Fine wine push for M&S

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 within flagship stores around the country, and will feature wines priced from around £15 to £70. Many of the wines come from small parcels.

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 is to come online next week, and includes among other case-deals a range of Chablis wines 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 very well on the internet.

The retailer has also 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.

The work experience scheme is part of the £200 million “eco-plan” announced by M&S chief executive Stuart Rose in January, which aims to set new standards in ethical trading.