Last year was the first time the supermarket had won the coveted gong in the competition’s 29-year history.
It was a reward for the way Mark Jarman’s wine sourcing team has overhauled its own label offering and packed the shelves full of medal winners at affordable prices.
Jarman told OLN: “We are pushing the quality envelope year after year. This time we received 103 awards at the IWC. That’s the first time we have received more than 100. It’s a 28% increase year on year in awards.
“We are continuing to push that quality envelope. I firmly believe that the way we work with our producers is the major contributor to it – working with them at source.
“We have a blend that’s 95% where it needs to be and we ask, ‘could you add other varietals that could take it that extra 5%?’ If you are out there with them on the ground you can ask for an extra varietal, an extra barrel age. If you are doing it in the UK you are limited to what you can do. It’s a big commitment in terms of time, with a small team, but it’s a philosophy that’s getting results for us.”
Morrisons has used POS highlighting the IWC across its in-store fixture and featured it on press and TV advertising.
“It’s had a real impact on bringing customers into Morrisons,” said Jarman (who is pictured, right, with colleague Andrew Ingham, who Tweeted to say he was "so delighted it's ridiculous").
Jarman added: “Having seen this award as being the preserve of some of the more premium retailers, some people are considering Morrisons as a serious retailer for the first time.
“It’s really a springboard. It’s an endorsement we put on the quality of our own label range and the way we work with winemakers to source and blend everything in our own label range.
“We are exploring new varietals and opportunities. We we want to encourage our customers to take that next step, introduce them to new and interesting products. We now have a loyal customer following, where people will come on that journey, given our awards success and the credibility we now have as a retailer for wine.”
Meanwhile London retailer Vagabond beat Hedonism to win the award for best large independent retailer and D Byrne & Co, which is in Clitheroe, won the award for best small retailer.