I’ll admit that I frequent supermarkets and although I do my best to support our wonderful local butchers, bakers and fishmongers in Galway, some items are just easier to get there such as bin liners, washing powder etc.   And like most people I am often tempted by their offers, some of which seem too good to be true!   It was during last evening’s visit to Tescos that it struck me in just how confusing a supermarket wine aisle can be, packed head to toe as it is with wines and  blatant offers such as “this was X now half price at Y” or “buy 6 bottles and get them for Q that’s a discount of X%”.  Are such offers encouraging responsible drinking?

With half price offers becoming a regular fixture in the supermarkets and the big multiples entering a wine war, we have entered a race to the bottom that affects every one of us independents.   How can we hope to get customers to trade up to a wine that we stock for €10 when they have “tried” one at half price from the supermarket and cannot see the difference (as many of these wines are actually trade drivers or tactical brands that were never the original price but were priced up to be marked down). Jaime Goode had a rant about this last week.

Surely then, in the opinion of Joe Blogs, we are just snake oil merchants trying to swindle them, and only the good old supermarkets are offering real value, giving them a huge array of choice at reasonable prices.   How do we break this mind-set? It was nice to see Jacobs Creek recently deciding they had enough of the bottom of the barrel but surely it is harder to drag a brand back up once it has been associated with cheap drink!   The key is to educate the consumer, share with them our knowledge, let them know what the supermarkets are doing and while some will listen and more will not it is nevertheless our responsibility to get them asking the pertinent questions such as why the wine is half price.   Because as far as I can see this trend of discounting will continue for some time to come.