As Trader Joe's has proven, nothing creates loyalty to a store like good prices on high-quality products. To prove that theory, another discount chain has begun to quietly roll out locations in the U.S. Lidl, like T.J.'s and fellow German-based chain Aldi, operates on a no-frills, private-label model that allows consumers to buy popular grocery items at half the choice. Yes, that includes wine. And, like Aldi, the affordable wine is winning major awards. While an under-$10 bottle made major headlines for getting top scores is only available in the U.K., the U.S. line alone has already won over 200 awards.
There are now 47 stateside Lidl locations and counting — the first opened in the spring —from Augusta, GA to New Jersey. At every location, shoppers are greeted by smell of fresh-baked bread (every location has a bakery), but perhaps our favorite part can't be smelled, just spotted: the wine aisle. In states that allow wine sales in grocery stores, you can find a wine aisle offering deals on everything from red wine perfect for pizza night to Champagne for your New Year's toast.
Wine prices start at under $3 and go up from there, but all are curated by a certified Master of Wine. Lidl describes their Master of Wine as a "master sommelier but with a PhD," certified by the Institute of the Masters of Wine. Lidl is currently the only U.S. grocery store to employee a full-time master of wine. The wines include nationally-available brands, but the private-label bottles are where the deals really start.
You can get a $7.99 Crémant (one wine expert's favorite alternative to Champagne), as well as limited-edition Champagne for the holidays starting at $22.99. While that's a splurge for a regular bottle for us, considering many champagnes run well over $50, it's a great way to still feel like you're celebrating without shelling out too much dough.
Other holiday deals include the best price on 2016 Sauternes, a sweet white wine from Bordeaux. Costing just $9.99, you'll see other bottles from the same year costing upwards of $30. Another under-$10 bottle, the sparking rosé Veuve Louise, looks and tastes more expensive than it is, thanks to a luxe bottle design that match the festive mood this time of year.
While Lidl (and its wines) might have a relatively limited reach currently, we expect that we'll continue t see more of the chain – and its wine master approved — in 2018. Consider it at the top of our wine-obsessed Christmas list for Santa.