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Lidl US flags up wine range ahead of US launch

Lidl US is flagging up recent large wins at two US-based wine awards, and adopting colour coded taste descriptors in store to tempt US consumers into its wine aisles.

Lidl US Store Exterior [Image: Lidl US]

Ahead of its official launch next week, the retailer scooped the top retailer spot at the 2017 LA International Wine Competition last week, winning 101 medals in addition to 104 medals the Indy International Wine Competition. According to US site, the wins are expected to be used to underline the credibility of Lidl’s wine selection to US consumers who are unused to the predominantly private-label list offered by the discounter.

Lidl US’s Adam Lapierre MW, who oversees the wine department, is reported to have said that the sheer number of awards “speak for themselves.”

“It’s incredibly exciting to have some of the country’s leading experts respond so enthusiastically to our wine range before we even open our doors,” he said.

Adam Lapierre, Lidl US’s director of purchasing, Wine

The German retailer, which is due to open its first US stores next week (15 June), has also issued fliers highlighting a colour-coded system that will be used to merchandise wines to provide a “personal wine guide” across its BWS aisles in a bid to reassure consumer about its wines.

“At Lidl, picking a wine couldn’t be easier,” the flier notes. “Our Master of Wine has classified the flavour profile of each wine in our selection to help you pick one you’ll love.”

It goes on to describe sixteen wines using eight taste descriptors – fresh & fruity, full & flavourful, rich & supple, savoury & spicy, bright & crisp, light & fruity, sweet & luscious, ripe & rich – including red, white and rose wines, sparkling, sweet wine and port.

Lapierre had already confirmed that it will include wines from Napa Valley, the Oregon Coast, the South of France and Tuscany, and that many of its wines will be exclusive to the retailer, but the flier adds more detail to the wines it will be offering.

It comprises six wines from California, one from Washington, three French wines, three Italian, and one each from Spain, Portugal and Chile, including the Prosecco Spumante Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG that won the Sparkling Wine of the Year awards at the Indy International Wine Competition, a Bourgogne Chablis 2015 AOP, a Rueda Verdejo, a Pinot Grigio Monterey, Chardonnay from Columbia Valley, a Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, Provence Coteaux Varois Rose and a Chilean Malbec Gran Reserva.

However Lidl US has yet to confirm if it intends to run the bi-monthly Wine Cellar promotional events in the US that have helped it gain market share and appeal to new consumers in the UK and create a ‘halo effect’ for its wider grocery offer. This boosts the UK’s 72-strong core range with around 40 ‘one-off’ wines every two months.

Lidl UK runs regular French Wine Cellar Collections

Last month the retailer launched its US social media sites and an advertising campaign ahead of the launch on 15 June, which will see the opening of its first nine stores with a further eleven planned over the summer. The initial stores have been confirmed for Virginia Beach and Hampton, in Virginia, Spartanburg and Greenville in South Carolina, and Kinston, Greenville, Sanford, Rocky Mount and Winston-Salem in North Carolina.

The retailer’s US headquarter is based in Arlington County, Virginia, with distribution centres in Spotsylvania County in Virginia, Alamance County in North Carolina, and Cecil County in Maryland.

According to the UK BWS team, the opening of the US operation is likely to open up opportunities to stock more US wine across its European operations.

Speaking to db last month, Lidl UK’s wine buying manager Anna Krettmann said she was excited at the prospect of stocking “some great Californian wines” in the UK on the back of Lapierre’s experience and strong links with Californian wineries.

Under Lidl’s European sourcing model, a large proportion of wines are sourced by its wine buying teams located in countries where Lidl operates an office, with these wines then available across the stores’ international estate – and Krettmann said the idea would also be applied to the US. Currently, Lidl’s European roots has meant it has historically been stronger in European wine than New World wines, as buying teams have been able to tap into their connections with local growers.

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