Wine lovers no longer have to leave their favorite supermarket, hypermarket or discounter to discover the best wines to buy. Retailers are introducing a variety of outstanding wines under their own brands and more and more shoppers across Europe are putting them into their baskets.
In the United Kingdom, it is estimated that more than 70% of wines are now purchased at the supermarket and the retailers’ private label is scoring high for both quality and value.
This was demonstrated at the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s 2017 International Salute to Excellence Wine Awards, which were announced here in May during the Association’s annual trade show. There were 48 Salute to Excellence Award winning wines from 13 countries covering 22 red and white categories ranging from Bordeaux to Rioja, from Chardonnay to Grüner Veltliner, from Champagne to Prosecco, and many others, too.
Three panels, with a total of 20 judges including My Private Brand President Christopher Durham, evaluated nearly 300 wines. Each panel was led by a wine expert. Panel 1 was led by Cees van Casteren MW of The Netherlands who has written ten books and more than 500 articles on wine and food. Panel 2 was led by Beverly Blanning MW, a London-based independent wine journalist and author. Panel 3 was led by Michel Polderman of The Netherlands, who was formerly in charge of wine purchasing at Albert Heijn. Wines were judged on the basis of traditional criteria such as color, nose, and taste.
Wines selected for the judging were either submitted by retailers or purchased off the shelves at stores. Awards were given for best quality and best value in 22 wine categories covering red, white, sparkling and rosé. Awards were also given in a category called Special Selection for wines that were not in the main categories.
Many of Europe’s leading supermarkets and hypermarkets came away with Awards for their private label wines: Albert Heijn, ASDA, Auchan, Billa, Carrefour, Casino, Colruyt, Conad, Coop Switzerland, Despar, Edeka, Eroski, Intermarché, Morrisons, Sonae and Tesco. Outside Europe, wines from Whole Foods Market in the US, Metro Brands in Canada and Central Food Retail in Thailand won Salute to Excellence Awards.
The big winner was Aldi. With more than 10,000 stores in 19 countries, it has emphasized its wines for several years. Aldi UK won six awards, and Aldi Süd won four.
Among other retailers, ASDA won five Awards and Auchan won four Awards. Lidl in Germany won four Awards for its wines.
Commenting on the competition, Brian Sharoff, President of PLMA, said: The penetration of private label wine has climbed rapidly in recent years and has reached more than 50% in some European markets. This year’s Salute to Excellence Wine Awards is meant to give recognition to retailers who are often overlooked even though they are the main seller of wines.
The wine panels were part of PLMA’s annual International Salute to Excellence Awards, in which retailers submit new and innovative private label products for industry recognition. These included food, wine, home and health products from 83 retailers in 27 countries were considered for awards.