As the weather changes, so do consumer tastes. Ahead of the coldest time of year, wine lovers have begun to reach for different drops, focusing more on the wine for the season – red.

Bottled red wine is a well performing segment in the market right now, and IRI Australia notes its growth is higher than its white counterpart. IRI consultant Delphine Lambert described the value in such a section of the market.

“Red bottled wine has been growing at +13.3 per cent compared to YA in the last MAT, generating over $216M additional sales,” Lambert said.

“This growth is driven by Shiraz and Pinot Noir, growing +$85.6M and +$56.5M respectively, closely followed by Cabernet Sauvignon (+$44.7M compared to YA). Also worth noting is the strong value growth of smaller varietals like Tempranillo and Blends (+48.9 per cent), Grenache (+95.7 per cent) and Sangiovese (+88.6 per cent).”

There’s a lot of opportunity to be unlocked there, especially in a season that puts red in the spotlight in general. The opportunity is boosted when you look at the vibrancy of the red market and how this is driving demand.

“New products launched this year have generated close to $93M sales, with around 600 additional red bottled wine SKUs in retail, which indicates a strong interest for this segment,” Lambert said.

“We are also seeing more brands adding an organic range to their brands, or offering more lighter and new varietals to complement their range of Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon/Pinot Noir. We believe this trend will continue through 2021 as well.”

It’s clear that shoppers are keen to explore red wine in general. But what is it that boosts this interest in winter?

Jason Bowyer, Aldi Australia Buying Director for Wine and Sparkling, says the answer lies in how the temperature influences what we do, and what wine pairs best with whatever it is we end up doing.

“As we head into winter, it’s not uncommon to crave comfort – and the comfort food we turn to often supports our switch from white to red wine,” he said.

The Aldi approach

Bowyer understands how important it is for Aldi to adapt the way it sells to customers in a new season. The retailer recently launched its winter 2021 selection of wines, a range curated by Bowyer with six affordable products that showcase different styles and wine regions.

Included in the range is Vinatero Old Vine Grenache, Eastern Laneway Vintners Grampians Shiraz, Seppelt Hundredweight Hill Shiraz, Wolf Blass Exclusive Release Cabernet Sauvignon, Humo Blanco Organic Cabernet Sauvignon, Taylors Estate Special Release Clare Valley Shiraz.

All of the wines (except the Taylors) are available for a limited time or until sold out, over just the winter months. Some are small batch, others are exclusive collaborations, and all balance the Aldi brand ethos and the needs of its customers over winter.

“We always aim to deliver the highest quality at the most affordable price point. This is what we’re constantly thinking about. We’re able to do this by partnering with our strong and passionate supplier base to look for interesting ways to meet growing trends, so we can continue to surprise and delight our customers,” said Bowyer.

“We also love to push the boundaries, the Eastern Laneway Vintners Grampians Shiraz 2020 is a great example of this: an organically farmed single vineyard wine from the coolish Great Western region, hand-made using small batch techniques. The style is one that would highly appeal to sommeliers and true wine lovers, and to be able to buy this kind of wine at such an affordable price point is unique.

“We know our Australian customers love new discoveries as well as supporting local. Our seasonal releases are curated to suit a wide range of tastes, pairings and preferences – but our quality and value will always remain a priority.”

Big sellers

The way that Bowyer sets about the task of tailoring a special seasonal wine selection is based in research. Key to the success of any limited release is consumers wanting to actually buy it, so making sure it’s aligned to shopper tastes is key.

“We are constantly analysing consumer trends to ensure our offer is interesting, relevant and the best value for Australians,” Bowyer told National Liquor News.

“Our analysis has found that consumers are enjoying lighter reds more and more, so the Vinatero Old Vine McLaren Vale Grenache 2020 and the Charles Renoir Beaujolais 2018/2019 are sensational wines to meet this need at an affordable price.

“The move toward organic is another growing trend, and the Francois Lurton Humo Blanco Central Vallees Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 is an example of how we’ve entered this space with a quality product at great value.”

In terms of what is working best in red on a wider market scale, Lambert said IRI is seeing similar things.

“Last year (MAT To 01/03/20), red bottled wine grew at +2.9 per cent, with over half of the growth coming from Shiraz, the largest red bottled wine varietal,” she said.

“Tempranillo and Grenache were already starting to become more popular, but this growth has accelerated this year, especially for the Grenache varietal.”

Retailers like Aldi that understand the fluctuations of consumer desire and tailoring their wine range accordingly are showing shoppers unique points of difference.

It doesn’t need to be a huge hassle to do this. What the Aldi case study shows is that key to success in a seasonal wine strategy is listening to those who shop your store and giving them something that suits their needs at a particular point in time.

Interested in learning more about how retailers and suppliers can collaborate on red wine? Keep an eye out for our May issue, which features an analysis about how Liquor Marketing Group and Treasury Wine Estates did just this.  

Brydie Allen

Brydie Allen is the Editor of National Liquor News. She has been with Food and Beverage Media since 2019, when she joined the company as a journalist across National Liquor News, Bars & Clubs, The...

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