Own-label wines battle it out

Competition in the own-label battleground is hotting up as the major retailers revamp their offer with Asda leading the charge.

It is relaunching its range under the Wine Selection banner – a collection made up of more than 100 new and existing wines.

The portfolio is designed to create a recognisable mid-tier Asda brand beneath its more premium Extra Special, which was revamped last year.

Wines will be split into an entry-level core range and slightly higher core-plus tier. The entry-level wines will occupy their own bespoke bays with the mid-tier merchandised by country alongside branded wines and exclusive producer labels.

Wine Selection will go live online and in- store next week with more wines coming on stream next year.

Tracy Ford, Asda’s BWS category director, said: “We’ve been through a journey over the past 18 months starting with a huge amount of customer research to work out how we could improve our offer.

“It became evident quickly that they found our offer confusing and were a bit intimidated. We’ve spent the past 12 months developing Wine Selection with the key aim to take the mystery out of wine. Around three-quarters of shoppers were looking for easy-to-understand tasting descriptions so the range uses every- day, approachable language.”

With prices starting at £4, Ford added the range might encourage customers to look beyond three-for-£10, reducing the supermarket’s reliance on the controversial mechanic.

“We are continually reviewing what we are doing with three-for-£10,” she said. “We have developed Wine Selection to help customers migrate into new products and varieties. Three-for-£10 makes it easier for them to edit their choice. Our new range will hopefully increase their repertoire and encourage them to try outside three-for-£10.”

In a similar move, Sainsbury’s is in the process of rebadging its mid-tier lines to Winemakers’ Selection, starting with seven products in its Spanish and Portuguese range before extending the same treatment to the remaining portfolio.

Andy Phelps, Sainsbury’s BWS manager, said own-label sales were up 16% year-on- year with Taste the Difference climbing by 60%.

He said: “We’ve had a bit of a void between Taste the Difference and House so we are looking to bridge the gap for custom- ers who might like Pinot Grigio but can’t afford to spend £8.99. That’s where Winemakers’ Selection fits in.”

As part of its focus on own-label, Waitrose is also giving its wine a makeover. In addi- tion to a design change, the wine buying team has sourced nine exclusive new wines under £5, and a sparkling wine under £6.

Pierpaolo Petrassi MW, head of BWS, said: “Our commitment to offering the best value for money means this is the first range of Waitrose own-label wines for under £5. We have given them every bit of TLC we would give a bottle of Waitrose vintage Champagne.”

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