If you consider yourself an oenophile, Aldi is not likely your go-to spot for wine. But that could change.
The discount supermarket chain where you bag your own groceries and pay a quarter for a shopping cart is shaking up the wine world. Aldi sells a bottle of rosé that drew surprisingly high scores at the International Wine Challenge, which some call the "Oscars" of the wine world.
After two weeks of blind tasting, judges awarded the Exquisite Collection Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016 a silver medal in its main competition, Today reported. The Sun reported this Aldi bottle beat out other wines that were three times more expensive.
The rosé also scored high in the Great Value Awards; the judges named it a Great Value Rosé under £8. Its taste was described as "ripe summer stone fruits with generous acid palate and crisp bright finish." The wine is made in Provence by French wine producer Jules Wines. It's a blend of grenache, cinsault and syrah grapes.
But before you run out to your local Aldi and grab every pink bottle you see on the shelves, there's a catch. (Isn't there always?) The International Wine Challenge takes place in the U.K., so the tasters only sampled U.K. bottles. That means this exact wine is not available in Aldi supermarkets in the United States. But an Aldi spokesperson told Today they'll be selling an $8.99 bottle in U.S. stores under the same name, available while supplies last.
Other of the supermarket chain's wines performed well at the International Wine Challenge. In total, Aldi wine took home 18 medals.
Aldi's 'huge year for innovation'
Those unfamiliar with Aldi might be surprised. But those who shop there or keep tabs on the chain's moves know Aldi has recently been stepping up their game. Award-winning wines are just the start. The chain has been slowly expanding their product line to attract more health-conscious shoppers. When interviewed about the big win at the International Wine Challenge, joint managing director of corporate buying Tony Baines told reporters this past year has been huge for innovation for Aldi.
Earlier this year, Aldi announced a $1.6 billion expansion and renovation plan for its U.S. stores. In addition to bringing more organic and fresh products to its shelves, Aldi is renovating many of existing stores with "more airy ceilings, natural lighting and environmentally friendly building materials," as Chicago Tribune reported.
A Business Insider reporter got a peek inside one of the new Aldi stores in Richmond, Virginia. She likened the design and layout to Whole Foods. The produce area was larger, and the softer lighting and wider aisles made for a more pleasant shopping experience.
Aldi is wisely investing big bucks to remain competitive among the grocery store players. Whether its because of the wider variety of fresh produce or those award-winning wines, more people are taking note of Aldi. And if everything goes Aldi's way, more people will start shopping there, too.