Walmart is getting into the wine business.
The retailer recently launched a series of private label wines in 1,100 stores across the country, each priced at $11 per bottle. The company says it sources the vino from California, France and Italy.
Walmart (WMT) is hoping to lure bargain hunting oenophiles with the line, which will be called “Winemakers Selection.” Nichole Simpson, Walmart’s senior wine buyer, says the offerings will “drink like a $30 or $40 bottle of wine.”
Last year, the wine industry filled 717,866,271 bottles, according to the Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. So introducing a new wine into an already crowded market is a risk.
Smaller rival grocer Trader Joe’s, though, partially built its reputation on its Charles Shaw line of wines, which many know better as “Two-Buck Chuck.” And Walmart is, in some ways, playing catch-up with rival Target, which launched its own line of bargain wines, called California Roots, last fall. (It added a Rosé to the line two months ago.) Even The Olive Garden has an exclusive line.
Two-Buck Chuck is only $3, though. (The older name stuck, despite price increases.) And California Roots is $5. Will an $11 bottle at Walmart be too rich for cheap wine aficionados?
It likely will come down to taste. If Winemakers Selection is of a considerably better quality than not only other discount wines, but popular similarly-priced lines such as Clois du Bois and Kendall-Jackson, it could win people over.