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Booths encourages trading up with wine-sampling campaign

Published:  07 October, 2013

Booths supermarkets is to step up its wine-sampling campaign in a strategic bid to move consumers away from cut-price offers.

Its BIG Wine Event will see over 100 specially selected parcels of wines available in stores for sampling for four weeks from October 9, which will include the Robert Parker Point wines rated 90+/100; Château Palmer 1996, 2001 and 2004; Château Léoville Las Cases 2001; Château Cos D'Estournel 1996 and 2008; Sassicaia 2009 from Tuscany; Châteauneuf du Pape Beaucastel 2008; and the legendary Henschke Hill of Grace 2005 Shiraz from Australia.

On the launch day the first 40 customers visiting Booths' larger stores will also get a chance to sample Château d'Yquem 1997. 

In addition, from October 9, Booths Knutsford store will let customers taste 64 wines for free from a sampler system, which, if successful, will be rolled out to all stores.

Chief operating officer Chris Dee said: "The BIG Wine Event will offer small parcels of really special wines, from £5.69 to £395 a bottle. And we will be using the free sampling of wines as a new approach to selling wine. Wine is a winefield. One step to the left or right in the aisle, and you find yourself buying a wine that's too sweet, too dry, too fruity or too intense. You explode. All that money spent on a wine you don't like. So why do we do it?  Because we're all entranced by 'half-price' deals, 'special offers', pile 'em high and sell 'em cheap.

Dee added: "We have done a few too many special offers in the past ourselves. It seemed to be the way. And if we didn't do the same, we thought our customers would desert us for a flashier offer. But we asked customers last year what changes they'd like to their wine-buying experience; and though our beer, wine and spirits staff gained praise for their service, customers made the straightforward comment that 'reading or hearing about a wine isn't the same as tasting it. So we will be lessening our emphasis on special offers, and instead will allow customers to taste many of the 300 reds and 300 whites we stock in our larger stores."

Edwin Booth, chairman of Booths, said: "It's all very well for ex-wine buyers like myself or Chris Dee to understand the character of each wine on a shelf, and to know when a 'special offer' is, or is not, that special. But it is difficult for 99.9% of shoppers to do the same. I hope that by offering wines to sample, and with knowledgeable staff nearby, we will encourage our customers to try new styles of wine, which they might normally be afraid to buy. We aim to transform the enjoyment our customers gain from wine. It is what they asked us to do; and we are doing it."

During the four-week event a free bottle of Polloni Prosecco is being given to each customer who purchases six bottles of wines or Champagnes, while stocks last.