- Private label wines from Aldi, Costco and Trader Joe's won seven top honors at the 2019 International Salute to Excellence Awards sponsored by the Private Label Manufacturers Association, according to a press release. This marked the best showing ever in the competition for wines sold exclusively at U.S. supermarkets.
- Aldi U.S. had three winning wines: Scarlet Path Zinfandel 2017 and Outlander Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, which both won best quality awards, and Evanta Malbec 2017, which won for best value.
- Costco's Kirkland Signature Bordeaux Supérieur 2016 won for best quality while its Kirkland Signature Asolo Prosecco NV took best value. Trader Joe's organic Grower's Reserve Merlot 2017 and its Platinum Reserve Pinot Noir 2017 both won best quality awards.
PLMA's global competition judged 350 wines from 40 retailers in 11 countries across 25 categories according to varietal, style and appellation. The judging panel consisted of sommeliers, winemakers, retailers and writers from around the world, putting U.S retailers' private label wines up against stiff competition.
European private label wines continue to dominate the International Salute to Excellence Awards, but for U.S. retailers, taking home a record number of honors underscores just how serious they are about winning customers in this pivotal category.
Wine has become a key attraction for grocers, and private label offers a chance for them to distinguish themselves from the competition. Walmart has released 10 private label wines under its Winemaker's Selection brand, while Target offers store brand wine at a variety of price points, including a $5 California Roots label. Lidl offers a wide selection of wines picked by its "Master of Wine," Adam Lapierre.
Trader Joe's was one of the first retailers to enter the affordable private label wine space with its Charles Shaw wine, more infamously known as its award-winning "Two Buck Chuck." Since then, grocers have invested in quality while still keeping prices low. Aldi's winning Evanta Malbec costs just $4. Metropolitan Market in Seattle sells an $8 rosé that has drawn rave reviews from local critics.
Wine consumption in the U.S. continues grow, with consumers drinking 966 million gallons in 2018 compared to 747 million gallons a decade prior. Supermarket wine sales account for more than $10 billion, according to Nielsen, with private label market share at large retailers estimated at 17%.
Supermarkets are experiencing an uptick in traffic thanks to the addition of wine to their shelves, PLMA president Brian Sharoff told Beverage Daily. With so many retailers launching affordable private label wine brands, competition is getting tougher in the space, making awards like the ones that Aldi, Costco and Trader Joe's received a potential point of differentiation in the flooded market.