Food Lion is adding to its already lengthy list of exclusive wines with a new varietal launching this month.
Childress Vineyards' Classic Scupperdine will become the retailer's eighth exclusive wine. Selling for $6.99, Scupperdine is a blend of southern muscadine and scuppernong grapes. It will be available in red, white and blush.
The upcoming launch of the Scupperdine follows the introduction of Surf Point in June; Josef Wienberg, April; and Pinecroft, March. These join four other existing exclusive wines that have rolled out over the past two years: Belmondo, Braidenwood, Blue's Corner and Clayhouse.
Food Lion defines all but the Childress Vineyards' Scupperdine as private label. It's merchandising the wine as part of an exclusive deal on that specific varietal, chain spokeswoman Kimberly Blackburn told SN.
Sold exclusively in Food Lion stores (Food Lion, Bloom and Bottom Dollar Food), all eight are being well received, Blackburn said.
“Private brands are a smart option for shoppers because they offer great prices without sacrificing the taste,” she said.
Several Surf Point varietals were honored recently at the San Francisco International Wine Competition. Surf Point Pinot Grigio received the gold medal; Surf Point Merlot, a silver; and Surf Point Chardonnay, bronze. A panel of nationally recognized wine experts judged the competition.
The goal of the assortment is to build customer loyalty, Blackburn said.
“We continually look for opportunities to generate competitive advantages in the market,” she said. “Sometimes it is by creating brands that are only sold at Food Lion. Other times it may be utilizing a successful brand and creating an exclusive deal on a varietal, such as with Scupperdine.”
Food Lion's growing private-label wine assortment is on the radar of other retailers, including Dorothy Lane Market, Dayton, Ohio. Dorothy Lane's beer and wine director, Todd Templin, looked at Food Lion's assortment when searching for a new varietal to add to Dorothy Lane's Todd Norman private-label wine.
Introduced in 2004, the wine is named after Templin and Norman Mayne, Dorothy Lane's chief executive officer. The line has grown to include shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and merlot.
“Having an exclusive wine gives our [wine] shops a lot more credibility,” Templin said.
A new white blend, Todd Norman Societa, by Vinum Vineyards in Napa Valley, hit the shelves in late spring. It sells for $16; $14 on sale.
“The quality of the juice is fantastic,” Templin said. “We're really giving consumers a good value.”
The back label states that Todd Norman is made exclusively for Dorothy Lane, a fact the retailer also promotes on shelf talkers and display cards. To build consumer excitement, Dorothy Lane also samples the wine weekly.
El Segundo, Calif.-based Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market is one of the most active retailers in the private-label wine business. Of some 160 wines it carries, 65 are produced exclusively for its stores.
As for new ventures, a German Riesling is in the works, joining several other new additions, such as a set of wines from Washington state.
Fresh & Easy's private-label wine is doing so well that it outsells branded wine carried at the store.
“We have remarkable feedback from our customers on our wines, and have heard that they want something new and something that is a great value,” said Brendan Wonnacott, spokesman for the subsidiary of U.K.-based Tesco, which operates more than 60 stores in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada. “We're confident that our wine is great quality when compared against other wine in the marketplace. Customers are supporting this approach at all price points.”
All of its private-label wines are the result of a strong partnership between Fresh & Easy and wine producers from New Zealand, Spain, Italy, California and other regions.
“We visit each winery and work together to blend a product we believe the customer will enjoy,” Wonnacott said.
Fresh & Easy's exclusive wines have received 63 awards in the past six months. For instance, at the 2008 San Francisco International Wine Competition, the retailer's Big Kahuna Cabernet Shiraz and Vista Point Chardonnay, both priced at $1.99 in California and $2.99 in Arizona and Nevada, earned bronze medals.