In 2020, the pandemic caused producers and consumers of wine to embrace ecommerce to a degree nobody could have expected. As 2021 begins, a widely followed industry report and wine retailers predict online wine sales will continue to grow.

With many restaurants, bars and tasting rooms closed during the pandemic, wine sales (online and offline) were flat in 2020, according to the latest annual U.S. wine industry report from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). The report says year-over-year sales growth was in the range of negative 1% to positive 1%.

But online sales, while still a small part of the overall market, soared, says Rob McMillan, senior vice president of SVB, founder of its wine division and author of the report. He estimates total online wine sales for wine—by sellers of all kinds, including wineries, restaurants and retailers—grew from about $600 million in 2019 to close to $2 billion in 2020. That means U.S. online sales now represent about 3% of the U.S. wine market, up from 1% in 2019.

Ecommerce has grown even faster for wineries that sell directly to consumers. Before COVID-19, online sales represented about 2% of total sales for an average winery, McMillan says. By November 2020, those sales soared to an average of 10% of total revenue. By 2030, online sales could grow to 20% of the average winery’s revenue, he says.

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