Lidl UK: US store launch gives opportunity for UK range

Lidl UK is hoping to boost the number of Californian wines in its UK stores once the company opens its US operation later this year, Lidl UK’s wine buying manager Anna Krettmann has confirmed.

(Photo: Wiki)

Speaking to db at Lidl’s summer Wine Cellar tasting on Thursday, Krettmann said she was excited at the prospect of around 100 Lidl US stores opening on the East Coast of the US later this summer, partly as this opened up the possibility of sourcing some great Californian wines in the UK.

Under Lidl’s European sourcing model, a large proportion of wines are sourced by its wine buying teams located in countries where Lidl operates an office, with these wines then available across the stores’ international estate. But Lidl’s European roots has meant it has historically been stronger in European wine than New World wines, as buying teams have been able to tap into their connections with local growers.

Krettmann said the idea would also be applied to the US and she was looking forward to the possibilities this would present, particularly due to the experience of Lidl US’ director of wine, Adam Lapierre MW, and his links with Californian wineries.

The discounter in the UK is already planning to boost its core range of New World wine, with the addition of around 15 mid-tier New World wines towards the end of this year.

Krettmann said this would mark the “next big push” for its core range, which has been an increasing focus for the team in recent months, although the bi-monthly Wine Cellar promotions generated a lot of “excitement” for the discounter and significant growth.

“The listed range is essential – it is available all the year round and we want people to have their favourite wines,” she said. “It is a focus to get the listed range and have all the wines the consumer would want [in a core range],” she told db.

She added that the range was “well-covered” at the £4-5 range and the £9-10 range, but there was a gap that needed to be filled: “At the moment we are looking to fill that gap and give customers options… at different price points.”

The core range currently comprises around 72 wines (up from around 63 a year ago) but was set to be expanded to around 92 lines over the next year or so. Recent additions include a Rueda, a Sauternes and a Douro Red, as well as a Vinho Verde and other wines that had been popular in its Cellar promotions, with a Mâcon Villages and Cava Rosé set to join the standard range “imminently”.

Anna Krettmann, Lidl UK’s wine buying manager

Mediterranean Cellar

The discounter was showing its summer Wine Cellar, the Mediterranean Collection, which will roll into store on 25 May.

This is set to focus on lighter wines including those from the South of France, Spain and Portugal, which Krettmann argued was more suited to the time of year than the more “Bordeaux-heavy” Wine Cellars rolled out before Christmas.

“People don’t want the most powerful, complex wines for a dinner or home or for lunch with friends and they are going for a more refreshing style,” she told db.

Lidl’s consultant MW Richard Bampfield added that there were some wines that were hard to find, such as an “unquestionably unusual” red Fronton, from Arborescense in the South West of France (RRP: £5.99), or the two “interesting” Chardonnay Viogners, one from the Val de Salis in Languedoc-Rousillon, the other a Chardonnay Viogner Reserva Privada from Viajero in Chile (RRP: 4.99), as well as a sparkling Ribeiro Santo from Dão in Portugal (RRP: £8.99).

However Bampfield said his star wine from the Mediterranean Collection was a Palmela from Portugal (RRP: £4.99) , a “perfumed, light wine’ made from 90% Fernão Pires, and 10% Muscatel de Setúbal which was both “grapey and a bit spicy”, marking it out as a bit different to Portuguese Vinho Verdes.

“It is intriguing, but things like a Picpoul de Pinet and whites are seeing such a resurgence, and some lower alcohol wines in taste are on trend,” he said.

The team are also looking to roll out more Austrian and Hungarian wines in the next Wine Cellar in the summer.

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