Monday the 19th a very interesting article appeared in the ‘Pricewatch’ section of The Irish Times called ‘A bunch of Grape Gripes’  in this article Fiona Reddan looks at the discounts given by many of the multiple retailers, like Dunnes and Tesco and asks are consumers actually getting value for money?  The conclusion her to expert tasters reached was that half of the wines represented, should actually retail at the discounted price and not the orignal price, Maureen O’Hara on the Cuvée des Amandiers Pays D’Oc 2010,’ “It was really pleasant, with earthy jammy aromas and a lovely long length of flavour to it,” she said. However, she wouldn’t classify it as a “€13.99 wine”.  But that at €6.99  it represents good value for money.

Then again in the Irish Times on Saturday Conor Pope’s Consumer Affairs column took up the baton with an Article on how Lidl’s cheap wine marketing is irresponsible. He was  And one cannot argue with his logic but my question is do the consumers really care or is price really all that matters to them? Lately I have seen the sort of was this price now this price offers entering the Independent wine trade. A what are so-called specialist attempting to compete with the supermarkets on their playing field. One such independent had an offer recently for a mixed case of wine that costs €135 down €28 from the Full price of €163. But when i did some quick mental arithmetic I discovered that the sum total of the first elven bottles was €130.99. Are we to believe that the final wine in the case is valued at €30!

It maybe but it seems unlikely as the average price of a bottle in a case of 12 @ €135 is €11.25, that would meaning a whopping discount on this bottle of around €20, very unlikely. Also over half the bottles in the case had a full retail price of less than what the average bottle price was, this is not educating the public to our quality wines and demonstrating to the public that we can supply them with good wines at reasonable prices it is simple an attempt in my opinion to cash in on a perceived discount, which would be also perceived as having wines of a higher quality than the large brands frequently discounted by the large multiples. In essence if these wines do not offer greater quality and value for money than those from the larger supermarket wineries are we as an independent sector not at a loss as we are offering much the same wines as the supermarkets but at a higher cost for the pleasure of our ‘expertise’!  If that is the case then we should cease to be called independents and just band together to compete as a co-operative against the evil supermarkets. We cannot beat them at their own game so why try?