Moscato sales are still rocketing in the US

Moscato sales are still rocketing in the US

The on-going rise of Moscato in the US is pinching share from Riesling wines, while the growth of blends is affecting Pinot Noir and Malbec sales, according to a Nielsen analyst. 

During a presentation at Vinexpo on Wednesday (19 June), Nielsen senior VP Danny Brager flagged that Moscato is now the US' third-biggest-selling white wine varietal. US volumes of the variety have grown by 24.1% in the last year, while sales by value are up 22.8%, Brager said. 

Its growth, dubbed 'Moscato Madness', and increasing sales of blends is moving some share from other varities, he added. "The shift in volumes to Moscato is coming from Riesling, while blends are disproportionately affecting Pinot Noirs and Malbecs," Brager said. 

Blends represent 40% of new wine products currently, he said. 

Moscato and blends are also bringing in a new demographic of wine drinkers to the category. "They are attracting young people and multi-cultural wine drinkers - Hispanics and African Americans are actually drinking more of these sorts of wines than more traditional wines," Brager said.  

A new sub-category of "ligh-bodied" wines, beyond light wines, is also emerging in the US, which are low alcohol but have a light fizz, the Nielsen analyst suggested. Retail sales in this new category totalled around US$15m last year.

On packaging, Brager noted that sales of three-litre wine boxes increased 16% in value last year, with volumes up 9.1%. 

Meanwhile, on imports into the US, Argentina was up 16.8% in value, and New Zealand wines are leading growth. 

On a wider scale, Brager noted that the blurring of lines between alcohol categories is increasing. "You have some products that look like a wine bottle, but are actually based on a beer," he said.