Ahold Delhaize USA’s Giant banner is putting a friendly face in its wine aisles.
Artie—not to be confused with Marty, the smiling robot used by some of Giant’s sister chains—is the name of a line of private label wines introduced earlier this year at 57 Giant stores in Virginia. The four varietals—a Chardonnay from South Africa, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia, and an Italian Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc from France—have a playful label design picturing a cork highlighting its country of origin.
The items, described as light and easy to drink, are priced between $6.99 and $9.99 per bottle, providing an approachable and affordable brand that Giant officials are hopeful can introduce buyers to an often difficult-to-understand department and lift overall category sales by driving new traffic to Giant’s beer and wine aisle.
“It’s an opening price point wine designed to capture the attention of new wine customers that may have not tried wine before or are intimidated by the offerings available,” Jeff Pygott, category manager of beer and wine for the Landover, Md.-based chain, told WGB in an email interview. “The potential of the product is to drive additional shopper traffic to our wine and beer department, subsequently driving additional sales for the category.”
The new line is not replacing any current private label wines but instead complements the existing set, Pygott said.
Artie’s distinct look and sharp pricing also illustrate how the local brands of Ahold Delhaize are leveraging the scale, creativity and buying power of its international parent, which this week announced 2019 annual sales of about $72 billion. Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize’s holdings include that country’s largest wine and liquor chain, known as Gall & Gall.
“This wine was carefully sourced by our specialty wine buyers in Europe, and the project was actually developed with the intention of it being a global Ahold Delhaize initiative,” Pygott said. “That means all Ahold Delhaize banners worldwide have the ability to offer the product in their respective marketplace. In our case, we felt it was a great fit for our shoppers and are very pleased with how they have responded to Artie wine so far.”
Artie is also available, for instance, at some Hannaford stores in New England.
“We have been able to negotiate an extremely competitive price point by leveraging the far reach of the Ahold Delhaize family, meaning the support of all our banners and the combined volume of each was taken into account,” Pygott said. “We made sure the price point was fair for everyone involved, especially our shoppers, and the final result is a very nice wine made available at a low price.”
While not quite in the realm of “two-buck Chuck”—the popular nickname for the well-received and appallingly low-priced Charles Shaw private label wine available at Trader Joe’s stores—Artie should help to burnish Giant’s value credentials in a market where stores such as Trader Joe’s, Lidl and Aldi have all used affordable wines as a key draw.
“Those are the same reasons we knew Artie would be a great fit at Giant Food,” Pygott said. “It allows us to offer a truly quality wine at an opening price point, which is more approachable for the consumer. … The product will attract the first-time wine drinker and bring them back into the department to also explore all the other offerings we have.”
Pygottt acknowledged that wine consumption is down nationwide and that just 15% of households purchase wine. But, he added, “that increases to 27% when you have beer and wine. The lower price point wine customer is also the customer purchasing alcoholic seltzers. This gives us a great opportunity to cross merchandise, by having both to offer.”
The whimsical packaging—picturing a cork rendered as a South African giraffe, an Australian koala, Roman warrior and a French painter, respectively—is purposefully unpretentious, Pygott said, and “invites shoppers to share on social media, and lends itself well to any social setting where you’d find wine.
“At Giant Food, we are looking to win with our ever-changing consumer and to remain competitive to the other retailers in our market. We believe Artie wine has made a positive impact and will help draw new wine shoppers to our department,” he added.