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Sainsbury's introduces mid-tier own label wines

Published:  10 October, 2012

Sainsbury's has introduced a new mid-tier into its own label wine range, which will sit between its House and Taste the Difference brands.

Given its own-label wines have grown by 16% in the past year - with its Taste the Difference range up 60% - the supermarket wants to encourage further growth with its By Sainsbury's Winemaker's Selection range.

It has spent the past eight months conducting in-depth research into what its customers want, via focus groups with customers and colleagues, as well as a close look at consumer buying patterns through its Nectar card data.

BWS category manager Andy Phelps, who has now been in the role for one year, told Harpers that while House offers "greater choice for consumers who don't know a lot about wine" and Taste the Difference caters for more knowledgable customers, there was scope to offer more for those in between at the £5-£8 mark.

"Any other category has a By Sainsbury's core range - its something we can hang our hat on," Phelps said.

It has rolled out its By Sainsbury's Winemaker's Selection to its Spanish and Portuguese wines, which will be appearing on shelf by the end of the month, and plans to have revamped its entire core range by next May.

The labels have made space for Sainsbury's style guide, which uses descriptors like "bold and spicy" on the front label and on the bottle top, as well as giving enhanced prominence to the abv content by making it 10% larger than legally required. "We want to have the clearest alcohol labelling policy - we want customers to be sure about what they're picking up and don't want to hide it on the back," Phelps added.

The back label, aside from standard legal information, also has a big focus on tasting notes and grades the wine A to E based on whether it's light or full-bodied. There is a map of the country, pinpointing the region where the wine is sourced. The labels have also been designed with the customer in mind: using its Nectar card data it can tell whether the wines appeal to more traditional or modern customers and has created the design accordingly.

Phelps has been spending time visiting producers in Australia, Spain and Bordeaux as well as listening to customers. "The amount I've learned has been phenomenal and looking forward we've now got a clear strategy about where we want to go - and it's starting to bear fruit."

It has also introduced TTD Prosecco Conegliano in a single serve (20cl, rrp £2.99) bottle, as well as in magnum (rrp £19.99). "This caters to two needs," said Phelps of the smaller bottle, "those who can't afford to buy the whole bottle or just want one glass."