Tim Palmer The multiples are putting their weight behind major deals in the wine aisles in a pre-Christmas push to attract consumers' attention. So far the beer and spirits shelves have remained relatively unscathed as the grocers focus on wine to pull in the shoppers. Last week the cheapest wine in the sector was a cutthroat £1.99 for the Italian Sentiero Vin de Tavola sold by Safeway. This will have left little room for any profit. Excise duty and VAT on the bottle come to £1.46 and the Wine and Spirit Association estimates the shipping and packaging costs at 52p, leaving 2p for the cost of the wine and any profit. A Safeway spokeswoman said this was one of a number of initiatives which were available regionally for short periods of time. Other examples of the multiple's high/low strategy included Vin de Pay d'Ardeche down to £2.29 (from £2.99) and Harvey's Bristol Cream at £3.99 (from £6.49). All the multiples are majoring heavily on champagne and sparkling wine and the going price across the chains for own label Spanish Cava is £2.97. Last week Safeway took £5 off all its champagnes, bringing its cheapest on display Albert Etienne Brut down to £8.99. Tesco and Sainsbury havefollowed this with short term 20% cuts across their champagnes. Tesco's cheapest style Pol Aime is down to £8.77. This is the same as the Asda own label cheapie and the multiple has pledged to keep it at that price until January 6. {{DRINKS }}