Lidl Wine Cellar magazine: how many?!

Six million copies. Six meeeeeeeellion copies. That’s the print run of the Lidl Wine Cellar magazine. In the UK at least, this must be one of biggest print runs (the biggest print run?) of any magazine. Lidl asked me to help them write it – our first collaboration is available in store today; it’s inserted into The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Guardian and The Daily Record this Saturday. Hope I didn’t leave in any typos…

My aim as a wine writer hasn’t changed since I first started writing for friends seven years ago: I want to help people get the same enjoyment from wine that I do. Ever since I was a grubby-faced, spoon-licking toddler I’ve been drawn to the hedonistic, but I can honestly say there is nothing that has brought me more enduring pleasure than this magical drink. Sure it takes a while to get into. But once you’re in, there’s no looking back. I’ve never met an ex-winelover.

The team at Lidl have given me remarkable freedom. I’ve written introductions to various regions around the world so drinkers can explore with more confidence. And within the 40-page magazine, they’ve also granted me the space to write a couple of general wine features which I hope will inspire people to get involved if they aren’t already.

When it comes to sourcing the wines, Ben Hulme is the senior buying manager for beer, wines and spirits so he does most of the legwork in putting the collection together. To help him hone his selection he then convenes a tasting panel of three Masters of Wine: Ed Adams, Caroline Gilby and Richard Bampfield, who give every wine a score out of 100. For wines that get the green light, Richard supplies a concise tasting note for the magazine. The wines in each quarterly Wine Cellar collection are bought in finite quantities and distributed to all their stores, so when they’re gone, they’re gone. The top wines sell out very quickly – don’t say I didn’t warn you!

I love writing in-depth articles for websites and magazines that are aimed at committed wine nuts. But writing for Lidl’s Wine Cellar magazine gives me incredible reach, much greater than any individual wine column, to talk to normal people who haven’t really discovered wine yet. If I can give them a hand up and help them discover their path to enjoying brilliant bottles, then I’m happy.