Wine shipments from the US state of California are estimated to have reached a retail value of $40bn in 2018, which is 3% higher than in 2017.

According to figures released by the Wine Institute, sales to all markets were 285 million cases last year. Of the total, 248 million cases were distributed to locations throughout the US.

Wine Institute president and CEO Robert P. Koch said: “Consumer interest in premium wines continues to be the dominant trend. As consumers trade up, our California wines are emphasising high-quality, value and sustainable winegrowing.”

Shipments of sparkling wine and champagne to the US market reached 27.4 million cases in 2018, which was up by 4% compared to the previous year. This accounted for a 7% share of the US wine market.

Editor of the Gomberg Fredrikson Report and founder of beer, wine and spirits market analysis company bw166 Jon Moramarco said: “California wine shipments experienced a 15% volume growth in the US over the last decade, and increased 6 million cases in 2018 over the previous year.

“Baby Boomers are still the driving force in wine consumption, but while sales are still growing, it’s slowing as the Boomer generation ages and presumably drinks less. Wine marketers are working to maintain the interest of baby boomers and attract generation X’ers and millennials with new and different wines.”

Moramarco further explained that direct-to-consumer wine sales showed a continued growth as a key channel, recording sales of more than six million cases with a retail value of $3bn in 2018. This was an increase of 9% in volume and 12% in value over the previous year.