Waitrose tries out a sharing size in leading wine category

20 April, 2007

Supermarket launching 50cl format with two varietals from the Loire Valley

Waitrose is listing a French wine range in 50cl bottles as part of a bigger push towards "sharing" sizes.

It will initially launch a pair of Loire single varietals - Chardonnay and Gamay - under the Vin à Deux name. An image of two glasses and the tagline "Vin à Deux - the comfortable size for two" will appear on shelf cards and bottles .Produced by Loire-based Frederic Brochet in Haut Poitou, both are closed with screwcap and will retail at £4.49.

Wine buyer Nick Room said: "The offer is pitched towards weekday supper-shoppers looking for a simple solution to drinking less alcohol.

They can


this one bottle between them rather than feel obliged to consume the extra [in a 75cl bottle] or keep it for another day ."

If the size proves successful, Waitrose will go on to launch two Burgundian wines with Boisset in the late summer, Room added.

"In time we hope to get more space to display this range as a serious alternative to the 75cl bottle and other fractional sizes," he said.

Tim North, director of Chenet supplier Les Grands Chais de France, said demand for the 25cl size of its French brand is increasing. It also is looking into developing a 50cl format for Chenet, currently the UK off-trade's best-selling French wine brand.

Marks & Spencer is also investing more in smaller formats. It has launched a 25cl range that includes Châteauneuf du Pape, Sancerre, Petit Chablis and Macon Rosé. Winemaker Jo Ahearne said: "25cl

bottles are very successful, and in the summer this format is particularly

popular - a small bottle of wine is all that people require on something like a picnic."

Norfolk-based distributor Roger Harris Wines is also reporting a surge in demand for

25cl bottles since it started distributing the smaller format in 1996.

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