Panic in the Wine Aisles!!


On Friday night I popped down to Sainsbury’s in Camden to go pick up the food and wine for this weekend’s New Wine This Week. I have to admit I still haven’t done it as yesterday was the 17th of May and my Norwegian wife was in charge (it’s Norway’s national day). But whilst I was there I noticed a couple of people who were struggling a bit… 

I did as I usually do, and just headed straight for the wine I know I want. As I was picking it up I saw these two ladies with a few different bottles in their hands and bemused looks on their faces. At the risk of coming across as a complete tool, I offered a bit of help and within a couple of minutes had them off to the check out with a couple of bottles I’d recommended.

It just highlighted something that always puzzles me about supermarkets. Why is it that they only train head office staff in the wines they sell? No-one is there on the shop floor to offer any advice to anyone! Surely helping customers with their options will lead to more sales and a bit of trading up?

Just a thought



16 thoughts on “Panic in the Wine Aisles!!”

  1. Mike, in US situation is not universally bad – some of the stores, like Trader Joe’s, HEB, Whole Foods, would often have someone available to offer an advice. Of course many others will not, but this is the part of the “low cost” program. In the end of the day this is more of the cost control than anything else, and those stores work on volume, not on margins, therefore there is only so much they can invest.

  2. I know it’s a money thing, of course it is, and I know these guys have to make money. Thing is the deep discounters are winning that war over the other supermarkets, so how do you distinguish if all you’re looking to be is the cheapest??

  3. I have never found a supermarket that offers advice. Read today that Tesco are making a cull on the amount of wine they offer – less choice for customers.

  4. Don’t get me started! However, I consider it my duty to be the tool by being alarmingly friendly in giving wine advice to the bewildered in aisle. I’ve kissed enough frogs (not of the Gallic persuasion – let’s not start rumors) to know which producers hit it out of the park. If only retailers at the larger mass supermarkets could train salespeople or at the very least provide self guidance for their customers (ipad in aisle?) then we can all go about our business and buy more wine. Beware – I will still chat them up. Xoxoxo

  5. It’s a shame that supermarkets in the UK don’t have more info on wine, even just printed material or signs would be some help. I totally understand the money thing but even just to bring someone to their store for a feature weekend or evening could increase wine sales. That being said, it may happen in the higher end stores like Waitrose but can’t see the others going there.

  6. We don’t even have wine in supermarkets in Australia!

    But I often see the bemused browsers in the bottle shop. Sometimes it is me – only because I can be indecisive at times!

    It only seems to happen in the chain stores, our independent wine stores have fabulous, knowledgeable, friendly staff – so that’s where I spend my dollars 🙂

    Thanks for joining the #WINENOT Linky Party!

  7. Lovely of you to help. I really wish supermarkets took their customers needs more seriously. With so much wine retail moving into supermarket aisles, it is a bit of a problem. Customers can quickly become fearful of wine after too many bad experiences.

    Thank you for linking up with #Winenot

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