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WinesDirect Awards 2020

Published:  16 September, 2020

Harpers teamed up with WinesDirect for its third annual WinesDirect Awards. Voted for purely by consumers, the awards celebrate supermarkets, wine merchants 
and brands in the beers, wines and spirits industry.

The votes are obtained by means of a survey and this year there were almost 1,600 responses. All brand winners and runners up received 5/5 star ratings. Lisa Riley reports.


Respondents were asked to rate their chosen supermarket on a scale of one to five (one being ‘below average’, five being ‘excellent’). The criteria included value for money, customer service, selection and quality. The supermarkets involved were Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and Morrisons.

WINNER: Waitrose

RUNNER UP: Marks & Spencer

The supermarket that came out on top overall was Waitrose, with M&S as runner up. The most cited reasons for voting for Waitrose were selection, quality and customer service.

Waitrose quotes:

“Great wine selection and opportunities to test and speak to 
an expert.”

“Plenty of choice across a wide price range from solid own-label bottles to more exclusive brands. In store there is a dedicated Partner who can advise on a suitable choice if you are undecided or need advice.”

“Probably the best supermarket in the country.”

“Excellent selection of high quality wines and spirits.”

“A wonderful experience from start to finish, staff are friendly and knowledgeable and customer services department is most helpful.”

Similarly for M&S, the majority of respondents stated that its quality and customer service was the reason for the high score.

Marks & Spencer quotes:

Fab wines, easy to shop, lovely and helpful staff and great products.”

“M&S offer a great range of wines to suit all occasions, I often ask for 
a recommendation from the staff. Never been disappointed yet.”

“Good selection, not the cheapest but always excellent quality.”


We also asked consumers about their 
favourite wines, gins and whiskies. 
We first asked them to name the product 
they loved the most, to rate it out of five 
stars and to provide some commentary 
on why they enjoyed the product so much. 
The results are as follows:


Winner: Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc

“It is the best Sauvignon Blanc I have ever had – either on its own or with a meal.”

“Very fresh and clean tasting wine with 
full flavour and great bouquet.”

Runner up: Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc


Winner: Bollinger NV Champagne

“Bollinger is delicious, tight-bubbled and fruity Champagne with a fantastic nose. 
Creamy and rich!”

Runner up: Veuve Clicquot NV Champagne


Winner: Gordon’s London Dry Gin

“Traditional, comforting, delicious.”

“Smooth and delicious.”

Runner up: Bombay Sapphire


Winner: Jack Daniel’s

“Jack Daniel’s is a treat, always tastes great and never lets you down.”

“Nice and relaxing to sip, not harsh.”

Runner up: Glenfiddich


Likewise, we asked respondents to vote in exactly the same way if they shopped with any large wine merchants. The merchants involved were Laithwaite’s Wine, Sunday Times Wine Club, Majestic Wine, Virgin Wines and Naked Wines.

WINNER: Laithwaite’s Wine

RUNNER UP: Majestic Wine and Naked Wines

Here’s what customers had to say about Laithwaite’s Wine:

“This is our wine merchant of choice. Good quality wines at reasonable prices, they often have discount offers.”

“Very good selection across a number of different wines from different regions and good high-end selections.”

“Our favourite wine seller, great offers, great wines, personal touches and good extras like wine-tasting events and food-matching notes.”

“Favourite wine supplier, delivery reliable and free on 18 bottles. Never had a bad bottle whatever price and value for money excellent with an abundance of tempting offers.”

“Good variety of wines that you won’t find in other places, with helpful reviews. Advice and customer service are great.”

Here’s what customers had to say about Majestic Wine:

“Very good online and in-shop service. Found some of the price reductions confusing and they change frequently so need to be on your toes!”

“Great choice and staff have fantastic product knowledge just a pain you have to buy in bulk.”

“Interesting range at all price points. Great in-store service.”

“Well stocked with small and new suppliers, they offer tasting nights, notes with every purchase and staff are highly knowledgeable.”

Here’s what customers had to say about Naked Wines:

“Service is very good and the online reviews are helpful. I like being able to learn more about the winemakers and that there are occasional charity events.”

“Naked Wines has some great value offers and provides good online customer service.”

“Fabulous selection and fantastic value 
for money. Very knowledgeable staff and 
always so helpful.”


Respondents were also asked to nominate 
the supermarket or wine merchant they felt had gone above and beyond to help shoppers during this time.

Winner: Tesco

Runner up: Naked Wines

Tesco received glowing comments 
with regards to safety and security 
during Covid-19 and as such has been 
chosen as our winner. A selection of the feedback is as follows:

“Tesco never let me down for delivery through lockdown.”

“Tesco gave me a priority slot which was very helpful when I was shielding.”

“Tesco have been excellent through these difficult times.”

“Tesco-prices have been great, great staff and help when required, and they have more than gone above and beyond for Covid-19 shopping and distancing.”

“Tesco’s drivers have brought my 
shopping since I was shielding. They are the nicest most thoughtful and helpful people making sure I had everything to last a week. Very grateful.”

The runner up for this award was Naked Wines, praised for its consistent delivery throughout lockdown as well as offering 
good value and supporting the winemakers during these testing times. Here’s what 
people had to say:

“Naked Wines are also helping the winemakers and wholesale companies to survive in these tough times.”

“Naked Wines kept in touch regarding 
stock, special offers and recommendations. When I ordered, wines were delivered 
on time.”

“I like what I have had from them 
without exception so far. Good selection 
and good customer service. I like reading customer reviews too on the company’s 
very good website.”

“I loved the Thirsty Tuesday, finding out 
more about the winemakers in their homes 
via Zoom. Helping some of them who 
are struggling with Covid-19 with 
marketplace deals.”

Covid-19 shopping habits

One of the most interesting 
and insightful parts of this year’s survey was a section dedicated 
to changing shopping habits when it comes to beer, wines and spirits during 
the Covid-19 crisis, including the period of national lockdown.

Here are the headlines:

During Lockdown 25% of people started shopping online for the first time and now say they will continue to do so.

Now mask-wearing is mandatory in shops, 33% of people say they won’t be rushing back to stores but will likely continue to shop online.

25% of people purchased different products compared with what they would normally buy. The most common were craft beers and cases of wine (as opposed to individual bottles).

34% of people stated the most important thing for them when shopping online during lockdown was the delivery availability.

43% of people said their consumption of alcohol at home during lockdown increased.

10% of respondents signed up to a wine club subscription during lockdown.

12% of respondents have been purchasing more low- 
and no-alcohol products for reasons such as: wanting to cut down alcohol consumption, looking to be healthier, looking to consume fewer calories and wanting to participate socially but not risk a hangover.

For any enquiries about WinesDirect Awards please contact Erin Tynan at