How Walmart got a Chilean superstar
(NVR) - The label for La Moneda Malbec Reserva 2015 from Chile looks like nothing special, until you notice the small decal on the side touting 95 points and a platinum medal from Decanter magazine. Even if you don’t know that Decanter is Britain’s leading wine journal, 95 points is an impressive score for any wine, especially a cheap one. Last June, when it won best single-variety red costing under 15 pounds (about $18.75) in Decanter’s annual World Wine Awards, consumer demand crashed the website of Asda supermarkets, La Moneda’s exclusive retail outlet. Demand spiked so high that Asda’s parent company, Walmart, decided to sell the wine in the United States.
So last fall, Walmart introduced the La Moneda Malbec into 577 of its 4,600 or so U.S. stores, priced at $6.96 a bottle. Having tasted a sample, I can tell you it is really good, and it was still delicious and lively three or four days after opening, my unscientific way of assessing wine quality.
Unfortunately, it is not available in Washington-area Walmart stores—or possibly in any Walmart. A company spokesman says the initial U.S. allotment “sold through” over the holidays. Furthermore, it’s unclear whether U.S. customers will ever be able to buy La Moneda. The supplier is already selling Walmart the 2016 vintage, but only for the U.K. market, and the spokesman would say only that the company is always looking for “new opportunities” to offer similar values to its American customers.