The liquor arm of Coles supermarket group is set to accelerate the number of private label wine brands it stocks after a $5 house brand beat 10,000 rivals to win an important industry award.
The head of wine sourcing for Coles' private label business Ed Ashley said the win by the group's private label Big and Bold Shiraz 2015 under the James Busby banner would add extra grunt to the private label push across the four retail brands operated by Coles in the liquor sector.
"We do want to grow the private label," he said.
He wouldn't be specific on what the private label portfolio of 500 or so brands represented as a total, but did say it was somewhere between 10 and 20 per cent of the entire range of wines sold by Coles' liquor arm.
The Big and Bold Shiraz was made for Coles by McPherson Wines, which operated at Mildura and Nagambie in Victoria.
It was judged the best wine under $20 across Australia and New Zealand by Winestate magazine, which had an expert judging panel doing blind tastings of 10,000 wines.
One of the judges was Wolf Blass, the wine industry doyen whose eponymous brand was a big money spinner for its owner, Treasury Wine Estates, which also owned Penfolds.
"Our strategy is about being really considered about our range, but growing the private label part," Mr Ashley said.
"From our perspective, this is industry recognition of what we're doing across private label."
The Big and Bold Shiraz had been a strong seller for the past 12 months across all four of Coles liquor brands, the value chain Liquorland, Vintage Cellars, First Choice and the new LiquorMarket, a concept store in Ringwood, Melbourne.
The growth of private label brands is a controversial issue in the wine and food industry.
Coles is battling to arrest the dominance of Woolworths' big box retailer Dan Murphy's.
While Coles has been sharply ahead of Woolworths in sales and profit growth from the core supermarkets business over the past few years, liquor has been a drag.