No point whining, supermarkets are changing

Date published: 20 September 2014

Tesco, king of the supermarket chain, has seen its sales slump over the last year. The smaller, price conscious food companies, Lidl and Aldi are nipping at their heels with some incredible every day low prices.

The war has begun and they want your loyalty, some are prepared to buy it. Last week's Sunday Times newspaper had a pull out booklet from Lidl offering 'The Wine Cellar. An essential guide to the Lidl premium French wine collection'.

The wines had been chosen by Master of Wine, Richard Bampfield. With little over 300 Master of Wine's in the world, Lidl are taking these wines very seriously.

These are double digit wines being sold at mainly single digit prices.

As a dedicated wine enthusiast, I felt it my duty to head over to my local Lidl and investigate.

Can wine prices change our shopping habits?

I have shopped at Tesco for the last twenty years, mainly because I live two minutes away. In my world, convenience is king. I tend to shop daily just buying for that day's requirements. Apparently this is becoming a common shopping pattern for many people. It allows you to buy what you need only, minimising waste and hopefully spending less money, although the latter isn't always the result.

Lidl is a mere two mile drive from my house so no hardship there. My first thoughts upon entering the store was it is like being in a mainland Europe convenience store, in other words quite non discript, somewhat utilitarian and uninspiring.

The wine was at the back of the store. The walk to the aisle consisted of nothing of particular interest so I remained focused.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the wines that were on offer were actually available, so kudos to Lidl for that one (unlike many a magazine offer!).

The deal was buy four French wines and get a further £4 off. I decided to buy five.

I pondered staying longer but then went straight to the checkout. I listened to the cashier debating with the manager about how busy she was and it was technically her break.


I left without being inspired. I was however impressed with my purchases and more impressed with the price.

Once home I immediately placed said Chablis in the fridge for later consumption.

My purchases were, Chablis premier Cru £12.99, Gigondas £9.99( Chateau Neuf look alike), Sancerre rose £7.99, Cotes de Gascogne Sauvignon Blanc £4.99, Fleurie Beaujolais £6.49 and a Mercurey Pinot Noir £9.99.

In the booklet these wines were rated by the Master as being either from 'good' to 'outstanding'. Well the prices certainly are outstanding and is probably a large factor in how they have been judged.

I  diligently tasted the wines.

I believe their rating are price sensitive, i.e. a Chablis premier Cru at £12.99 is indeed outstanding being that most would be closer to £20.

All-in-all I found the wines to be very good; they have picked the big name wines with the wow factor to impress.

Will this inspire me to go back to Lidl again?


However, if I visit my local wine store I can enjoy better wines that are not so well known for the same prices in a much more enjoyable environment and go to Tesco on the way back.

Food & Wine by Paul Sheerin

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