Washington wine shipments plunged by 19% in the second quarter relative to the same period last year, and have fallen by 15% during the first six months of 2020. The pandemic has impacted the state’s large and small wineries in roughly equal measure.
Distribution channel shipments were down sharply as surging grocery and chain store sales haven’t been enough to offset declines at independent retailers and restaurants. Direct-to-Consumer sales/shipments have held up better, though the modest second quarter decline represents a sharp reversal from 10% growth in 2019.
Despite the steep decline in overall shipments, some Washington wineries have weathered the storm relatively unscathed or even seen their sales grow.
The 2020 Washington State grape crop is progressing nicely in terms of both quality and size. But flagging wine sales are casting a pall over a grape market that was already oversupplied prior to the start of the pandemic.
There was some improvement in the June shipment figures, and the second half of the year should be stronger provided there are no major setbacks with the virus.