Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Walmart went home with awards for their U.S. private label wines in the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PMLA) 2016 International Salute to Excellence Awards, for which judging took place April 6-7 in Amsterdam.
Among the 250 red, white, rosé and sparkling varietals submitted, the U.S. wines to receive awards were Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Chardonnay Chalk Hill Sonoma County 2014, for best quality in the Chardonnay category; Whole Foods Criterian Chianti Classico 2011, for best quality in the Chianti category; and Walmart’s Oak Leaf Shiraz, for best value in the Shiraz category. Non-U.S. retailers to receive awards for their wines included Aldi, Lidl, Carrefour and Tesco.
"The role of supermarkets in the marketing of wine is growing more important as shoppers seek good quality and good price,” said Brian Sharoff, president of New York-based PLMA. “The retailer’s private label has given consumers the confidence that they can select top wines without paying a premium for branding."
Categories were Merlot, Côtes du Rhône, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Chianti, Barolo, Rioja and Shiraz for reds; Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Grüner Veltliner, Pinot Grigio, Chablis and Rosé for whites; and Champagne and Prosecco for sparkling. The two judging panels, each led by one of two wine experts – Cees van Casteren of The Netherlands and Sarah Abbott of the United Kingdom – based their decisions on the wines’ taste, smell, appearance and general impression. They also awarded points for packaging and shelf appeal.