THE wine and spirit buying teams of Tesco and Waitrose respectively have been awarded the highest industry accolades by the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC).
Tesco’s wine-buying team, headed by Laura Jewell MW, James Griswood and Graham Nash, scooped ‘Retail Wine Buyer of the Year’ with judges praising its ability to react to key emerging wine trends to ‘please possibly the broadest customer spectrum of any UK retailer’.
The Waitrose team, headed by Herchelle Perez Terrado, impressed judges with its innovative approach to spirits, as well as its improvements to the range, helping it win to the prestigious accolade ‘Retail Spirit Buyer of the Year.’
Earlier this year Tesco carried out what it claimed was the UK’s largest ever piece of customer research, which led to a full-scale revision of its wine offering and presentation.
The supermarket, which saw off competition from a shortlist including Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s, now divides consumers into six groups under two main headings: “Engage Me“, looking for breadth and range, and ”Tell Me“, looking for clarity and simplicity.
For the buying team, this meant sourcing more wines in the £8-£12 bracket for the “Engage Me” shoppers, while the “Tell Me” shoppers can take advantage of the retailer’s new “Simply” collection of 31 value-focused classic wine styles from around the world.
Other important developments on the buying side have seen an online extension of Tesco’s fine wine offer to include 300 listings, with its 2009 en primeur purchases due for release soon.
When it came to spirits buying, it was Waitrose’s team, which beat a shortlist of Tesco, Lidl and Marks & Spencer, to most impress judges for ‘making waves with the strength of its offer’.
In 2012, the Waitrose spirits section were divided into two distinct occasion-based areas. “Low-tempo” – dedicated to relaxed moments such as after dinner, and “High-tempo” – geared towards more energetic occasions, such as parties, with an emphasis on cocktails.
In keeping with the aspirational, exploratory approach offered by Waitrose in its wine aisles, each of these categories features boutique brands alongside better-known spirits names, as well as an extensive own-label collection.
New lines for 2012 include the Glenfiddich Age of Discovery, Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve, Waitrose Cognac VSOP, Williams Chase Seville Orange gin, Sipsmith Damson vodka and The Kraken spiced rum. Across the spirits range, 35 listings are exclusive to Waitrose.
Waitrose’s Spirit’s Buyer, Herchelle Perez Terrado, said: “I'm delighted that our results in the IWSC have led to this award. Being based solely on the products that were entered shows the breadth and quality of our range. It's a reflection of strong relationships with producers; we're proud of all the products on our shelves. Customers can be assured that whatever they're looking for, they will find quality and value on the shelves of their local Waitrose and online through our website.”
For the second year in a row (and the third time overall) Waitrose also won the IWSC’s coveted ‘Retailer of the Year’ award, impressing judges with its outstanding range, staff expertise and consumer engagement initiatives.
The trophies were presented at the IWSC’s annual banquet in London’s historic Guildhall last night (November 14) – a glittering event attended by more than 450 wine and spirit aficionados from around the world.
At the same event, the IWSC crowned Scottish distiller Glenmorangie ‘Distiller of the Year’, and, for the third time in four years, Australian winemaker McGuigan Wines won the prestigious award ‘Winemaker of the Year’. Bolney Wine Estate in West Sussex, was awarded the title ‘UK Wine Producer of the Year’.