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Published:  23 July, 2008

Sainsbury's has embarked on a campaign to recruit in-store off-licencemanager/wine advisers. The multiple retailer claims to have recruited key staff from the likes of Oddbins, Majestic and First Quench. It has appointed more than 40 and the number is expected to rise to 62. Allan Cheesman, Sainsbury's director of wines, told Harpers that it was a project he was keen to pursue when he came back to the retailer from BRL Hardy. For many years supermarkets have not been able to deliver the knowledge at point of sale,' he said. The new position involves managing the whole off-licence department and personnel will be encouraged to conduct external tastings for local groups to stimulate trial and sale. The managers/advisers will be identified by special ties, scarves and/or aprons. Approximately 25 of the new staff are internal appointments. Laura Jewell, one of four MWs in Sainsbury's wine department, said that each of the managers would be encouraged to buddy up' to one of the wine buyers, to improve lines of communication between the stores and the department. *As part of Jewell's revamp of Sainsbury's Australia category, she has introduced a pair of entry-level' wines at 2.99 produced in consultation with David Thomson at Simeon. They are a Colombard/ Chardonnay and a Ruby Cabernet/Shiraz. In the New Year, there will be a 3.99 Cabernet to partner the Chardonnay. Jewell has also sourced some wine from Western Australia - three Capel Vale whites and a red to follow from Howard Park's Madfish range. Sainsbury's is the first to sell BRL Hardy's new Hardy's VR range - a Chardonnay and Shiraz at 4.49 each - on an exclusive basis for a year. It also has Hardy's Omni sparkling wine exclusively. Rachel Griffiths, Sainsbury's organic wine buyer, has called on more organic wine grape growers to apply for accreditation. She said: The wheels are beginning to turn and there will be more offerings from Chile and Argentina in the coming vintage, and we now have representation from South Africa for the first time with a Sauvignon and Shiraz.'