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Sainsbury’s Villetta strikingly similar to Villa Maria

First, Sainsbury’s created a Chilean wine range with a striking resemblance to the world’s biggest South American wine brand, and now it appears that the retailer has done something similar to a major Kiwi brand too…

Bob Cambell MW was the first to write about the similarity between Sainsbury’s Villetta and Villa Maria. Picture credit: The Real Review

For those who missed the news at the start of this year, in January, UK grocer Sainsbury’s introduced a new private-label range of Chilean wines called Camino del Angel, comprising a Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc in whites, and a Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon in reds.

The name itself appears as though it was chosen to be similar to Chile’s largest wine brand Casillero del Diablo, even if the meaning of Sainsbury’s product references opposing biblical forces – the ‘angel’s road’ (Camino del Angel) versus the ‘devil’s castle’ (Casillero del Diablo).

However, it was the Sainsbury’s label design that caused the more intense controversy, incorporating almost identical features to the established Chilean brand, from the appearance of the capsule, to the font type, emblem design, and white, red and black colour scheme and so on – see picture from below.

At the start of the year, Concha y Toro UK were said to be “taking it very seriously”, but speaking to the drinks business at ProWein in March, Clare Griffiths, commercial director of Casillero del Diablo brand owner, Concha y Toro UK, said that the issue had been resolved.

However, not only is Camino del Angel still on the shelves of the supermarket in its original form, but the grocer seems to have take a similar approach and created a look-a-like brand in another commercially important part of the wine business: Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

In February, Sedimentblog drew attention to the striking resemblance between the world’s biggest Chilean wine brand and Sainsbury’s new private-label. Picture source:

Appearing to take respected and long-established New Zealand brand Villa Maria as inspiration, Sainsbury’s has devised the Villetta Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, which borrows the producer’s white label with gold surround, while employing a similar wing-like logo in almost the same shade of red (see picture above and bottom).

Wine retailers are awash with private-label lookalikes of leading brands, while the discounters, such as Aldi and Lidl, which only stock exclusive lines, are littered with products that either appear like famous equivalents, or sound like them.

Furthermore, the more successful the product, the more likely retailers and others will create imitations – for example, we have covered extensively the explosion in alternatives to ever-popular Prosecco at db already, whether it’s the emergence of Italian sparkling from Pignoletto DOC, to the creation of fizz labels such as Provetto.

So, it’s not just the retailers who create lookalikes.

However, the concern from leading wine businesses about the Sainsbury’s private labels is their striking resemblance to the original brands. And there is a mounting concern that other major wine brands will receive the same treatment.

The drinks business has contacted Sainsbury’s for comment over email and telephone, but is yet to receive a response, and this morning visited Sainsbury’s on Clapham High Street, where both the exclusive labels and the brands they resembled were on the shelves.

Neither Camino del Angel and Villetta say on the label who produced the wine, although both include the following: ‘Bottled for: W1259, UK by: W1743, UK’ – and the drinks business assumes that the liquid is shipped in bulk and bottled at Encirc Glass in Chester, which packs other own-label wines for Sainsbury’s.

This photograph taken by db on 2 June shows Casillero del Diablo (top shelf) and Camino del Angel (bottom) in Sainbury’s on Clapham High Street, London
And this picture taken in the same store at the same time shows Villa Maria (top) and Villetta (below)

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