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EXCLUSIVE: Behind ALDI’s Latest Foray Into Private Label Wine

Progressive Grocer spoke with grocer’s VP of national buying about the new line
Emily Crowe, Progressive Grocer
ALDI Specially Selected wine
Five year-round wines are accompanied by five seasonal wines in ALDI's new Specially Selected line.

On Sept. 8, ALDI rolled out its latest exclusive wine collection, which consists of 10 different varietals from around the world. Each bottle in the Specially Selected line is priced under $10, and a year-round selection of five wines will be complemented by new wines each season.

Progressive Grocer spoke with Joan Kavanaugh, VP of national buying at ALDI, about the new line, as well as the market opportunities surrounding exclusive private brands.

Progressive Grocer: How did ALDI develop the Specially Selected wine collection, and how were global partners chosen?

Joan Kavanaugh: ALDI wants to become a destination for wine enthusiasts seeking exceptional quality at great prices and the launch of the new Specially Selected Wine Collection is another step towards that goal. With steady growth in wine sales in recent years and more people opting for affordable luxury, we saw opportunity to bring varietals from distinctive regions around the world straight to ALDI aisles.

But we didn’t need to start from scratch. With over 40 years of experience sourcing wine globally, ALDI has built strong supplier relationships across the world. Our highly educated buying team was able to tap into this network of winemakers to identify the best grapes and producers to meet our strict wine production guidelines. Throughout the process, ALDI maintains high quality assurance standards by partnering with wine industry experts and speaking directly with winemakers. As a result, we can bring affordable, premium bottles sourced from Côtes de Provence, Uco Valley, Marlborough, Rioja and more to our customers. 

PG: What consumer trends and demands are you seeing in the wine space, and how do these offerings cater to those?

JK: Consumers between the ages of 21-35 are trading up in wine quality and are opting to enjoy from anywhere, whether at home or at a special event. The new Specially Selected Wine Collection delivers on these trends, proving that customers don’t have to compromise quality or price.

Everyone wants to enjoy a good wine, but they may not know where to start when it comes to selecting the best bottles. ALDI makes it simple with a carefully curated range of products so our shoppers can feel good knowing the bottles they’re taking home are not only quality but affordable, with most bottles available under $10.

PG: How does ALDI keep prices low on its globally sourced wine?

JK: Our relationships with wineries and winemakers enables us to work directly with suppliers to pass savings on to our customers without sacrificing quality. Direct sourcing from wineries, our everyday efficient operations and global scale help us keep prices low.

The fact is, our approach to the wine aisle is the same as our approach to the rest of the store – operating with simplicity and efficiency to give our customers great products at the lowest possible prices.

PG: What sort of market opportunity does private label wine like this create?

JK: ALDI anticipates private label wines will only continue to grow in popularity. In June, sales of private label wines were up 9.1% across the entire industry, according to Circana, and this demand is in line with what we’ve seen in our stores. In fact, ALDI-exclusive wine sales are up double digits in recent years.

Specially Selected is one of the most well-known ALDI-exclusive brands, and we hope that the recognizability will encourage shoppers to not only try the new wine collection, but other offerings in the brand portfolio. For example, a new line of Specially Selected cheeses hit shelves on Sept. 8, which pair perfectly with the wines.

PG: How does ALDI continue to level up its award-winning exclusive brands?

JK: ALDI works hard to keep a close pulse on consumer preferences, and we know consumers love seasonal flavors. Within the Specially Selected wine collection, we’re already planning the release of two seasonal wines in January 2024, Specially Selected Cremant de Bordeaux Rose ($10.99, France) and Specially Selected Gavi ($9.99, Italy), followed by the introduction of the Specially Selected Napa Valley Chardonnay ($10.99, California, USA) in April 2024.

These seasonal wines will be a complement to the core range of Specially Selected wines and are selected to pair best with seasonal foods. Whether it be bold flavors to pair with hearty winter dishes or more delicate floral flavors to welcome springtime, ALDI truly wants to be a destination for wine enthusiasts, and that means having something for everyone all year round.

Even beyond the beer and wine aisle, we test products to keep our selection fresh through the ALDI Finds aisle. This weekly, rotating assortment of on-trend items helps us test trends and identify which products deserve a permanent spot on our shelves.

ALDI is one of America’s fastest-growing retailers, serving millions of customers across the country each month. With about 2,200 stores in 38 states, Batavia, Ill.-based ALDI U.S. employs 45,000-plus associates and is No. 26 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named the company as one of its 10 Most Sustainable Grocers.

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