From the end of June, all Sainsbury's wine aisles will be split into Our Cellar, New Arrivals, Case Deals and Everyday Favourites an edited selection that will allow consumers to shop for wine according to style rather than country.
To regain its edge, Sainsbury's has also created a new entry-level range called House. It will re-package and extend its Taste the Difference wine range later this year and launch a new line-up of own-label beers and ciders.
"Other supermarkets have been parking their tanks on our lawn in terms of quality own-label wine," said senior wine buyer Julian Dyer. "We were conscious we needed to do something radical again. In the last few years all our major competitors have launched increasingly premium own-label products and followed our lead on Taste the Difference."
The retailer carried out a review of wine strategy following the arrival of BWS category manager Justin James last year, categorising its shoppers from "novice" to "confident".
Merchandising selected wines by style in Everyday Favourites was a first among the multiple retailers and would allow less confident shoppers to choose wines according to taste, claimed Dyer. The new House range will make up two thirds of the section, priced at £3.50 to £5.
Bringing case deals into the wine aisle should entice shoppers away from front-of-store, where they had been lured by money-off deals, he added.
All shelf labels will be doubled in size to provide more detailed information, including colour-coded discs linked to style.
"One of the biggest barriers to purchase is around confidence to try new wines and explore. These changes will encourage consumers to break out of routinely buying the same bottles," said Dyer.
Suppliers gave the initiative a cautious thumbs up one major supplier said it should work, if it was merchandised properly.