Tesco manipulating wine prices to fool consumers

It’s nothing new, but here’s a great example of UK supermarkets manipulating wine prices in order to fool consumers into thinking that they are getting a great deal. This is not a secret (or a new practice) but it should not be allowed.

This wine is on the shelf at £9.99. £9.99! Just think of the fantastic wines that you can get in the UK for £10 and then you have something like this.

Wine Route South African Pinotage Rose 2011

It has to be on the shelf at that price so that Tesco can ‘promote’ it at £4.99 as being a great deal at 50% off. In fact it is on the Tesco website at the discounted price.

Is it technically a discount? Yes.

Is it worth anything close to £10? Ummmm… no. Not ever.


In this case and a hideously labelled South African Pinotage Rosé called Wine Route. It’s from Accolade Wines, which lists a number of generic supermarket brands in it’s portfolio, including Echo Falls, Banrock Station and Kumala.

I refuse to purchase this wine on principle, so I can’t give you an opinion on the stuff in the bottle, but I’ll put a fair wager on the fact that it’s awful, engineered rubbish. The 11.5% alcohol on a South African Pinotage Rosé said to have raspberry and tropical flavours will alert those with some winemaking knowledge to the manipulation likely involved.

Pinotage Rosé can be a delicious summer wine and it’s one of the styles where Pinotage has an opportunity to convert some of the anti-Pinotage brigade. So I am not against it as a wine style. But more consumers need to understand what they are getting when they buy a wine in a UK supermarket that is 50% off. Most of the time its going to be bollocks in a bottle. The wine itself is likely only worth a few pence and likely to give you a headache in the morning.

Simple solution? Don’t buy it.

And tell a friend.

4 Responses to “Tesco manipulating wine prices to fool consumers”

  1. Peter F May says:

    Welcome back, Chris — One year and five months since your last post here!

    Hope we have to wait till the end of 2014 for the next.

    Youmake good points above, but I think we all know the supermarket ‘half-price’ wine trick, and it certianly works in shifting wines. Problem is many will not buy at other than ‘half-price’

  2. Chris says:

    Hi Peter

    Yes, it has been a while. I’ve been a bit distracted by nappies, bottles and the like…
    Hope you mistyped, and that you mean you hope you DON’T have to wait until the end of 2014! 😉

  3. Peter F May says:

    Gosh, yes my honest mistake, please don’t leave it so long to your next post.

    On the wine – I think the name and the label are quite good, certainly the wine stands out on the shelf. South Africa is proud of its wine routes — but no-one is going to find this anonymous winery on any wine route……

    I saw Wine Route red (Merlot/Cab/Shiraz) today on the shelves of my local Tesco today, it too was priced at 9.99 and had an anti-theft device clamped to their necks — so apparently some think it worthy of theft.

    More info on how they can sell the wine at half-price can be found by reading the back label. This is a bulk shipped wine bottled in England using cheap thin bottles. Given that Accolade is a huge global wine company (ex Constellation AU & EU) they have the economies of scale, and save on shipping and bottling. They may not get much per bottle but they’ll sell a great many bottles via Tesco. Constellation didn’t get to be the worlds biggest wine company by selling at a loss…

    Lets look at wine in RSA – I can buy retail an organic Rose from Stella Organics winery for 28.50 Rand – that’s 2.05 pounds. Add 1.81 excise makes it 3.86, add say 30p for shipping in bulk = 4.16, add 20% VAT and you get 4.99

    That’s working with the retail price of an organic wine from a respected winery bottled in RSA. There’s a cheaper rose from Ashton Keller., prices at

    I think 4.99 for this wine is about right.

    But I wouldn’t buy it because it is bulk-shipped; because it doesn’t have the WSB guarantee seal on the neck, because it’s doing workers in the Cape out of jobs on the bottling line, making bottles &labels, and because I am lucky enough to be able to afford a wine that comes from a winery that I can see on a map.

  4. Peter F May says:

    ref your post on twit Is there a database of unique South African wine cellar A-numbers, so that we can find out where an own label wine originates?

    yes, see

    But few if any own label wines in UK show A numbers. But by law they should show where they are bottled. Look for the Bottled at then a code number. Numbers starting W are UK, F France DE Germany