Originally published on The Wine Gang’s website….
Anyone who’s scanned our blog posts in recent months could be forgiven for thinking that we, and you, have bottomless pockets when it comes to buying wine. Speaking of which, Ant may well raid his piggy bank for a teeny allocation of delicious DRC each year and good for him (I’m already looking forward to my next dinner chez Rose!) but many of us regularly buy wines off the high street too, and with this in mind this month I want to talk about the high street’s biggest (wine) talking point, Aldi.
Newly-crowned Supermarket of the Year at this month’s Drinks Retailing Awards, Aldi’s prize caused much cooing around the room in The Dorchester on Park Lane, presumably because Waitrose was finally knocked off its perch after holding this title for an impressive seven straight years.
As the award displayed, Waitrose has been for years – and continues to be – a beacon of consistency with decent wines at decent prices and the occasional glimmer of excitement. Aldi by contrast is in the ascendency, rewarded (I imagine) for its realtively new wine attitude; clever sourcing, sometimes remarkable pricing and all the while it keeps its range relatively streamlined, a real bonus for customers who are daunted by the walls of supermarket wine (something I witness on a monthly basis these days after spending hours at a time in a supermarket aisle filming Saturday Kitchen Live).
Naturally I can’t speak for the DRA judges, but perhaps the above criteria counted towards Aldi landing another two gongs at the recent trade ceremony, namely Multiple Wine Retailer of the Year and Drinks Buying Team of the Year.
Not content with basking in the glory of industry recognition, for that is what these awards display, Aldi has now brought its much-praised selection to a wider audience. Not only will it expand to more than 1,000 UK stores by 2025 but last month it took its wines online. Not the entire range, but even so a healthy 90 wines can now be purchased in cases of six that are mixed by design or ready-mixed.
It seems there’s no stopping the supermarket of the moment, but can it sustain this impressive momentum? Well, the next Aldi tasting takes place later this month so we’ll give you our lowdown in a report very soon. Watch this space!