UK high street retailer Thresher is further simplifying its range with Origin – in which the wine's origin is actually of least importance.

Grapes for the range, which at present is 11 wines priced from £3.99 to £9.99, are sourced from any country that buyers consider offers best value that year.

‘For example, the Chardonnay for 2003 is Chilean, the Shiraz Californian and the Merlot Argentinian. This could all change next year if the buyers find better value and taste elsewhere.’

The chain, which reckons to have a shop within 10 minutes’ walk of 30 million people in the UK, ie half the entire population, found in research that customers didn’t care where the wine came from. A quarter of respondents chose their wine purely on label design.

Thresher spokeswoman Sian Smith said contrary to the popular idea that wine buyers were getting more and more knowledgeable, they were simply interested in quality, and didn’t mind whether the wine came from Chile or New Zealand as long as it was good.

‘Consumers aren’t getting savvier,’ she told decanter.com. ‘They want things made simpler. It’s a nice idea – the wines will change from year to year and people will change their tastes with them.’

Smith stressed that the shops would still stock all the main brands and premium wines for customers who didn’t want things simplified.

Written by Adam Lechmere18 February 2003