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Aldi unveils seasonal range as market share grows

Published:  06 September, 2018

Aldi has unveiled its 2018 seasonal range alongside new vintages of its core offering.

The retailer's wine selection has been expanded with a move towards lesser known wine regions, a focus on larger formats of Champagne and sparkling, together with a broad selection of gins, which will all be introduced from 1st October.

Aldi is now the fifth largest supermarket in the UK, with just under 8% market share, showing double-digit growth within a challenging market. Within this the wine category overtrades, according to the retailer, with both reputation and sales benefitting from recent awards, having snatched the coveted IWC supermarket of the year award from more established retailers.

Since the launch last year, Aldi’s online arm has shown "strong growth", and gained momentum, allowing buyers to evolve a more complete range strategy, with the benefit of 12 months of sales data.

The wine range comprises 70 core lines, with a similar number of wines are introduced on a seasonal basis, together with a range sourced to suit the differing needs of online shoppers.

The Autumn tasting, held yesterday, showcased old favourites but the focus was on new collections and lesser known styles.

Explaining how the range is evolving, wine buyer Mike James said: “We have our core range, supplemented by a series of seasonal collections. These are great opportunities for us to see what can work, and test the market with less usual wines. Our new Vouvray, made in a modern style, is a case in point.”

The Aldi philosophy, he added, was to achieve styles which are “exactly right for our customers” while also offering “fantastic value for money”.

“We do take risks with new seasonal wines, because we understand our customers’ tastes - you can’t always go with market data, because it’s always out of date by the time you get it. Sometimes you have to go with your gut feel.”

Key amongst the introductions is new ranges from Portugal and Australia.

“There’s been an exciting shift in consumer buying trends, and there is more acceptance for lesser-known wines, as customers trust us and are willing to try new things, so it’s a great opportunity for us,” said James.

Portugal is a case in point. A poor 2017 vintage in Europe forced the buyers to re-evaluate this sector, with Portugal emerging as the most attractive proposition. Portuguese wines have been notoriously hard to sell, but are proving a huge success for Aldi.

The highly successful launch of a vibrant Douro, Animus (rrp: £4.99) prompted a decision to increase the range, culminating in the imminent arrival of Salicornia Dao Reserva 2015 (rrp: £7.29).

Meanwhile Australia has seen a revamp, including the online introduction of a selection Tasmanian wines, comprising Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer (rrp: £16.99).

Australia is a prime example of how building strong supplier relationships is fundamental to achieving the best balance of quality and value, and enables the buyers to plan three years ahead.

“We have worked with the same suppliers for years, therefore we have their trust, they know what we want, and they will pull out all the stops,” explained James.

The new Number 9 blend GSM is testament to this, and an example of how buyer and winemaker worked together to blend to the right style; in this case it was the 9th blend attempted.

Champagne and sparkling continue to play a key role, with fellow buyer David Elliott, increasing both range and formats. Magnums of Champagne and Prosecco are joined by a jeroboam of Giotti Prosecco DOCG (rrp: £39.99,) and for the ultimate show-off party host, a methuselah of the same (rrp: £79.99).

The Exquisite Collection Cremant du Jura continues to impress as one of the very best value fizzes on the market at £7.99, while the award- winning Veuve de Monsigny Champagne range will undoubtedly be one of the seasonal stars on the high street, with its non vintage priced at a remarkable £11.49, and a rich, toasty 2004 vintage at £19.99.

Last year saw sales of more than 2 million bottles of champagne and sparkling wine in December alone - the equivalent of 3000 bottles per hour, said Elliott.

Other key growth areas are organics, and the launch of ‘This…Loves’ - a range of six wines designed to attract customers with minimal wine knowledge who need simple advice (rrp: £4.99).

Each ‘This…Loves’ wine is matched to a food pairing suggestion, designed to bring new customers into the category and drive incremental sales.

Organic wines are a key development area for Aldi, based on analysis of online data relating to customers’ search engine behaviour, and include a Prosecco, two no-sulphur wines alongside natural wine, Now by Paxton, of which the majority are new for this season. 

The spirits sector looks set to get gin lovers flocking, with a new range of over 10 this season, including Sorgin, a french sauvignon blanc-gin hybrid (rrp: £24.99).

All Aldi’s seasonal wines and spirits will be available from 1st October, with some products available online only.