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USA Today reports that Walmart has launched a new product line called Winemakers Selection, described as “10 ‘distinctive labels’ of wine sourced from California, France and Italy. They sell for about $11 per bottle, yet will be high quality.

Nichole Simpson, Walmart’s senior wine buyer, tells the paper that the wines “drink like a $30 to $40 bottle of wine” … Walmart began selling its private wine label in about 1,100 stores nationwide last month. Before the launch, Simpson spent several months visiting both domestic and international winemakers, getting to know the producers of each bottle. Simpson said the labels help enhance the wine experience: Not only can customers get it cheap, but also they can understand the story behind every bottle.”

The USA Today story says that this is “the latest example of how Walmart, which grew into the nation's largest retailer by appealing to middle-class families, is increasing trying to appeal to more upscale tastes. Earlier this year, it unveiled new home goods options that included styles like ‘glam’ and ‘farmhouse.’ In March, it said it would offer its own line of home meal kits, which have become popular among urban professional couples and singles."
KC's View:
The piece of this that intrigues me is the educational element - Walmart clearly is trying to create, where it thinks it is appropriate, a more aspirational experience for its customers. It has to be a little careful, because it doesn’t want to alienate its core customers, but I think it will be interesting to see the degree to which it can push this broader initiative along.