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Co-op launches online tastings for customers

Published:  04 April, 2024

The Co-op has launched online wine tastings for its members, offering customers exclusive access to the producers behind its own-label ranges.

The retailer’s free online events will focus on two different wines every month linked to the season and will be hosted by the winemaker and a member of the Co-op’s wine-buying team.

The first in the series will take place on 24 April and will be hosted by Muriel Wines producers Javier Murua and Chema Ryan, the winemakers behind the Co-op’s Irresistible Rioja and Irresistible Rioja Blanco.

Far from a new initiative, the Co-op began experimenting with virtual tastings during the pandemic, which proved very popular with members.

Sarah Benson, wine buyer at the Co-op, said: “We’re fiercely proud to work with some of the world’s finest winemakers for our own-brand range, and we’re thrilled to offer our members exclusive access to learn first-hand how our wines are produced. We know our virtual tastings were incredibly popular during those lockdown days and wanted to bring this back in response to demand.

“As a co-operative, our members are at the heart of our business and help shape how our business is run. We often engage with our members for our wine range – from helping to design our new Irresistible Pais label to choosing the right hue and bottle for our Irresistible Solo Rose. Hearing directly from our members about our wine range is important, and these tastings are just another way we can connect with them.”

In May 2023, the Co-op launched its Irresistible País, a Chilean own-label red that was shaped with the help of 115,000 Co-op members.

“We did a project with our member base during lockdown and some of them were able to meet our Chilean producers via Zoom, see the vineyard and learn about the heritage of País,” Benson told Harpers in May.

“We then collaborated with 115,000 members on a new label design for an own-label bottle of País, which engaged a significant part of our customer base, helping them to learn about a grape variety most of them hadn’t heard of,” she added.

It’s a level of consumer engagement more often associated with trainer brands like Nike and Vans, where shoppers can design their own shoes from a basic template. During a time when more and more wine brands are trying to follow the ‘Beavertown’ approach of eye-catching label designs, the Co-op may have stumbled across a significant point of difference in a competitive market courtesy of a lockdown experiment.

To sign up for the Co-op’s online tastings and to become a member click here.