The trial will go live today, and is motivated by a need to “educate and inspire” shoppers, according to senior wine buyer Julian Dyer.
“Even in today’s straitened times, there is a role for innovative, exciting, quality wines that offer a genuine point of difference to our customers,” he said. “Our buyers have had carte blanche to make some real discoveries.”
Wines featured in the new section will include Chilean Maycas del Limari Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (rrp £8.99), Fina Vini Grillo 2008 from Sicily (rrp £8.99) and a 100% Syrah Cave Saint-Désirat Saint-Joseph 2007 (rrp £9.99).
Wine buyer Michelle Smith said the new wine bay would be positioned next to the fine wine section in stores, and be accompanied by shelf-edge barkers featuring tasting notes and photos of food-matching suggestions.
“The wines are a good expression of their type. We’re looking for things we don’t currently have in the range,” she added.
The supermarket has also undertaken a major revamp of its Burgundy range after switching suppliers to the Blason co-op. Newcomers include Blasons de Bourgogne Mâcon-Villages 2008 (rrp £5.49), Taste the Difference Petit Chablis 2008 (rrp £7.51) and Taste the Difference Chablis Premier Cru 2007 (rrp £12.99).
Dyer said: “While everyone has been talking about the demise of French wine, we have found that the classic regions can be a force for growth, and Burgundy should be no exception.”