Merlot is still a tough sell in the larger, off-premise wine market. According to a Wines Vines Analytics report based on data by the market research group IRI, Merlot was on the major varietal to see a sales decline falling 6% to $563 million in the past 52 weeks ending July 15. But consumers could be seeking out higher quality Merlots from better sites as direct-to-consumer shipments of Merlot increased nearly 10% in the last 12 months ending in July. The total value of all Merlot shipments increased from $65 million in the 12 months ending April 2017 to $72 million in the same period ending April 2018. Merlot's average bottle price also increased from $30.53 to $32.46.