Sainsbury's is SO expanding

18 May, 2007

Sainsbury's is planning to launch more organic wines after outperforming the market by a fifth since repositioning the wines within the main range.

The supermarket is also filling the gaps in its successful Taste the Difference upper tier of own-labels, and is hinting at an English addition. Meanwhile, resident winemaker Barry Dick is working with Cecchi on what is claimed to be the first "SuperTuscan" wine developed by a UK supermarket.

At last week's trade tasting in London, product quality manager Howard Winn said SO Organic wines were replicating the success of the food branded with the same logo. "We're completely bucking the market," he said, adding that the line was up 20 per cent against a n organic wine market that is "basically flat."

He said: "We took a conscious decision to put them back into the main range rather than a separate display and show people that you can have Italian Pinot Grigio or SO Organic Pinot Grigio."

Sainsbury's has 21 organic wine SKUs, with full bottles priced at £4.99 and £5.99, sourced from South Africa, France, Italy, Argentina and Chile.

"The advantage we've got now is there are more organic producers coming on stream and a great base to choose from," Winn said.

The forthcoming Taste the Difference SuperTuscan is a blend of the region's trademark Sangiovese with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, aged for two years in the barrel. It will retail at £9.99.

Winn said the Taste the Difference range had evolved partly through planning and partly chance discoveries. "With Grüner Veltliner, I designed the label for that three years before we could find a wine to match the label," he said.

"It's got to be the top tier, none of this business of having two levels. I'm only going to do one, and it will be the best I can do at a reasonable price. "

Sainsbury's fine wine collection has been trimmed down dramatically to

avoid availability problems created by small parcels being split among a wide estate. "We've really honed down the selection because one store would sell out and one wouldn't, so we've reduced the range and we're buying much bigger parcels. These are wines that sell themselves, known labels ," Winn said.

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