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Tesco MW signals end of fine wine era

A key member of Tesco’s wine buying team has admitted that the retailer has been forced to rethink its strategy after introducing a glut of wines above £7 three years ago.

Pierpaolo Petrassi MW, the retail giant’s senior product development manager, told decanter.com that the recession and credit crunch had led Tesco to remove 150 wines from its range, bringing it down to 900.

Tesco introduced a fine wine fixture in 200 stores in 2006.

The official unveiling of 200 new wines priced at £6.99 and above in 2007 was described by Tim Atkin MW as ‘the most exciting supermarket tasting in the past five years.’

Petrassi said the fine wine strategy had to be scaled back following ‘a fundamental change’ in customer behaviour since the beginning of the recession.

‘Customers are being more savvy and a bit more frugal, and we have to make sure that what is on the shelf is aligned with that.

‘We have to put wines on the shelf that will sell. In an ideal world, we would fill the shelves with all sorts of eclectic wines, but that is not realistic.’

He added, ‘I don’t know if we’ll see those heady days [of fine wine] again. Just because you have more expensive wine on the shelf doesn’t mean that people will buy it.’

Petrassi added that Tesco will be concentrating on its Finest wine range in 2010, which now makes up around 80 wines out of its full range of 900.

New additions include a Pinot Grigio from New Zealand’s Awatere Valley (£8.16) and an Old Vines Tempranillo from Extremadura, Spain (£6.99).

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Written by Stuart Peskett

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