Supermarkets and wine, once again
January 11, 2010
A couple of days ago, I was doing some shopping at M&S and noticed, in a prominent position, a bottle of wine labelled as Chardonnay Rose'. Because Chardonnay is a white grape and a rose' wine cannot be made with just Chardonnay, curious, I read the back label and found out that it is a Chardonnay with added Merlot. A couple of days earlier, when shopping at Sainsbury I have noticed a white wine, a Sauvignon, on offer, again in prominent position and discounted by 50% saying on the label Gran Reserva. Again, curious, I took the bottle and read front and back label only to discover that the wine is a 2009 Sauvignon and the gran reserva is not due to ageing. I have also noticed that amongst the wines on offer, this was the most sold. In the old world, a wine could only have gran reserva on the label if it had been aged. In another occasion, I saw a wine on offer, an Italian sparkling wine, again, in special offer, highly discounted, with a wine award winner label on the neck of the bottle and customers were buying it. It was an Asti Spumante that in Italy nobody would dare to buy, unless you were buying it for your worst enemy or as a joke.
To me, these wines and the way are presented, shows a clear marketing strategy more and more often used by supermarkets to mislead and deceive consumers. A missing information, an extra word with a confusing meaning or an award to entice customers towards highly discounted wines that have been proved by plenty of reliable sources, being offered at what will be their normal price. And the first two episodes are also what I call tricks, used by wine makers based on, or not, suggestions by the supermarket. If this was not the case, why any blend that has Pinot Grigio on it, even in small quantities, due to the popularity of the wine, has the mention of the grape on the label and the Chardonnay did not? Or what, a non expert wine drinker, will think when he or she reads gran reserva on the label of a wine reduced by 50%? That is getting a bargain.
Unfortunately all these tricks, all legally ok, but not ethically, have the only aim of deceiving consumers and keeping them away from good wine and there is no one who can help, other than the consumers themselves, reading the whole label.
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