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Buying Supermarket Wine

Buying Supermarket Wine

Buying Supermarket Wine Folly or Fortune

Buying Supermarket Wine - Folly or Fortune?

For most wine drinkers a trip to the local supermarket is sufficient enough to fill everyday needs.
Occaisionally, maybe when in need of advice, guidance or something a bit special, a trip to the local wine merchants fits the bill.
Others may join a wine club and buy case lots and others might take a pilgrimage to vineyards and buy their favourite tipple direct.

Either way, it's fair to say that most consumers will buy wine at a supermarket at some point.

So what is it about supermarlet wines that gets people bent out of shape about the wine's quality? Why the stigma?

Mass-produced, cheap 'n nasty, non-age-worthy and crap are some of the descriptors I have heard. But is it? Are Supermarket wines folly or fortune?
Well, it all depends on what you are looking for and where you get it.

Most supermarkets bulk buy, theres no secret there. The power of bulk buying resulting in a lower price per unit for the buyer is simple business savvy.
Up until recently many of the big supermarket chains did sell cheap and cheerful bulk wines from the countries producing them and consumers loved it....initially.
Wine was available to Jo public at affordable prices and for many the journey into wine started. There were many choices and countries to learn from and it didn't cost a fortune.

Buying Supermarket Wine - Folly or Fortune?

Things have changed though.

Jo public's palate has evolved and is looking for new wine experiences.
The market has changed, wine is popular and supermarkets know it.
There's still room for cheap 'n cheerful but consumers are aware that for an extra couple of pounds, dollars or euros you may get something a little nicer.

The wine world has changed aswell with many countries discouraging winemakers from mass-producing wine, preferring to concentrate on quality vs quantity.
The price of good wine has decreased to an affordable level mostly because of this.

 

Today, most supermarkets carry a good selection of wines from different countries, grape varieties and styles. Price points are low to mid-range and generally the wines are to drink now and not cellared. 


So, are they worth it? Sure, they are tasty, there's nothing wrong with them and they have their place.
Some of the higer end supermarkets are starting to move into the fine-wine market and some have wine programs, however if you are looking for something to put in your cellar and drink in 10 years time then everyday supermarkets are not the place to look. That's when you'd go to a speciality store or fine wine merchant for advice and guidance on what to purchase.

Buying Supermarket Wine - Folly or Fortune?

In France it's common in supermarkets to find 1st Growth Bordeaux or Grand Cru Burgundy's on the shelf to pick up and buy.


Their quality? Well that's a different kettle of fish altogether. I don't doubt that they are ok but they are pricey (of course) so if you buy and it isn't "healthy" or "good" will the supermarket give you a replacement or even know what the fault is? How has it been cellared? Has it been left on a shelf in a warm warehouse for a few months?
You will have no idea and so your purchase will definitely be a gamble especially if you've driven all the way back to the UK and then found out that your expensive bottle of wine is off.

In short; if you buy supermarket wine off the shelf keep it from the low to mid-range price point and drink it.
If you're looking to create a cellar, buy a special bottle or want to try something a bit different go to a specialist where you can be guaranteed of cellaring conditions and origin. 

Drink This: 

Try this. It's not from a supermarket but is great wine at a great price

Mixed Wine Case
Wine Tags: 

Comments

I'm originally from France but now live in Australia and I must admit I kind of miss the wine aisles at French supermarkets. There's so much more choice there and the wine is also much cheaper.

I think you're right though, expensive wines are probably best bought directly from a producer or a specialty wine store.I've bought a few corked wines from supermarkets before and that's always a very sad experience, especially when it's an expensive wine hehe.

di's picture

Thanks Pearl - yes you have to like the wine prices in France €5 or even lower can get you a great bottle.

It is a shame in Australia they don't sell wine in the supermarkets. Being a Kiwi, I am use to it in the NZ supermarkets but since moving to Perth I have missed it. It's nice to be able to do the grocery shop and wine shop at the same time!

However if I was after an expensive bottle I would definitely head to a wine shop rather than the supermarket to ensure that all important quality! Great article :)

It's interesting you say that Casey, there is plenty of supermarkets with a wine section on the east coast. The wine is often big brand and not terribly interesting though.

Great post. We have a huge supermarket based wine industry in Australia (not as big as the UK but approaching it). Generally I find supermarkets here stock the mainstream large wineries. Often reasonable quality, at bulk buying prices. We also have a lot of specialty liquor supermarkets- huge stores that only stock alcohol, some of the wines are from small producers. Like you, i do wonder how it is handled though- I know they are careful about storage conditions but I do wonder how long some of the corked bottles stand up on the shelf before sale. Bit less of an issue with our massive screw top culture.

Oh no, my comment was just deleted I think.

This is a great post. I definitely agree with not buying expensive wine. I always wonder how long the cork-sealed bottles have been standing up on the shelves.
Thanks for linking up again to #Winenot

di's picture

Thanks for your comments Nicole. Mainstream stuff for sure is what is generally on the shelves which is ok is that's what you're after.
In Canada they have separate stores for wine, beer and spirits which is a pain if you just want a quick bottle. It's also extremely expensive given the taxes over there so i'm quite content now that i'm here in the land of affordable vino!

In Australia, while alcohol is not sold in supermarkets, the supermarkets often own bottle shops right next door to the supermarkets. In fact, our alcohol retail market is dominated by our two supermarket chains, Coles & Woolworths.

It is largely well known, high volume wineries, many with good quality, or home brands.

There are gems to be found, especially in the 'bargain bin'!

I try to shop at cellar doors, through mailing lists with wineries, or independent bottle shops though. They tend to have more interesting selections and more money ends up in the winemaker/winery's pocket.

Thanks for linking up through #WINENOT!

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