Category Archives: supervalu

SuperValu and Superquinn

At the best of times its difficult to blend wine well. Its a skill. Not every country has it – let alone wine region. 
A wine blending of a different nature is taking place across Ireland right now. This is where SuperValu is taking over the Superquinn brand. Within this morphing we find wine shelves that, over the years, have been treated very differently. On the one hand we have Superquinn who, many would argue, has led the quality and choice end of our supermarket offerings. On the other we have had a more limited offering from SuperValu where locality and store management has often dictated what is on sale. There is no doubt at all that the Superquinn Wine Customer is a loyal and valuable asset. He/she is not a SuperValu Wine Customer. Soon all the wine shelves will be SuperValu. There will be no Superquinn.
I had a look at some of SuperValu’s wines recently – easier now than before as I have a spanking new store in my home town of Celbridge! 
I left Nugan Estates and its Wally’s Hut and other ‘big’ SuperValu labels for another day. No, I looked at labels I was relatively unfamiliar with and tried to assess them through the eyes of a Superquinn Wine Customer. 
Three results:
There is genuine value at SuperValu.
Many of the wines have been well chosen.
It is a limited range that would need to be refreshed with new arrivals to keep it interesting. Superquinn wines arrival will sort that out
  
(If you want to see which labels are direct imports look for the following on the back labels, ‘Specially selected and imported by Musgrave Retail Partners on behalf of SuperValu and Centra.’)
Wines to test the water with:
Lone Kauri, New Zealand. Available at €8.00. Great Value for Money (GVM) Three white wines. All drink well. I really liked the Riesling 2010 with its refreshing 12.5% vol crisp acidity and mouthwatering fruit. The bit of bottle ageing has helped this wine a lot. 
Excellence Saint Chinian 2011 €8.00 Super Syrah Grenache Carignan blend. Soft and yet rich with lots of  well structured oomph.
Pablo Old Vine Garnacha 2012 Calatayud, Spain. Lovely presentation. Soft inviting wines. Tremendous value at €9.00  
I then bought two of their least expensive wines to accompany the hurling final replay! I opted for a South African duo from the Eldon Lodge Olifants River label. They came in at €7.00 each. The Sauvignon was ok – its good but there’s so much very good Sauvignon out there. The Cabernet Sauvignon, however, really rocks. It’s clean as a whistle and packs a genuine punch of quality crafted fruit. Really liked this. Must try the Shiraz another time.
Have you tried SuperVAlu’s Aresti Range from Chile? It’s also very good.
a cheeky morph
A recent flyer through my letter box (I encourage junk mail!) from SuperValu included Kevin O’Callaghan’s Top Picks. He’s the SuperValu wine buyer. Superquinn has its own. He (Richard Moriarty) appears waistcoated, bespectacled (and twinkle toed) in their flyers – wonder whose face we’ll see post blending. 
What I like is that both buyers aren’t afraid to recommend quality wines at fair prices. So Kevin’s Top Picks let’s us have Campofiorin Ripasso from Masi at €12.00 a bottle. GVM 
Check that out against the recent Superquinn Italian wine sale in my next cheeky morph …. well done SuperValu!!
I am told that both SuperValu and Superquinn have in the region of 600 wines each. They have begun to merge their ranges with the aim of ending up with, well, 600 wines. That’s quite a challenge but one that seems to be well advanced. The SuperValu chain of stores will soon number 222 in total. It will then begin to offer sales along the lines that Superquinn is famous for – French Wine Sale in particular. Good news all around. Lets all keep an eye on it.  

SuperValu comes to Celbridge

Last weekend Nally’s SuperValu of Trim opened Nally’s SuperValu of Celbridge. Now I have a local SuperValu to check in to. Good news.

Here’s what happened since last September. Impressive.

 

The wine section looks very functional. Nothing wrong with that. I’ve always maintained that its not a supermarkets remit to be the best wine store in town. That’s a job for the specialised independent. That said, I do expect high standards from all supermarkets’ wine offerings – both quality and value. I’ll be looking in soon to see how my ‘new local’ fares in this regard. Right now it’s time to wish the Nally’s a welcome and the very best of good fortune.
Nally’sof Celbridge.

SuperValu comes to Celbridge

Last weekend Nally’s SuperValu of Trim opened Nally’s SuperValu of Celbridge. Now I have a local SuperValu to check in to. Good news.

Here’s what happened since last September. Impressive.

 

The wine section looks very functional. Nothing wrong with that. I’ve always maintained that its not a supermarkets remit to be the best wine store in town. That’s a job for the specialised independent. That said, I do expect high standards from all supermarkets’ wine offerings – both quality and value. I’ll be looking in soon to see how my ‘new local’ fares in this regard. Right now it’s time to wish the Nally’s a welcome and the very best of good fortune.
Nally’sof Celbridge.

SuperValu Breaks Ground at Celbridge

It’s been a while since I saw a green field development site. For a few years there it was all we saw across the whole country. So, it was great to see that the site earmarked for a major new SuperValu store broke ground this week just down the road from me. It’s a major site, facing onto the Dublin Road, just beside Toughers Service Station.

SuperValu Breaking New Ground
As with everything in Ireland if you ask a question someone will arrive with an answer. I made a polite enquiry at Toughers as to whether this was indeed the SuperValu build and was told that it was and that it should be up and ready for St Patrick’s Day. Then another customer, a complete stranger, followed me out to my car and ‘filled’ me in on the ‘rest of the plan’. I was told that the whole site will be filled from wall to wall with a mixed development of offices, apartments and the like along with the SuperValu store. In addition I was told the Toughers site itself will be rebuilt and incorporated into the new development! By my reckoning that might make this the biggest new site in the country right now.

Way to go Celbridge.

But is there enough business in the area to go around?  Our 24 hour Tesco is now an 18 hour one, the new Lidl store just doesn’t seem busy enough to me and Main Street Celbridge is not exactly boom town USA. What’s going on then?

 
The latest Kantar World Panel Bord Bia research into retailing in Ireland shows that only SuperValu, Aldi and Lidl are recruiting new shoppers. SuperValu would appear, therefore, to be in a good position to benefit from other major findings such as:

  • Total year on year grocery spend down 1.3% 
  • Shoppers buying more volume but at a reduced value
  • Shoppers are shopping more often but spend per trip is reduced
  • SuperValu has seen a strong rise in sales of its own label products – only bettered by Aldi and Lidl
  • SuperValu lost market share (-1.6%) but has fared much better than Dunnes (-4.9%), Superquinn (-10.1%) and Other Symbols(-7.7%) The winners were Aldi (+22.5%), Lidl (+3.4%) and Tesco (+1.7%)

Put this all together with the fact that alcohol sales are rising and that wine, while it has had value stripped from it’s sales is also rising in volume, then SuperValu in Celbridge – young vibrant population, commuter belt, no ghost estates etc etc SHOULD DO WELL.

Now to taste their wines again.

SuperValu Breaks Ground at Celbridge

It’s been a while since I saw a green field development site. For a few years there it was all we saw across the whole country. So, it was great to see that the site earmarked for a major new SuperValu store broke ground this week just down the road from me. It’s a major site, facing onto the Dublin Road, just beside Toughers Service Station.

SuperValu Breaking New Ground
As with everything in Ireland if you ask a question someone will arrive with an answer. I made a polite enquiry at Toughers as to whether this was indeed the SuperValu build and was told that it was and that it should be up and ready for St Patrick’s Day. Then another customer, a complete stranger, followed me out to my car and ‘filled’ me in on the ‘rest of the plan’. I was told that the whole site will be filled from wall to wall with a mixed development of offices, apartments and the like along with the SuperValu store. In addition I was told the Toughers site itself will be rebuilt and incorporated into the new development! By my reckoning that might make this the biggest new site in the country right now.

Way to go Celbridge.

But is there enough business in the area to go around?  Our 24 hour Tesco is now an 18 hour one, the new Lidl store just doesn’t seem busy enough to me and Main Street Celbridge is not exactly boom town USA. What’s going on then?

 
The latest Kantar World Panel Bord Bia research into retailing in Ireland shows that only SuperValu, Aldi and Lidl are recruiting new shoppers. SuperValu would appear, therefore, to be in a good position to benefit from other major findings such as:

  • Total year on year grocery spend down 1.3% 
  • Shoppers buying more volume but at a reduced value
  • Shoppers are shopping more often but spend per trip is reduced
  • SuperValu has seen a strong rise in sales of its own label products – only bettered by Aldi and Lidl
  • SuperValu lost market share (-1.6%) but has fared much better than Dunnes (-4.9%), Superquinn (-10.1%) and Other Symbols(-7.7%) The winners were Aldi (+22.5%), Lidl (+3.4%) and Tesco (+1.7%)

Put this all together with the fact that alcohol sales are rising and that wine, while it has had value stripped from it’s sales is also rising in volume, then SuperValu in Celbridge – young vibrant population, commuter belt, no ghost estates etc etc SHOULD DO WELL.

Now to taste their wines again.

Griffith Park for the Weekend?

When the sun shines in Ireland we tend to adopt an optimistic outlook and think that it’s going to last forever! It never does of course but better the ‘glass half full’ than being a killjoy. This weekend I’m going to indulge in one of lifes greatest pleasures and pour some sparkling in the sunshine. 

What to buy? Well, there’s quite a range of good value sparklers to choose from these days. With food I tend to buy lean styles to add flavour and texture but for sunshine sipping I’ll be happy with a degree of extra fruit such as found in the really excellent Griffith Park Sparkling Rose from Australia. 

Both the White and Rose Griffith Park Sparkling wines are new to Ireland, exclusive to SuperValu/Centra and has a winemaker, Islay Kennedy, whose grandparents hail from Tipperary.

A World to Escape To tends to be
     at home
             in the back garden
                        with little to do and
                                 a glass of well chilled sparkling to hand.

Looks like this weekend will be in Griffith Park as well!

Griffith Park for the Weekend?

When the sun shines in Ireland we tend to adopt an optimistic outlook and think that it’s going to last forever! It never does of course but better the ‘glass half full’ than being a killjoy. This weekend I’m going to indulge in one of lifes greatest pleasures and pour some sparkling in the sunshine. 

What to buy? Well, there’s quite a range of good value sparklers to choose from these days. With food I tend to buy lean styles to add flavour and texture but for sunshine sipping I’ll be happy with a degree of extra fruit such as found in the really excellent Griffith Park Sparkling Rose from Australia. 

Both the White and Rose Griffith Park Sparkling wines are new to Ireland, exclusive to SuperValu/Centra and has a winemaker, Islay Kennedy, whose grandparents hail from Tipperary.

A World to Escape To tends to be
     at home
             in the back garden
                        with little to do and
                                 a glass of well chilled sparkling to hand.

Looks like this weekend will be in Griffith Park as well!

SuperValu survives the caveats

SOME cracking wines showed up at a wine tasting held by SuperValu last week, and provide the basis for today’s wine column in the Irish Examiner. It was their first media tasting in, I think, eight years. And although I was surprised to discover they showed only 33 of their 143 ‘Specially Selected’ range, picking six highlights proved too much for me, so I squeezed in several further bottles I’d recommend.

For this reason there was only room to barely mention two things which deserve a better airing.

1. Price is everything

The tasting coincides with SuperValu’s World of Wine promotion which starts tomorrow with reductions of up to 50%. As ever, shoppers should remember the ancient caveat about sales: the reduction is immaterial, and what matters is the quality you percieve in the wine, and the price you’re paying at the till.

Many wines in many stores will be ‘reduced’ at any one time. However you must realise that often the ‘reduced’ price is in fact the destination price, intended all along. A retailer can quite legally put a few bottles up on its shelves priced at say €15 (when any objective tasting would rank it at, for instance, €10) for a month or so and then ta-dah! reduce the price to €11.

There’s nothing new in this. There’s been what you could call a permasale in all sorts of wine retailers for years – not just the big supermarkets.

Here are two previous posts about price promotions, citing two unexpected sources: One big retailer pointing out that wine sales distort consumers’ perception of value, and another retailer, perhaps unintentionally, referring to the glut of wine on world markets behind the see-saw prices.

What are we looking for? Price/quality, that’s what. When I suggest readers check out a wine sale, the bottles I recommend fall into two categories – those I’d happily pay ‘full’ price for, which are even more attractive now they’re reduced; and bottles which I believe are  only ok value or even overpriced at the ‘normal’ tarrif, but which offer good value in the sale. In SuperValu’s sale, not only are there quite a few that I think are well worth buying at their full price, there are even a handful that I think are underpriced: I’d happily pay more than their full price.

The rule remains – focus only on what you’re getting for what you’re spending. I’d go further. We’re seriously missing the point if we focus only on the likes of Tesco, SuperValu, Dunnes etc.

Supermarkets and big chains deserve our scepticism – but every other wine business is, after all, a business, and each will use whatever way it can to welcome our lovely lolly.

For instance, some salespeople can talk up their wines and indeed their entire shop. As Gary Vaynerchuk, the mentor to a generation of social media wine marketers said, “don’t sell wine, tell a story” – meaning one can sell more wine at higher prices by talking up the “passionate winemaker in the small, family-owned vineyard” narrative that pushes our aspirational buttons… Even though there are other wines which are just as good made by winemakers who are equally passionate in other similarly family-owned vineyards at lower prices in other stores…

It’s what’s in the glass that matters, and the price you paid for it.

No wine seller has a monopoly on puffing itself up, just as none has a monopoly on providing good value. Shop wisely and you will find super wines at great value in every store. If the smart shopper’s caveats and scepticism are a sort-of retail slalom course, the highlights I picked from SuperValu’s  selection skiied through this week. I’d recommend them for your shopping list when the sale starts.

2 Excellent beer and wine events this week

Being the time of year, there just wasn’t room in the column for more details about some of the beer and wine events coming up.  The All-Ireland Beerfest, a great evening with Yalumba, Lohan’s Wine Fair… I’d recommend you check them out in my guide over here. Enjoy!