A nice view of New York City


In our previous articles we’ve been writing about the private label market in Italy and in Europe, but what about the United States? Even in the United States’ market private label is growing, but the numbers are smaller if compared to the great numbers in Europe. Nevertheless, the consumption in the last 10 years has doubled, it currently is 10% of the sales and a further increase is expected for the years to come.

Even if a lot of American distributors are reluctant to sell store label wines, a few of the large retail chains decided to invest in this new trend and are proposing private label lines that are already consolidated. Let’s have a look at the American leaders in this market:

  •         Costco: Kirkland Signature

Kirkland has become synonym of high-quality. Costco created Kirkland Signature in 2003 and today it offers a wide range of wines. The prices are from 6 to 24 dollars and Costco Wine Blog was created in order to keep the costumers updated with every news about Kirkland line. The best wines offered by this line are a Russian Pinot Noir, a Cote de Provence Rosé and a Super Tuscan Blend.

  •         Trader Joe’s: Charles Shaw (Two-Buck Chuck)

Charles Shaw was placed on the market at the incredible price of $1,99, with some small price change depending on the area (in Manhattan it costs $2,99), but it still is the cheapest private label wine that you can find on the market. How is it possible to maintain such a low price? In addition to the cheap materials, Trader Joe’s buys from the producers from San Joaquin Valley, rather the ones from Napa or Sonoma. It also offers a “premium” line which is from $4,99 to $12,99 per bottle.

  •         Whole Foods: Animist, Criterion, Wine Farmer, Songbird Cellar

Whole Foods is the only American large distributor that sells private label wine availing of a Master Sommelier. The brands are well developed, the costumer could easily not be aware of buying a private label, but every brand was smartly placed, depending on the region of origin.

Some other distributors in United States that deserve to be mentioned and their private label lines:

  •         Kroger: Acronym e Parker’s Estate
  •         Target: California Roots
  •         Aldi: Broken Clouds, 30 Miles
  •         Lidl: Bottle Note
  •         Sam’s Club: Member’s Mark
  •         New Seasons Market: Overjoy
  •         Hyatt Hotels and Resorts: Canvas
Wine bottles on the shelf in an Italian supermarket


The main sales channel for Italian wine is the large-scale distribution, through which 619 million litres of wine are sold. The latest data show the growth of sales for Doc and Docg wines (+5,3%), sparkling wines (+2,1%), organic wines (18%) and a solid growth for private label wines too (+7%).

The consumer, thanks to a shorter production chain, can buy private label wines at a moderate price.

To understand a little bit better the success of the private label products, let’s take as examples two well-known large-scale distributors in Italy: Coop and Despar.

The quite recent project “Fior Fiore Coop Wines” has immediately showed some great results, thanks to the good quality of its wines. These products are mostly Doc and Docg and all of Italian origin, here are the eight labels you can find in Coop stores:

  •         Bravìolo Rosso di Toscana IGT (Fattoria del Cerro),
  •         Casalguerro Lambrusco di Modena DOP (Cleto Chiarli),
  •         Gewurtztraminer Sudtirol Alto Adige (Cantina Produttori Bolzano),
  •         Monogram Franciacorta DOCG (Castel Faglia),
  •         Primitivo di Manduria DOP (San Marzano),
  •         Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG (Cantina Bellussi),
  •         Sauvignon Friuli Colli Orientali DOC (Le Vigne di Zamò),
  •         Fiano di Avellino DOCG (Feudi San Gregorio).

“La Cantina di Despar” is something a little bit different. First, Despar is the Italian branch of a much bigger corporation, which is present in more than 33 countries around the world. Such a larger distribution offers more possibilities. Despar has been offering its own line of wines for a few years now, and today the labels in “La Cantina di Despar” are no less than 63.

The turnover of La Cantina is worth 18% of its whole wine compartment, which offers 51 DOC or DOCG products and 12 UGT products. The best sellers are the wines from North-East, followed by the wines from Tuscany and Piedmont (Barbera, Barolo, Chianti, Brunello).


Compared to the Italian data, in the European market we can see a bigger success of the private label products. As we have previously mentioned, in 1979 was born the Private Label Manufacturers Association, and thanks to PLMA we can have a look at the last data collected.

If we look at the main markets such as Germany, France, Spain and the United Kingdom, it appears that the private labels are no less than 50% of the market! The reason of this success is simple: the costumer is now aware of the fact that, buying private label products, he can choose high-quality wines, without paying the brand extra-charge.

In particular, the two leading markets in this area are the Spanish market (51%) and the Swiss one (49%). Followed by the United Kingdom (47%), Germany (45%), Belgium (44%), Austria (43%), and Portugal (41%). A little more than 30% are the sales in the following countries: Norway (32%), Sweden (33%), Finland (32%), Poland (31%), Hungary (34%), France (31%), Netherland (30%) and, at the bottom of the list, we find Italy (20%). In every country we mentioned, and in several other countries, the data has grown and keep growing.

Last year, during the International Salute to Excellence Awards in Amsterdam, PLMA has also determined which are the best labels. They choose among the distributors of 16 different countries and assign the awards Best Quality and Best Value. These awards are divided in five main categories: Red Wines, White Wines, Champagne and Sparkling Wines, Rosé, Fortified. These are the countries which obtained more awards:

  •         Germany (11 awards)
  •         Netherlands (11 awards)
  •         United States (7 awards)
  •         Spain (7 awards)
  •         France and Great Britain (3 awards)
  •         Italy and Portugal (2 awards)
  •         Belgium and South Africa (1 award)


Except for the United States, these awards show how popular the private labels are becoming in Europe, regarding not only the consumer approach, but also the quality of the wines and the dedication of the distributors.

Two bottles with white and grey labels


What is a Private Label? Easy. In Italian it’s translated with “marche private” or “marchio del distributore”, it’s a label that belongs to the distributor. Any distributor can contact a producer to purchase a certain product, and then place it on the market with its own new label, created just for that line.

Here is a practical example: Conad brand includes 65 different labels, it doesn’t use the main Conad brand, but several other made-up labels. This turned out to be a successful strategy.

In Italy, private labels are quite new to the market, but it’s something that continues to grow. The 8,1% of wines sold in Italy are private label wines (22,6% in Europe). In other markets, for example Switzerland, United Kingdom, Germany and Spain the private label wines are the overall majority.

The private label wines started to spread in the middle of last century. In 1979 PLMA was born, (Private Label Manufacturers Association) which currently organizes two annual fairs, in Amsterdam and Chicago.

Generally, the consumers like to find the private label option on the market, they see it as an alternative to the conventional labels. At first, the term “private label” used to be associated with the sale of wines of poor-quality. Later, with the development of this option and its popularity, the stereotype was dispelled, and it’s easy to find high-quality and high-end wines. The growth was both quantitative and qualitative.

Also, we shouldn’t confuse high-quality and high-end products. A lot of prestigious wineries, such as some bordelaise chateaux, dedicate to private labels their low-end wines, which are also great quality products. The private label option is a great opportunity for the large producers to resolve their overfilled storage.

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