Wine Trade Tries To Tackle Discounts

Article date: 31 October 2006

According to the Financial Times (28.10.06), the Wine trade aims to wean UK off discounts. As a nation, we are hooked on the idea of “good value rather than good wine”. This is a source of frustration for big name brands, who would like to develop the market along American lines, where brands can command higher prices because they are more trusted. (Read the full article by Jenny Wiggins).

They’ve certainly got their work cut out. And not least because they are perceived by many to be part of the problem. So let’s look at the issues involved.

First up we have the supermarket, champion of “good value”. Its historical remit has been to supply cheap wine. There’s nothing wrong in that. Next brands want in. So a system of discounts is developed to reassure shoppers that they are still getting value-for-money. But now’s there confusion. Are supermarkets selling cheap wine, quality wine, quality discount wine? And what constitutes good value and what good wine?

So many brands find themselves associated with quantity (value) rather than quality. They would like to introduce ‘exclusive’, ‘select’ or ‘quality’ ranges and establish the kind of trust they enjoy with consumers States-side – trust which is being ruined by continual discounts (and a dearth of press recommendations).

Will they succeed? As said before, they’ve got their work cut out. Do they deserve to? Not unless it benefits shoppers for supermarket shelves to be awash with big brand ‘quality’ ranges in the same way they awash with ordinary ranges.

Ultimately it matters that shoppers know there are good value, good quality wines. And they know how to find them. Hint, hint.