I hate half-price wines.
Of course, there’s nothing new about discounting being used to sell wine.
Many wine brands are priced with a view to being promoted. The wine might be listed at £6.99 and two or three times a year be discounted to £4.99.
Typically, the producer will agree to fund some or all of this promotion, so the retailer doesn’t take too much of a margin hit. In some cases these wines justify their off-promotion asking price.
Then there are the increasingly popular global 25% off the whole wine range offers (in many cases dependent on purchasing 6 or more bottles). In this case the retailer might get the larger producers to contribute, but not the smaller ones (this would be too complex). This is clearly good news for consumers, but perhaps bad news for those producers who will end up getting less for their wines.
My problem is with ‘half-price’ wine.
Half-priced wines are becoming a regular fixture in some supermarkets. And I can’t think of any cases where the consumer is getting a bargain.
These half priced wines are almost always brands specially created to be listed at an abnormally high price with a view to being offered half-price. They’re known as trade drivers or tactical brands within the industry.
I think they are unethical. Immoral, even.
You just have to take a look at the wine that’s typically being sold at £4.99, half-priced from an initial price of £9.99. There’s a fundamental dishonesty in listing a wine that a supermarket will have paid less than a Euro for ex-cellars at £9.99. What if someone buys the wine at this price? They’ll have been royally ripped off.
Then there are the Champagne tactical brands. They are made-up, soft brands on the shelf at say £26, with a view to being sold on promotion at £13. Almost all supermarkets have these. They are deeply dishonest wines.
These illusory deep discounts may make money for the supermarket, but they are bad for wine and bad for the consumer. They may sell well (do they?), but their success will cannibalise sales of off-promotion wines, making it harder for honest wines to keep their listings.
I would like to see supermarkets do the right thing and stop selling these half-price tactical brands. I’d also like to see brand owners act in a less cynical manner and stop developing them.