By Charlie Whitting, Assistant Editor, National Liquor News
Last year was an exemplary one for Aldi. As well as enjoying strong growth, the business won a string of awards, including Roy Morgan’s Liquor Store of the Year, and was named Australia’s ‘most trusted brand’.
Jason Bowyer, Aldi’s Wine and Sparkling Wine Buying Director, saw 2018’s achievements as a testament to the company’s “ongoing commitment to doing the right thing for our suppliers, customers, employees, the community and the environment” for which the recognition was immensely rewarding.
“Winning awards is a combination of many factors. It is the outcome of fostering great supplier partnerships, being focused on ensuring we source high quality fruit while working alongside incredible winemakers to create outstanding wines which deliver on quality.
“Quality and value have always been the main focus for us. When you are focused on the customer, it’s easier to produce wines they will like and will also perform strongly in the show circuit. Everything we do is designed with one purpose in mind: to provide the highest quality products at the best possible prices.
After the successes of 2018, thoughts turn to this year and how to maintain that success and build upon it.
“The real challenge will be ensuring that we stay well ahead of our competitors as they look to us to match some of our initiatives. Whether on price or offering our customers on-trend wine regions and styles, we must continue to evolve and adapt our wines to meet the desires of tomorrow’s shopper.
“We constantly look for innovation, studying consumer trends and looking domestically and abroad for new varietals and styles. Rosé is certainly the hot topic at the moment and we will be focusing on this category, bringing a range of styles and regions to our customers. Early in 2019 we will launch a Soave (a dry Italian white wine) under our Corte Carista brand.”
As well as Rosé, Aldi is looking to focus on the growing popularity of sparkling wine which Bowyer believes is driven by customers’ desire for “aspirational products” and “affordable luxury”. He sees these approaches as “undeniably different” and knows that looking ahead, he relishes the challenge of taking things another step further. While these are the focuses of Aldi as a business, Bowyer believes that there are other aspects that the industry as a whole should be highlighting in 2019.
“One area that requires more discussion is how the industry can bring to the forefront more in demand white and red varietals. Consumers have shown an appetite for lighter more refreshing wine styles. We have seen this phenomenon with Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Rosé and Pinot Noir. Breaking away from the traditional varietal segments and looking for other varieties that offer this will be important. Winemakers and marketers attuned to exploring this trend will be rewarded with loyal customers.”
What are customers looking for?
- “Consumers are definitely looking for functionality, greater choice and products that deliver refreshment.”
- “We expect customers to continue seeking aspirational products and adding some affordable luxury to the mix will keep them further engaged and excited.”
- “Sparkling is a hugely exciting category and we see consumers seeking products beyond Prosecco and Champagne. Dry Italian Sparkling, premium French Sparkling and Sparkling Rosé varieties will be on trend.”
- “Rosé, Pinot Grigio and lighter reds will continue to thrive and we are really motivated to lift the image of lesser known varietals.”
- “Nero D’Avola and Carmenere are just two diverse varietals that have proven to be successful within our range.”
- “Other varieties that present much opportunity include Grenache and Gamay as consumers seek out lighter, more friendly wine styles.”
This article was written for the 2019 National Liquor News Annual Industry Leaders Forum published in February.