Very Special Offers

I love getting a good deal, I am always very pleased when I can get either a bargain or something that is great value for money.

Deals, discounts and special offers are not quite the same thing. The supermarkets are currently loaded with special offers on wine. This should be a good thing, but I am not so sure.

A great many of the offers around at the moment strike me as being entirely cynical and bogus – here are a few that I noticed the other day in a leading supermarket:

Has anyone ever heard of an IGT Pinot Grigio legitimately selling for £8.99?

£9.99 for a South East Australia Chardonnay - really?

Branded Bordeaux Rouge for £9.99 - since when?

Aussie red of no clear provenance, it just says 'wine of Australia' on the label - for £8.99

A.C. Bordeaux Blanc for £11.99 - they cannot be serious!

Now, I have not tasted any of these wines, so cannot comment on the liquid. I do know the provenance of these wines though and I know wines just like them. I know the prices these wines really command and guess what those prices are?

Yup, you guessed it, something like the price they have been reduced to is the proper price for all these wines. Consumers who buy these wines are not getting hugely reduced expensive bottles of wine.

That Sauvignon Blanc is NOT an £11.99 wine – it is a £5.99-ish wine.

That Pinot Grigio is NOT an £8.99 wine.

That Australian Chardonnay is NOT a £9.99 wine.

That Aussie red is NOT an £8.99 wine.

That Bordeaux Rouge is NOT a £9.99 wine.

By the way, I am sure there are more examples. I will post others as I find them and would ask you to send them in as well.

Surely consumers buy these wines expecting that an expensive wine has been reduced to make it affordable. Instead they get a cynical offer of a wine selling for something like its proper price ‘reduced’ from a hugely inflated retail price point.

This cannot do wine retailing any favours. If an inexperienced consumer buys the 2 Bordeaux wines shown above, it is quite possible they will be very unimpressed and happily return to drinking something like Blossom Hill in the future – but they will believe that they have tried good French wine and found it wanting.

I always advise my students to keep away from such offers – unless they know the specific wine. There is always better value to be had in the ranks of ‘unreduced’ wines on the supermarket shelves – just wines bought well and sold at a fair price.

Eyeing up the red Bordeaux? The same supermarket carries a Petit Château Claret, Château David, @ £5.79 and Domaine du Colombier Chinon @ £5.99 – both of which seem more interesting alternatives to the ‘reduced’ Bordeaux.

They also have a wine that I know very well, Tinto Da Anfora from Portugal is a stunning bottle of wine for £5.99 and real value for money.

How about alternatives to the Bordeaux Blanc Sauvignon Blanc? The same store stocks 2 Muscadets – 1 at £3.99 and 1 at £4.99, both suitable choices. They also have a huge array of Sauvignon Blancs from lots of places for the same sort of price.

For £6.99 they also stock a Tatse the Difference Grüner Veltliner which is an interesting wine that should appeal to someone who likes Sauvignon Blanc.

Tatse the Difference Gavi, @ £6.99, could provide a good substitute for any Chardonnay while their Soave Colli Scaligeri, @ £4.27, would make a suitably delicate and great value alternative to a Pinot Grigio, as would the slightly sweet Orvieto Classico Amabile Le Cimmelle @ £3.99.

You see, you can always find some good, real bargains at a fair price on the supermarket shelves – so who needs a deal?

5 thoughts on “Very Special Offers

  1. The clever, and most damaging thing about this little trick is that it convinces the 90% of wine consumers who don’t know that much about wine that a £8 or £10 bottle is not noticeably different from a £4 or £5 wine so there is no point trading up.

    This is exactly the behaviour the supermarkets want. They need to keep people in the £3-6 bracket because that is where they can beat the competition.

    Dishonest, manipulative and devious.

  2. Tasman Bay looks like a rip off of FirstCape or the FirstCape brand has it’s counterpart in an Aussie (likely). I watched Barrington Estate being bottled in the UK a short while ago.

    • It is actually made by First Cape and makes reference to this on the label, perhaps I will try it some time.

  3. Pingback: A Fine Balance – why expensive wines and cheap wines often bore me « Quentin Sadler's Wine Page

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