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Sam's Club Pops Cork on New Private Label Wine Varieties

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Building on what it said was an already strong store brand wine program, Sam's Club here said it was expanding its selection of private brand wines this month with two new reds, to 370 warehouse club locations spanning 40 states.

The two red wines comprising the rollout are Elder Vine Shiraz, Australia 2002 (approx. $12); and Bodega Jario Rioja Reserva Rioja, Spain 1998 (approx. $13).

Bob Paulinski, Sam's Club wine master and one of only 19 Americans who have earned the prestigious Master of Wine designation from The Institute of Masters of Wine, said the chain took a different approach to the private brand rollout.

"Most private brand programs are based on setting a price point and then finding something in the marketplace that fits the target. Because of our commitment to provide the best quality wine to customers, we flipped this process upside down. We looked for the best possible wines available and then compared them in a taste test to similar types that were priced two to three times higher. The end result was two wines with premium tastes that we can now offer at an amazing value," he said.

This expansion builds upon Sam's first private brand launch in late 2004, which introduced a white wine to the 330 locations: Falkenberg Riesling, Germany (approx. $9), the initial production of which sold out in three months, the company said.
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