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Aldi searches for consumer wine tasting panel on Twitter

Published:  23 May, 2014

Aldi has turned to Twitter to track down "aspiring wine connoisseurs" to form a consumer tasting panel for the retailer.

Aldi has turned to Twitter to track down "aspiring wine connoisseurs" to form a consumer tasting panel for the retailer.

The chosen 10 tasters receive two Aldi wines per month, plus tasting notes, and are asked to review them on Twitter in 140 characters.

AldiAldiAldi is seeking a consumer wine tasting panel who will post peer reviews on Twitter.

A competition to find the best tasters opened on May 19, and budding tasters have until June 2 to enter. They must provide their twitter handle and 150 words on why they deserve to be part of the Aldi Wine Club.

High street wine retailer Oddbins also values consumer tasting - its runs an annual competition searching for the best amateur wine taster known as The Palate. It also just launched a similar competition for an official customer beer taster to guide it in choosing craft ales, as sales have taken off in stores. The role is unpaid, but like Aldi, the winner receives monthly beer deliveries for free in exchange for providing feedback.

Peer reviews are becoming increasingly important in informing consumer purchase decisions, something wine companies have been keen to tap into. Recent statistics from a study carried out by PWC for the Internet Advertising Bureau show that Britons spend £14 billion online via deal, incentive and review sites. According to the report, British consumers are increasingly savvy when it comes to hunting down bargains, and visit price comparison, voucher, cashback, loyalty and product-review websites before parting with their cash.

Online retailers including Virgin Wines have been working hard to encourage customers to offer their comments and post star ratings on its site. Over the past 14 years, since the company was set up, it has received more than 372,000 ratings and 95,000 comments. Managing director Jay Wright stold recently that this gives Virgin "unparalleled access to a resource which tracks the wine-drinking loves of a huge body of people". He insisted that wines are listed, relisted and delisted on the back of these comments and ratings. Wright added that customers' opinions "lie at the heart of our business".

Naked Wines' chief executive Rowan Gormley said: "Our customer reviews play a massive role in what goes into our acquisition cases - as well as helping us to decide where to invest our Angels' money - which is why we place a big emphasis on what the customer thinks, rather than a select few."

Laithwaite's head of digital John Buffey places the utmost importance on reviews. It changed its strategy to make it less intimidating for customers to review wine, allowing them to give star ratings or post short reviews, adding that, "many customers find the idea of writing a public wine review a bit intimidating".