Friday, March 7, 2008

Star Struck Winers on the West Coast

We all know that animals on wine labels help sell wines. But it appears, and is probably is a no-brainer, that a celebrity on the label also sells wine. Especially on the west coast.

The Nielsen Company has released a report that celebrity wines are up nearly 19% in grocery store sales since last year. In liquor stores, celebrity wines have grown only at 8%. Celebrity spirits have shown a 19% increase in grocery stores and 21% increase in liquor stores. There is a chart showing steady growth in celebrity wines since 2000. Sales have risen during that time from about $5 million in sales to about $40 million.

Interestingly enough, people appear to be willing to pay more for celebrity wines. They are paying an average of $8.50 per bottle for celebrity wine, versus $5.75 per bottle of table wine. Most celebrity wines are priced at $12-$15.

Sales of celebrity wines are higher on the west coast. That should not be any big surprise. Sales in Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Dallas all show above average sales of celebrity wines.

I have purchased some celebrity wines, though not because of the celebrity. I have bought them because I either tasted them and liked them or because they came recommended. I like Greg Norman's Australian wines as well as some of Francis Ford Coppola's wines. Yet I would probably never touch the Martha Stewart wines. I don't recall too many wine blogs that have reviewed many celebrity wines.

So, how do you feel about celebrity wines? And are there any that you enjoy?


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Taster B said...

Hi Richard,
Does this category include wines with celebrity labels like Marilyn Merlot? Or were they just talking about celebrity wine makers/producers?

Just curious...Either way, interesting data.

Richard Auffrey said...

The article did not really specify though it seemed to me that it would include any celebrity related wine, including the Mariyln Merlot wines.

Taster A said...

I was reading this article and was thinking about Marilyn Merlot but I see someone has beaten me to the punch.

The one I've always wanted to try is Fes Parker's. I remember seeing an interview with Fes about 20 years ago when he was still in real estate and I believe just started his winery. I do not recall that he used his name.

This morning I watched a video and saw a tasting demonstration with Fes Parker wine. I have never purchased wine with MM or Elvis Presley on the label. My thoughts are that it's a wine label, not a postage stamp. What's in the bottle should be valued. But then, I'm not gravitated towards animals on labels either.

But the marketing stats are what they are.