Earlier today I read an interesting article from The London Observer about Tesco's push into their own branded wines. As I understand it, this is a growing trend throughout the UK as both Sainsbury and Asda (owned by WalMart), two other regional chains, also have their own branded wine.
As a food marketer, I'm well versed in the battle of the store brand vs. the manufaturer's brand. Though I should be staunchly "pro-brand," I believe that for some products, the store brand is no different and in some cases, better. However, when it comes to wines, I firmly believe that the fewer layers there are between the winemaker and the consumer, the better. This trend makes me a little sad and I sincerely hope it does not "cross the pond."
I know I'm being a bit harsh. The Observer wine critic, David Williams, found some bright spots in his tasting. However, Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda are not winemakers themselves and when you have non-winemakers weighing in on the product because of cost or stocking needs, it will ultimately have an adverse effect on the wine. It's the same reason why we don't let our retail customers into our product development meetings in my line of business!
One day I sincerely hope to have a tasting note for you on a Tesco, Sainsbury and/or Asda wine (especially because this means I will be traveling) because I think it's only fair for me to give them a shot. But I'm skeptical.
Until the next sniff, sip or quaff of non-store brand wine,