California wines priced over $25 a bottle are a very hot segment of the wine industry today.

Wines in this category sell with remarkable velocity, are highly publicized and have given California wines a remarkable reputation worldwide. Virtually nonexistent 15 years ago, this category, valued at over $1 billion, now sells 3 million cases (36 million bottles) per year and is growing at 25% annually according to MKF Research. Yet surprisingly there is very little accurate sales data available for this impressive and growing segment of the wine market.

Now, MKF Research, a division of Motto Kryla & Fisher LLP, the leading management consultants and research experts in the U.S. wine industry, will address this important issue as well as the overall lack of accurate, detailed premium wine sales data with its latest research project -- Wine Trends.

According to Vic Motto, this research project, now underway, will provide ongoing quarterly and annual data of aggregate winery sales of every major wine varietal by price point and by individual domestic and export markets. He noted that other high-end consumer goods already have in-depth, accurate market research, which is successfully used by top marketing executives to manage market share, pricing, and profitability.

"Most of the vintners we have contacted agreed that this data is the most-needed sales information in the wine industry today," Motto noted.

Increasing Winery Profits

The Wine Trends research will help wineries in long- and short-range planning for premium wine production, marketing and sales. Importantly, Wine Trends will also provide clear insights into major trends and shifts in wine varietals, wine pricing, and distribution by channel and by market.

Christian Miller, director of the project, believes "Wine Trends will fill the 'black hole' that exists in current wine sales data, which has severe limitations in market coverage. Using Wine Trends research, wineries will have a better understanding of where the greatest opportunities are, how price segments are changing and how premium wine categories are performing -- overall and by specific markets, including the export market. This competitive advantage will lead to higher winery profits through optimum pricing and promotion policies and through more efficient use of human and capital resources."

Top Researchers Working on Wine Trends

MKF has appointed four top research experts to lead its Wine Trends project. Christian Miller, an MBA with 15 years in wine market research, has been named director of market research for MKF and director of the Wine Trends project. Miller has extensive experience in wine industry and consumer market research, including former marketing positions with Sebastiani Vineyards and Kendall-Jackson.

Miller will work with others, including Dr. Eric Sims, director of MKF Research, who has a Ph.D. in wine economics and was a Fulbright scholar. Sims's special expertise on the California wine industry and in agricultural economics complements Miller's industry experience. Wendy Lindroos has joined MKF as research analyst with broad experience as a professional researcher in economics and market research. Dr. Igor Zlimen, Ph.D., is in charge of technical services and the research database.

Several MKF wine business consultants will also contribute to the market analysis. "We believe that we have assembled the top research team in the wine industry to provide the industry with this long-sought-after data," said Motto. "It's time for the wine industry to join the information age."

Technology Supports Wine Research

Wine Trends research will leverage MKF'S ongoing study of California wine sales in every U.S. state, over 300 U.S. metropolitan markets, and in every export market in the world. Actual detailed sales data by product is being collected and added to the MKF database. A sophisticated econometric computer model developed for this purpose by MKF will facilitate analysis of this extensive data.

Zlimen, who previously analyzed complex advanced experimental physics data at Lawrence Berkeley Lab said, "This sophisticated and powerful tool is a unique resource to the wine industry. With it, we'll be able to analyze world-wide sales of California wine in ways never before seen."

In order for wineries to obtain this research, they must participate in the research project. For complete information call Christian Miller at 707/963-9222.