If you are walking around your local BWS, Vintage Cellars or Dan Murphy's store and wondering who makes which wines here is a list of wines made by Coles and Woolworths under their private labels.
Rather than labelling these wines "Woolworths Select Shiraz" or "You'll Love Coles Chardonnay", the wines look like they are produced by a winery-owned brand with names like Curious Kiwi, Cow Bombie or Langhorne Creek Estate.
As a small vineyard and winery I will declare my interest in ensuring there is some shelf space left for branded products. According to BRW Coles and Woolworths control 70% of the retail liquor market and I believe it is in everyone's interest to ensure that the liquor industry is not "totally absorbed by the supermarket industry" as suggested in an IBIS World report.
According to IBISWorld, Woolworths controls around 1355 liquor outlets nationwide as of June 2013 while Coles (Wesfarmers) had 810. These are under the banners of:
According to the list they have over 240 labels between them. Private labels reduce potential shelf space for growers who make and market their own wine. These private labels also allow Coles and Woolworths to be ultra-price competitive as they have removed the middle man.
Private-label wines have been attracting the attention of parliamentarians with a parliamentary committee calling for an investigation into whether supermarkets Coles and Woolworths are lining their shelves with private-label wines, squeezing out traditional winemakers.
This followed a report from the House agriculture committee released in June 2013 that raised concerns about the dominance of private-label wines and the impact on competition. Across all grocery items the ACCC is conducting a long-running investigation into allegations of bulling and margin squeezing by Coles and Woolworths against their suppliers and farmers.
The wines are not bad, as described in an article by Max Allen in The Australian as he blind tastes some of the private labels against some of the leading wines in their categories.
Woolworths purchased the Cellarmaster Group in 2011. All of the Cellarmaster's private labels are now in the Woolworths list as it is difficult to differentiate which wine was Woolworths and which was Cellarmaster.
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