Regular readers may already be aware of the Aldi Wine Club, a 3 month long assignment tasting 6 wines exclusive to their range, and then writing up your thoughts to the wider Aldi community to help guide shoppers in the right direction with their purchases.
Though I’ve participated in my fair share of panels, I ensure I step back from time to time to allow others a turn at playing wine somm. I do, however, regularly keep an eye on their website to see how things are progressing.
Over the last few months this has been limited to the continued viewing of a holding page detailing that the hunt is on for the 18th panel, a search that allegedly commenced last December.
Clearly something has stalled, and knowing that the club is pretty unique amongst the supermarkets wine offerings, its closure would be a sad loss for UK wine drinkers.
It would be doubly sad too as it came along at just about the right time to replace the now defunct Tesco Wine Community. In the case of Tesco, any non-core activities were set aside to repair the big holes in their balance sheet, and the musings of wine lovers were probably far down the list of essentials.
With austerity and shrinking sales still affecting everyone on the high street, I wondered how far down the Wine Club was on Aldi’s balance sheet. I decided to find out.
The club was administered for Aldi by PR firm Clarion Communications. Seeing that they had won ‘PR Company of the Year’ at this week’s Drinks Business awards, and are clearly still active in the wines and spirits sector, prompted me to get in touch to see what the current state of play is.
I had several contacts listed for them, each of which pinged me back saying that the email accounts no longer existed – not a good start. I also reached out to Aldi directly who, in spite of my specific query, responded with the vague offer of passing my feedback to the ‘relevant teams’, and an equally unhelpful redirection to the holding page I had referred to in my enquiry.
A little despondent that clearly Aldi had no real firm grip on the status or plans, I was pleased to be able to connect with Becky at Clarion who was able to shed some more light on the situation. She confirmed that the club hadn’t closed or been forgotten, just merely dropped down the immediate projects schedule due to some high priority work.
I’m glad to see that the door hasn’t been completely closed on the exercise. Becky also confirmed that when they recommence the offering she’ll be in touch, so stay tuned if you’ve been wondering where the club had gone or want to get involved in the future.
I hope that in the intervening time between the last panel and the next there have been new ideas kicked around to energise the club and make it more inclusive, more popular, and higher up the Clarion/Aldi priority lists!