I normally champion independent wine merchants in the column but a chat with an old friend the other day reminded me just how big a role the supermarkets have played in making wine a normal part of our lives.

I should, however, give an even bigger shout out for three wine champions without whom the supermarkets would still be focused on some of those 1980s wines that never ever passed muster.

The 1980s were the golden age for wine in the UK with a combination of fruit-driven and bargain-priced New World wines, flying winemakers and the rise of a new phenomenon, the wine celebrity. The three wine champions were Jilly Goolden, Jancis Robinson and Oz Clark.

Jilly and Oz brought fun to the wine world and gave us all the confidence to “find” apricots, tropical fruits, leather, cigar boxes and all manner of autumn fruits in our glass. Without them, I dare say, the descriptions on the back of wines today would be far more boring.

If you haven’t been to one of Oz’s tastings, by the way, then add it to your bucket list. They are fabulous.

I can’t do justice to the combination of humour and knowledge that Oz gets across during an event.

Jancis is a fellow Cumbrian like myself and she made us fall in love with the idea of wine travel with her TV series in the 1990s with her easy, relaxed manner.

They all made wine drinking normal for everyone, not just the rich, and the rise of the supermarkets created the ideal delivery vehicle for the masses.

So, without further ado, let’s raise

a glass to the supermarkets and the three musketeers!

Odd Lot, USA

A cracking blend of Petite Syrah and Petit Verdot with all the juice and power you can imagine from that heavyweight pairing. It’s full-on but really fun as well and a whopping 15%. Well played Aldi!

Aldi £9.99

Lockkeepers Shiraz, Australia

Soft, juicy hedgerow fruits with a

really soft mellow palate. A fabulous mid-week quaffer.

Marks&Spencer £9