Easy drinking made easy

28 May, 2010

So Sainsbury’s is revamping its wine shelves (House to shake up Sainsbury’s own-label, OLN May 14). And it has taken the unusual step of listing its wines by “style” rather than country in some bays.

But how unusual is this? I seem to remember Unwins’ Phillips Newman stores adopting a similar approach some five years ago. Given the fate that they met it sounds like it wasn’t particularly successful.

But it really should be. Most consumers who buy their wine in supermarkets probably don’t know much about wine – country of origin, terroir and traditional wine-speak in tasting notes are likely to be pretty meaningless to your average Pinot swiller.

So why not simplify things and at least give a hint of what might be expected from a wine by putting it into a category that embraces a flavour profile, even if that might seem a bit broad? Consumers are more likely to be tempted to try other styles if they are described in a language everyone can understand.

Maybe this approach wasn’t right for the more discerning drinkers who may have frequented Phillips Newman, but it certainly might help to expand the horizons of your everyday Sainsbury’s shopper. I reckon it’s an initiative that might just prove popular across the board.

Jenny Frey?via email??Thumbs up for Oddbins’ natural approachI wanted to applaud Oddbins for piloting natural wines in 10 of its stores and online.

I’m of the opinion that natural wines – ones which are made with as little chemical and technological intervention as possible – taste better than conventional wines.

And not only are they better for your health, but they’re also better for the environment. But I do know I’m in the minority in thinking that.

A lot of critics slate natural wines because of the lack of official certification or requirements, and often describe them as unstable and packed with off-flavours.

So hats off to Simon Baile at Oddbins for backing something he believes in, despite natural wines’ notoriously iffy image.

Ian Pugh?Alresford, Winchester?Praise for ID moveI know I may well regret it soon but I’d like to praise the newly-formed coalition government for scrapping the ID cards Labour were so keen to bring in.

From a trade perspective I think the schemes we have already, such as PASS, more than adequately covered the potential problems we face with under-age kids.

This is estimated to save the country £86 million over the next four years. Maybe this will mean they’ll hold off from punishing the trade through yet more taxes.

S Linney?Wolverhampton

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