Lidl Chateaux Noir is launching nationwide, and will see guests immersed in total darkness for a series of brand-new blind tasting sessions, carefully curated and hosted by Lidl’s resident Master of Wine Richard Bampfield.
Designed to democratise wine, the revamped sensory event will see Lidl take on major drinks brands as it aims to change the perception that you need to spend a lot to enjoy quality booze this festive season and beyond.
The return of Lidl Chateaux Noir follows new research that more than a quarter still think premium labels are better quality and are willing to pay above the odds when entertaining.
What’s more, almost half (44%) are more likely to splash out when hosting at Christmas or gifting someone else (rising to 56%) – with three-quarters doing so because it’s a special occasion and 35% because they want to impress guests.
Shoppers would also pay up to £12.50 for a bottle when hosting, compared to nearly £9, on average, when buying for themselves – a splurge Lidl is hoping to combat through showcasing quality and affordable options.
Guided by Richard, the event also hopes to help shoppers find their favourite flavour this festive season, as a quarter (23%) admit they find buying wine a stressful experience – with more than half (51%) agreeing there are too many options too choose from, and 46% don’t know how to identify a good bottle from a bad bottle. Another third simply don’t know where to start and 32% are simply bewildered by wine jargon.
This means more than half (51%) of the nation tend to stick to what they know, and nearly a quarter (23%) have a ‘go-to’ bottle.
Chateaux Noir is aiming to educate the 45% that default to whether the wine is on offer or discounted, the almost half (49%) who choose based on where it comes from and one in five (18%) that decide based on the look of the label.
In fact, 24% wish they knew more about wine – with nearly a third saying they would experiment with different wines if they knew more about them.
With a jam-packed new tasting programme in store, guests at Chateaux Noir will first enter a never-before-seen ‘palate cleansing tunnel’, before moving into a blackout tasting room where they’ll be served by night-vision-goggle wearing waiters.
They’ll then be invited to try a selection of Lidl wines, some tasted directly against big brand rivals, before a grand reveal in the final room.
Lidl GB Master of Wine Richard Bampfield said: “At Chateaux Noir, not only do we want to challenge preconceptions about affordable wine and prove to customers that great taste isn’t determined by premium branded price tags, but to open people’s minds and challenge what they think they know already about wine.
"So, if you think you’re a strictly red drinker – think again! We’ll reveal how similar flavour profiles can carry across different categories that you might never have otherwise considered.
"This Christmas, Chateaux Noir is encouraging shoppers to rip up the rule book and start experimenting - ultimately, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to drink wine – if you love it, then that’s all that matters.”
Some of the etiquette rules people are open to ditching includes, serving white only for fish (43%), rose is just for summer (39%), only drinking wine that has a cork (37%), drinking champagne only from a flute (35%), red wine shouldn’t be chilled (31%) and avoiding ice in wine (30%).
When it comes to right and wrong ways to drink wine, 31% find ‘wine etiquette’ snobbish and more than 1 in 10 find it intimidating. While just 8% say following traditional ‘rules’ of wine etiquette enhances their enjoyment of drinking the popular festive tipple.
Chateaux Noir will kick off its residency at Leake Street Waterloo, London, on Friday 10 and Saturday 11 November, before travelling to Argyle Street Arches, Glasgow on 17 and 18 November, with the final stop on the tasting tour ending at West Bay at Titanic Hotel, Liverpool on 24 and 25 November.
Tickets are just £5 plus a £1.13p booking fee, with all proceeds going to the NSPCC. Guests must be 18+ to attend.