Oddbins: Back on Track

After a tumultuous year in 2011 that included briefly going into administration before 36 stores were snatched up by the EFB Group, Oddbins is making a comeback in 2012.

It’s always sad when wine shops go out of business because it means less choice for wine lovers, so very happy in the fact that Oddbins escaped demise, I went along to their press tasting to check out their new range.

I was really impressed with what I found. There was an interesting collection of everyday favourites sitting next to eyebrow-raising grape varieties from unusual wine regions – the vast majority of which were, to my tastes, terrific quality.

I expect that Head Buyer Emma Nichols and her team have had a lot of fun putting together a range of wines that doesn’t take itself too seriously yet still ticks all the boxes.

You’ll find the must-have New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs and Riojas and be intrigued (as I was) by some of the more unexpected offerings such as the Casa Lluch Verdil 2010 from Valencia, Spain (£8), the Oveja Negra Sauvigon Blanc-Carmenere 2011 blend from Maule in Chile (yes, that is Carmenere the red grape, and it’s surprisingly good!) (£7.50), and the Heartland Dolcetto Lagrein 2009 from Langhorne Crrek, Australia (£13) to name but a few.

The majority of the wines were mid-priced in the £8-12 range with the least expensive, a Gargenega from Italy £6 and the most extravagant (excluding Champagne) at £38 for the absolutely delicious Esprit de Beaucastel 2008 from Tablas Creek Vineyard, a blend of Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah and Counoise from Paso Robles California.

Speaking to Buyer Ana Sapungiu, she explained that they’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, but instead make sure their core range are the ones consumers want and recognize but that there are also wines to peak the curiosity of the adventurous wine lovers as well.

After their successful ‘name your price‘ campaign of last year where customers were able to taste 3 wines in-store and give their input on what they’d be willing to pay for each one, consumer engagement is a high priority. They plan to encourage conversation and interaction that will ensure their customers find what they’re looking for on the Oddbins’ shelves.

It’s a range that isn’t dominated by lots of big brands, one or two perhaps, but not the usual suspects prevalent on supermarket shelves – all the more reason to stop into your local Oddbins, get reacquainted with an old friend and discover their new wines.

Here’s to trying something new, learning something new and enjoying every glass a whole lot more!

Tara – Wine Passionista

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Leave A Reply (4 comments so far)

  1. I miss the old Oddbins, like I miss the old Waterstones. They both had good customer service at their heart and people who were passionate about the product working for them and always ready to share their knowledge. The key to Oddbins success is not just the range but going back to the feeling that they were an independent wine shop (in my opinion). Thanks for the review.

    • Wine Passionista
      6 years ago

      Hi Sally, thanks for your comment. I totally agree and hope the same! It’s always great to visit a wine shop and find friendly, passionate, knowledgeable people who are excited to steer you to a great bottle. If you go to an Oddbins store, let me know how you find the experience :)

  2. Geoff Fitzgerald
    6 years ago

    I’m fortunate that my local oddbins (Liverpool Allerton Road) is still going & I like the quirky non-multiple range of wines they sell, in addition to the helpful & knowledgable staff. They even remember you when you don’t visit for a few months!

    I had the Latria (in your 1st picture) last night & thoroughly enjoyed it as a light tipple, recommended by the staff based on what they remember of my tastes! I’d expect this of a small merchant that I visit regularly but kudos to the staff for remembering it after such a long time!

    • Wine Passionista
      6 years ago

      Hi Geoff, how wonderful that the staff at your Oddbins remembered you AND your wine preferences – kudos indeed! With the right people in the shops and good wines on the shelves, shopping for wine can be such a wonderful experience! :) Thanks for your comment!

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