Analysis of sales in food and drug stores tracked by ACNielsen shows varietal wines priced under $6 are still the most popular. (It is important to note that many, if not most, food and drug stores do not sell wines costing $40, $50 or more a bottle). However, sales of wines $6 and above are seeing the strongest growth rates.
Between July 2003 and February 2006, overall wine sales rose 22.6 percent. The largest growth was in wines priced $15 and above, which gained 123 percent. However, those wines only account for about 2 percent of the market. By far the largest volume of wine sold in food stores is priced below $6 per 750 ml; a category that includes jug and 5-liter boxed wines. This category's market share is declining. Between July 2003 and July 2004, this category was responsible for 71 percent of the sales volume. Between February 2005 and February 2006, that market share fell 6 percent.
The overall average bottle price has risen from $4.73 to $5.48, but most of that increase came because the cheapest wines are getting slightly pricier.