A study from the Wine Institute at Washington State University found that wine shipments dropped 13 percent in 2016, the most recent year for which data is available, to $1.27 billion, a drop of $17 million from the previous year.
The drop was more than five times smaller than the average drop of 13 percent recorded in the previous 10 years, the study found.
“Wine is an increasingly important commodity in the marketplace, with demand outpacing supply,” said Robert Zirbel, Wine Institute director and co-author of the study.
“The decline in wine shipments is significant, but we are still far from bottoming out, especially with a weak economy.
It would be great to see a decline in the number of shipments, especially as the price of wine continues to decline.”
The Wine Institute analysis of wine market data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and Wine Marketing Association of America found that the total wine shipments in 2016 fell by 6 percent from 2015 to 2.4 billion barrels, the first decline since 2006.
That number represents only 5 percent of total U.S. wine sales, the report said.
The Wine Research Association reported in May that wine sales in the U.K. and Germany had increased by 3.6 percent and 3.7 percent respectively from 2015.
Wine sales in France and Italy grew at a similar rate, the Wine Research group said.
As wine prices have fallen, the amount of wine sold has also dropped.
In 2016, wine shipments fell by 2.9 percent to $8.35 billion, down from a peak of $8 billion in 2015, according to the Wine Council, a trade group.
A decline in shipments was largely offset by a rise in sales of imported wines, which rose 5.7% to $13.4 million.
“As we get ready to leave the holiday season, it is vital that the market keep pace with supply growth,” Zirbrun said.
“With the recent decline in shipping volumes, there is little reason for anyone to expect a new record in 2016.”
The number of U.C. Berkeley students enrolled in graduate-level wine programs in 2016 rose to 923, a 5.9% increase from the year before.
This was up from the 892 in 2015.
About 4.2 million students from public universities enrolled in a graduate-degree program in 2016.
“While it is important to remain optimistic, this is a temporary respite in a slow-moving industry,” said Mark DeMoro, a senior associate professor of business administration and economics at the university.
“Graduate students are not getting as much money as they did in previous years, and they will have to keep spending their extra cash on other purchases.
There is little demand for wine these days, and we have to look to other sources of income to keep our universities competitive.”
Wine experts said the decrease in shipments might have to do with the steep price declines in wine that have been on the market for years.
“It could be that the decline in volume has made it more expensive to sell a wine to the consumer,” said Andrew Johnson, an associate professor at the University of Colorado’s Miller School of Business.
“That could be an effect on demand, which in turn could make it more difficult for consumers to purchase a higher-quality wine.”
“Winemakers have been getting hammered for their production and distribution costs,” said Michael Smith, executive director of the Institute of Wine and Spirits.
“In recent years, producers have been selling their wine at significantly higher prices than they did just five or 10 years ago, and this is partly the result of a tightening supply of quality wines.
The increase in wine quality, which is the number one cause of higher prices, is also on the rise.”
The decline in shipings is a sign that the wine industry has been able to keep its customers happy, said David Miller, senior director of communications for the Wine and Spirit Council.
“We’re not going to see another year like 2016,” he said.