More shoppers than ever are buying wines at their supermarket. Wine sales in supermarkets have climbed to more than $10 billion and, in California, for example, this amounts to 85 percent of all wines purchased.
Retailers’ private label wines have been building momentum. A trend that began several years ago with the success of Trader Joe’s famous “Two Buck Chuck” wine has since morphed into a sophisticated assortment of reds, whites, roses and sparkling wines at chains like Whole Foods, Costco, Aldi and Lidl, says the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA).
Making matters even more competitive, retailers’ private label wines have been winning awards at major wine competitions. Lidl, for example, won 101 medals at the International Wine Competition in Los Angeles earlier this year, while 391 private label supermarket wines received medals at the International Wine Challenge that is held annually in London.
PLMA says the high quality of private label wines again will be in the spotlight in 2018 when the organization’s International Salute to Excellence Wine Awards takes place in Amsterdam. Nominating ballots have gone out to retailers across the U.S., Canada, Europe, South Africa and Australia.
A panel of Wine Masters, sommeliers, wine professionals and journalists will convene in Amsterdam in April to evaluate the private label wines one by one. Wines will be judged on the basis of traditional criteria such as color, nose and taste. Wines selected for the judging are either submitted by retailers or purchased off the shelves at stores. At PLMA’s 2017 Salute to Excellence Wine Awards, there were 48 award-winning wines from 13 countries, covering 22 categories of reds and whites.
According to Brian Sharoff, president of PLMA, “The trend toward private label wines is extremely strong. Retailers like Costco, Trader Joe’s, Kroger, Aldi and Lidl have set a high standard by offering award-winning quality at reasonable prices.”
The public is responding, too. The penetration of store brands wines around the world has climbed rapidly in recent years.
The wine panels are part of PLMA’s International Salute to Excellence Awards, which covers food, home and health products as well as wine. Last year, more than 80 retailers in 28 countries submitted products for awards.