M&S unveils fine wine and web-based tactics

19 October, 2007

Marks & Spencer is launching a fine and premium wine range and an internet-exclusive portfolio.

The retailer unveiled the new ranges at its autumn press tasting, where it showed 90 new wines alongside new vintages of M&S exclusives.

The fine wine range will be merchandised on a separate fixture flagship stores around the country, and will feature wines priced from around £15 to £70. Many of the wines come from small parcels which M&S would not be able to sell in all its stores.

Buyer Andy Howard said: "The range contains examples from Australia, New Zealand and Chile, to complement an extensive range of wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux and Italy. It will initially be sold in up to 20 flagship stores from November, the start of a major extension in terms of range and price within M&S wines. The fine wine market is very dynamic and exciting."

The internet-exclusive range

will come online next week, and includes among other case deals a range of Chablis beyond M&S's store range.

The move came after wine developer Chris Murphy moved to specialise in

e-commerce earlier this year. He told OLN it made sense to offer online shoppers extra parcels of wine, because M&S's other departments, such as food and clothes, are doing

well on the internet.

M&S has also launched an introductory guide to wine and drinks in all its stores. The A5 booklet reads like a mini-magazine and includes tips on choosing wines in-store, food matches and introductions to different wine regions.

Bonds built with SA

Marks & Spencer has started a work experience programme for wine trade workers in South African black empowerment programmes.

Nomvuyo Xaliphi, one of three black women who founded black empowerment wine brand Ses'fikile, which is made in the Flagstone winery near Cape Town, is the first South African to spend seven weeks working in M&S's wine department. Xaliphi, who came into the business from a non-wine background, is

learning about winemaking, buying, logistics and retailing.

Teselio Rangaka of black empowerment winery M'Hudi will be the next worker to take part in the work experience project when he comes to the UK next spring.

M&S has added three wines by Ses'fikile to its range.




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Richard Hemming MW: beware inverse snobbery

Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle – which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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