Supermarket wine is something people usually avoid, like off brand toothpaste or cola it just never seems to taste just right. But it looks like the tide is changing. This year, global supermarket chain Aldi scooped up prizes and recognition worldwide – stealing titles from established brands, even.
Each year for the last 32 years William Reed Business Media has hosted The International Wine Challenge (IWC), a blind tasting competition focused on “faithfulness to style, region and vintage.” The contest is serious business, with each wine tasted three times by at least ten difficult judges. Wines are awarded medals at four levels, there are commendations and categories for value wines.
This trend, a new one, proves that cost doesn’t always indicate great tasting wine. It also proves that more drinkers want to enjoy wine and that businesses are hearing this and making great wine accessible and affordable. While many have their favorite bottle, one of the great opportunities this offers to consumers is the ability to try a new varietal or blend without spending too much. With supermarkets like Aldi winning awards, these bottles are affordable to anyone.
Aldi is a low-price grocery store located in North America, Europe and Australia offering very low prices to its customers through a series of business practices that keep their overhead much lower than most grocery stores.
- A la Carte. All shopping carts are kept next to the entrance, not in corrals in the lot. They also cost one coin (a quarter in America) to use. The carts are linked with a small locking mechanism that the quarter pops out. When customers finish their trip and return their carts, they lock it back up in order to get their coin back. This cuts labor costs – employees do not have to spend time collecting cards from corrals in the parking lot or scattered throughout the lot.
- Bring And Bag Your Own. Shopping at Aldi requires bringing your own bags. The company does not spend money on purchasing or manufacturing plastic bag (and encourages the use of reusable bags). If customers do not have a bag, they can purchase reusable Aldi bags or empty cartons at the checkout. Also, labor costs are kept lower by not having staff bag groceries. After swiping barcodes, products are placed in the cart and customers go to bagging areas to do their own packing up before leaving the store.
- The Russian Roulette of Grocery Stores. Don’t worry, it’s not dangerous, but you are taking a gamble when heading to Aldi – you never know what you’ll get. Food is delivered and placed on shelves in bulk boxes by the driver. There is no consistent stock, just whatever is on that day’s truck. So there is no guarantee that you can get your favorite item when you do your weekly shopping. This saves the store labor costs because no employees are needed for stocking and restocking. Deliveries show up, the drivers bring them inside where they are placed in empty spots on shelves.
If you’re interested in trying a new style, or seeing if you can find a new favorite for less (if you love Merlot and can get a bottle you love for half the price, why not?), here are the wines to check out depending on the grocery stores available to you.
|If You Love||Try This Wine||Estimated Price Difference|
|Australian Riesling||Exquisite Collection Clare Valley Riesling||$3-6 USD|
|New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc||Exquisite Collection Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc||At least $8 USD|
|Tawny Port||Fletchers Fine Ruby Port||At least $8 USD|
|Spanish Garnacha||The Venturer Series Old Vines Garnacha||About $5 USD|
While those are a great place to start and some common wines enjoyed by drinkers, the possibilities are endless. And Aldi is not your only choice – Winedom uses it because it is available on three continents. If you have an Aldi, try out their supermarket brand but go to any local grocery store and consider trying their own-brand wine and see if you find a new favorite. Once you do, tell us about it in the comments!