 list most definitely reflects that.
Americans also love their imported wines. The Wine.com stats differ a bit from the U.S. Department of Commerce stats, which say that 30 percent of all wines purchased in the U.S. were imported. However, the Wine.com list is evenly split between imported and domestic wines.
And it's apparent from these stats that Americans aren't afraid to spend money on wine. The average is $28 per bottle for Wine.com users, Osborn said. It could be because of the specialty wines Wine.com sells, but it's on par with the national average.
Now you know: Italian wines, cabernet sauvignons, and chardonnays are the top-sellers. We can drink to that...