Don't Buy Expensive Supermarket Wine!
Ninety per cent of the wine sold in Britain, either online or in a shop, is sold on some sort of offer, meaning that we have no idea what the bottles are actually worth.
A brief search on Mysupermarket, a website that shows you how the prices of supermarket items have changed over a year, shows that it is rarely worth buying the big-name wines at their ordinary price. Instead, as many sensible shoppers have learnt, you are better off buying whatever bottle is on offer, or waiting until your favourite is. It is bound to come around soon enough. Take, just for an example, Vina Maipo, apparently a "crisp sauvignon blanc with varietal aromas of gooseberries, minerals and delicate citrus fruits".
It was on offer at half price this week at Sainsbury's. Mysupermarket lists it as a "savvy buy" this week, as it is now just £4.99. But a quick look at its price over the past year shows that it is bobbing between £5 and £10 on an almost monthly basis. It doesn't take a genius to work out that buying it at £9.99 is a mug's game. Five pounds is its "real" price.
This is far from being merely a Sainsbury's phenomenon.
Shoppers aren't stupid. The net result of all this game of cat and mouse between the supermarkets and their customers is that no one trusts supermarket wine pricing.
Gavin Quinney, a winegrower in Bordeaux who makes house wines for Rick Stein and Gordon Ramsay, described the supermarket pricing tactics as "pseudo offers". He pointed out that the UK duty on a bottle of wine is a fixed £2, no matter what the wine is worth, and there is 20pc VAT. "We encourage consumers to trade up, because of the fixed £2, but if they don't know what the wine is worth it is a problem," he said. "The art of hoodwinking customers is the norm."
When the products are put on offer it is the supplier who normally takes the hit, not the supermarket. Mr Quinney said his only experience of this not happening was with Waitrose, which sometimes does a 25pc off all wines sale.