The 2017 Drinks Retailing Awards’ Multiple Wine Retailer of the Year winner is renowned for innovating in the category and its Green Collection includes carbon-neutral, no-sulphur- added and organic wines to tap into these consumer trends.
Mike James, Aldi’s wine buying director, told OLN: “These wines are either better for the environment or seen as ‘better for me’.
“We are dipping our toe in the water here. We are convinced there is a more considered customer out there who is happy to spend a bit more for that feel- good factor.
“These are all good-quality wines and we are adding eight, rather than the odd one here and there. It shows we are serious about this.”
The Green Collection includes Organic Prosecco priced at £7.99, Toro Loco Organic 2015 (£4.99) and, from South Africa, Origin Pure No Sulphur Added Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (£5.49) and Earth’s Essence No Sulphur Added Shiraz 2016 (£6.99).
“The range has a Prosecco, because Prosecco is our biggest seller, and Toro Loco is one of our top selling red wines, so at £4.99 this is very accessible for an organic wine,” said James. “We also have two organic wines from Jean Claude Mas, who is a great winemaker.” These are Vin Blanc 2016 at £5.99 and Sud de France 2016, at £6.99.
James said the move is part of a bigger Aldi project, which includes free-from, organic and superfoods being introduced across the shop floor.
The retailer’s other new initiative, French Discoveries, is an 11-strong collection ranged in three tiers.
James said: “The UK is so near to France and I’ve always been a bit frustrated that it produces three or four times the amount of wine Australia does, yet in the UK we sell more Australian wine.
“There is a lot of amazing stuff from France but it’s hard to sell. So we’ve spent some time working out how to bring this to the UK market.
“This collection uses the colours and labels you might see from New World wines, rather than the beige and magnolia labels you see a lot from France. We wanted to tap into what Australia does well and do it with French wine.”
The range includes entry-level Pardon My French, which James describes as “blended, easy- drinking wines”.
He said: “We are not forgetting the appellation system but celebrating it, yet at the same time we are saying, yes, it is a bit different. In this overall collection you can move up to the “forgotten appellations” – these are not Chablis or Châteauneuf-du-Pape, these are wines that have fallen off the radar.”
Wines under this second tier banner include The Forgotten One Cahors 2014 and The Forgotten One Haut Poitou 2016 (both £6.99).
The top tier has two “lot” wines, priced at £9.99 – Lot 22 Terrasses du Larzac 2015 and Lot 23 Minervois La Liviniere 2015.
“Adding these wines is quite a bold move because, although French wine was in growth a bit at the end of last year, it has been fairly flat over the past few years.
“In fairness, though, France has woken up. It has been stung by the New World revolution and it is now embracing New World learnings. I still think the packaging hasn’t got to that stage and that’s what we are doing here. ”
Other newcomers from Aldi include two 75cl Cocktail on Ice fruit fusion wines, in flavours of watermelon and pomegranate, priced at £2.99.