Wine Sales at C-Stores Have Room to Grow

The number of convenience stores selling wine rose 6%, with more than half now selling it. 

August 07, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Although table wine sales at c-stores were relatively flat last year, the future is still bright, and sales have increased during the pandemic, the Wine Curmudgeon reports.

Average sales of wine per store totaled $14,357 in 2019, compared with $14,425 in 2018, according to NACS State of the Industry data. The number of c-stores selling wine rose 6% last year to more than 52%, according to NACS SOI data.

“I think the percentage of stores selling wine is the more important stat,” said Jeff Lenard, NACS spokesman. “As we have seen with fresh items in stores, it takes time to grow the offer and raise awareness so that customers can expect to find quality wine in a store. And in many cases, it’s a wine offer that is more curated, so that’s even more difficult for stores to add.”

Wine sales dropped 0.5% per store in 2019—in-line with the overall U.S. wine sales. However, early reports seem to point to c-store wine sales skyrocketing this year because the pandemic closed restaurant and bars while convenience stores stayed open as essential businesses.

Some convenience stores are becoming known for their wine selections. For example, in Miami, El Carajo boasts a 2,500-plus bottle wine shop and an acclaimed international tapas restaurant, while High Country Market Bistro & GastroPub in Round Rock, Texas, has virtual wine tastings on tap. The wine shop in Basecamp Wilson in Wilson, Wyo., even has an in-house sommelier, as reported by NACS Magazine.