Syrah Outsells Chardonnay for First Time Ever

Wine.com, the #1 online wine store, today announced the results of a study of wine consumption trends for the first half of 2008, based on consumer purchases on the Wine.com website from January through June. For the first time ever, revenue and unit volume of the red wine varietal Syrah (also called Shiraz) outpaced Chardonnay, the number one selling white wine. While Chardonnay volume increased 20% over the same six month period the prior year, Syrah grew 47% during the period. Both varietals at Wine.com had an average retail selling price over $20, placing them in the ultra-premium category.

"What you'd typically see in national wine consumption statistics that rely largely on supermarket scanner data, place Syrah/Shiraz at 3% and Chardonnay at 23%," said Michael Osborn, Wine.com Founder and VP of Merchandising. "Wine.com consumers buy wines you'll find at fine restaurants, and in that world Syrah purchasing ranks at 11% and is growing in popularity."

Syrah purchases grew 47% during the period, to take over as the second largest wine varietal after Cabernet Sauvignon. After Cabernet and Syrah, the next best selling red wine varietals were Bordeaux blends, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Rhone red blends, Malbec and Sangiovese. After Chardonnay, the top consumption white wines were Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris/Grigio, Riesling, Rhone white blends and Viognier. Triple digit growth categories were Tempranillo at 119% and Viognier at 140%.

California remains the largest wine growing region at 30% of sales, but imports made up 63% of volume lead by Australia (19%), South America (17%), France (8%), Italy (8%) and Spain (6%). The fastest-growing regions in unit volume were South America at 88%, Bordeaux at 36% and Spain and Australia, both at 25%.

For more details about the study or for custom queries of region and varietal consumption data, contact press@wine.com.

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