Wine producers call for supermarkets to disclose ‘home brands’
There’s currently a lot of discussion about supermarkets’ proprietary branded wines. It was stirred up by wine industry submissions to a Senate inquiry into wine tax in Perth last week.
At the inquiry, The WA wine producers’ organization Wines of Western Australia said the two liquor giants, Coles and Woolworths, now control about 70% of retail wine sales, and that they are ‘decimating’ the wine industry by promoting their own labels while many small wineries are precluded from the opportunity to trade.
Wines of WA, Wolf Blass (tastings) and others called on the Government to force supermarkets to disclose which of their brands are ‘home brands’ so that the consumer could make a properly informed choice. Wines of WA estimated 20 to 25% of the wine sold through the two supermarkets is now own-label wine, compared to 5% a decade ago.
A concerned consumer, Mark Wollan, has weighed in and is asking Woolworths why it should be allowed to promote its home-brand wine, both with shelf-tags designed to attract the customer’s eye, and with personal recommendations from floor staff. He points to such house labels as Cow Bombie (previous tastings), Craftsman (previous tastings), Riddoch, Cat Amongst The Pigeons and Amiri. Speaking as a customer of Dan Murphy’s, he says the retailer is failing to be honest with the public:
Dan Murphy’s can sell and promote whatever they like, who cares, BUT if they rate or recommend a wine brand that Woolworths directly or indirectly owns or controls, they should disclose that fact just like almost everybody else has to when they have an otherwise undisclosed vested interest.
As well, he believes Dan Murphy’s is misleading the public by saying its tasting panel tastes, reviews and rates wines blind. In some of its literature it says it always tastes blind, and in other places it says it almost always tastes blind.
*For a list of the hundreds of brand-names which are owned by the major supermarket liquor retailers, visit our page: Who makes my wine?.