A Lidl wine story about corks

A Lidl wine story about corks

They’re one of the big news stories in wine, Lidl. Bringing in a refreshing range of wines at prices that make the big supermarkets quake.

Just a shame their wine education programme for staff isn’t as groundbreaking.

Lidl have a decent Chianti Classico for just £5.49, and it’s easily worth that price.

Tried a bottle a few days back, and really enjoyed it. (Want to give it a go? It’s the Forteza dei Colli Chianti Classico)

Went back for another.

Later that evening, pulled the (very cheap and therefore not that reliable) cork, poured a few glasses, only to find it was corked.

Corked; that is a faulty wine down to the presence of TCA in the cork. TCA is short for a long scientific name, and it basically buggers up the taste and aroma of the wine. Unpleasant to undrinkable; depends on how bad it’s been affected.

Logical solution? Take the bottle back, explain it’s corked, and swap it for a new bottle.

How does this work a Lidl?

Get told you need to go to a till (there’s no customer service desk that you’re used to in mainstream UK supermarkets).

It’s over £5, so it requires a manager to authorise.

Meanwhile answer cashier’s comment, “If you don’t mind me asking, why’s it half empty?”

“Well, you pour out three glasses, then everyone says it’s corked and you agree. Anyway, if it was so bad as a wine, why would I be exchanging it for another bottle of exactly the same wine?”

Manager arrives, gets the low-down.

Takes a look at the replacement bottle, then the opened corked one, turns to me then says to the cashier, “This one’s corked too.” Whilst tapping the top of the new bottle, as if to point out it’s also got a cork in it.

Take a breath, explain no, it’s not the fact there’s a cork in it, more to do with the infection in some corks which taints the wine.

Absorb the look from manager as if you’ve just stepped out from a flying saucer that’s landed in his car park.

Get bottle switched, whilst young woman behind you in the queue says as you leave, “I still can’t get over the corked wine bit!”

Seems like the customers are more switched on than the staff.

Hey, Lidl, here’s a few ideas:      

  • If you’re going to sell a lot of wine under cork, educate at least your managers, preferably your staff, to understand a fair few might be returned as “corked”.
  • Know that having a cork sealing the wine and a corked wine are two different things.
  • Persuade your suppliers to use better grade corks to reduce the problem.

Now it’s not only a Lidl problem; you could easily have to endure the same baffled response in any other supermarket.

Kind of worrying that with all the words written about wines around the world, and web, most people still haven’t got a handle on the basics isn’t it?

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