Sainsbury’s ups own-label range

Sainsbury’s has upped its range of premium own-label and branded wines – with more than half of the new wines rolling into store retailing at the £7-10 bracket.

The retailer unveiled its new range at its Spring tasting last week – around two months earlier than its usual Spring tasting – at which it showed 40 new wines.

The team has added eight new Taste the Difference (TTD) wines, including a Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from Padthaway on the Limestone Coast in South Australia, a Château Tanunda from the same Barossa supplier who supplies its Château Tanunda Barossa Red Blend, plus a Californian Zinfandel from Chronic Cellars – the first US wine in the Taste The Difference range, as well as a Taste the Difference Valpolicella Ripasso from Marco Dell’Eva at Sartori. (RRP: 11) .

Wine buyer Georgina Haughton told db the retailer had cut back the £5-5.50 tier to expand the premium tier and also added more fine wines with more premium and “more newness”, and four wines over £15.

Twenty-three wines – more than half of the additions – have been added at the £7-10 bracket, with thirtenn retailing for £11-14, and a further three at £15 or over.  At the lower end, only one red wines for £5 or under were added, The Takeout Sangiovese, along with new labels for its £4.60 House Malbec and House Torla Rioja.

Emma Monaghan, buyer for Champagne, sparkling wine, Italy and the US said that the review marked a “consistent effort to “bolster the Taste the Difference range” and rebalance the overall offering, and also make Sainsbury’s wine range a broader range.

This was “always aim of the range review”, which had been planned for a year, she said, and afforded the opportunity to add in new regions, new countries and some more unusual wines.

This is key to keeping customer interest, she said, as well as the chance to capitalise on growing trends and be more in line with the on-trade.

She highlighted the “sweeter” Valpolicello Ripasso and new Californian Zinfandel from Chronic Cellars, which is the first US wine to launch in the TTD range.

However the review also added new branded wines, including McGuigan Shortlist Riesling 2016 and Chardonnay (RRP: £14 each), a Santa Rita Reserva Pinot Noir (RRP:  £8.50), a DV Catena Malbec from winemaker Alejander Vigil (RRP: £12) and two wines from Stellenbosch producer Journey’s End, Bluegum Merlot (RRP: £13) and The Pioneer Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (RRP: £23).

Other notable additions include its first English still wine – a white blend from Chapel Down known as Flint Dry, comprising Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Schönburger, Reichensteiner, Huxelrebe, Müller Thurgau, Bacchus and Pinot Noir (RRP: £10), a Noble Dragon Riesling 2013 from Chinese producer Changyu, made by Lenz Moser, which joins the Cabernet Gernischt/Cabernet Sauvignon blend the retailer launched in time for the Chinese New Year, and the Uruguayan Albariño announced last month.

“We wanted the best example of a Chinese wine for this specific price point that is the most consistent and consumer-friendly,” Haughton explained.

Sainsbury’s also showed its Taste the Difference Crémant de Loire (RRP: £11) that launched last autumn.

Champagne and sparkling buyer Emma Monaghan said that while Prosecco had seen a slowdown in terms of growth, there was still growth to be had from other sparkling categories, notably from Crémant.

“Prosecco is more around, but the fact is that people want to look at new things,” she told db. “It is more a standard thing people buy, not as a treat, hence they are looking to other areas.  Prosecco has become part of people’s standard repertoire and they are looking for new inspiration in other countries or varietals.

Crémant, she added, was “the thing at the moment and that will expand outwards.”

Pignoletto – the Italian sparkler introduced to Sainsbury’s range in November 2015 was also doing well, she noted. “There has been so much development and innovation it will be interesting to see what it will do next.”

Rosé  – including more premium rosés – has been another focus, which wine buyer Georgina Haughton said built on the success of rosé last summer.

These included a Côtes de Provence Rosé from Chateau Miraval (RRP: £18) , the vineyards owned by estranged couple Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie and made by winemaker Marc Perrin of Château Beaucastel, a 2015 English rosé from Chapel Down (RRP: £11), and Mirabeau Etoile Côtes de Provence Rosé, a new Grenache Syrah blend from the estate which is is owned by English winemaking couple Stephen and Jeany Cronk.

Category manager for BWS Elizabeth Newman said the additions would help deliver a “truly distinctive and differentiated range” and marked the completion of the retailer’s biggest range review in recent years, as well as highlighting its new simplified round pound pricing structure.

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