On to a winner with wine tastings

The Federation of Wholesale Distributors' Blueprint team has organised 36 wine tasting events this year - and boosted sales at each store, it says.

The tasting scheme, launched last year and aimed at independents, provides shops with a kit including sampling glasses, corkscrews and personalised POS material. The Blueprint team also offers advice on running tastings, and can even come along

to help

at the events.

Scheme director Ross Shelley said: "Wine tastings allow retailers to engage with their customers with some in-store theatre, while also encouraging them to try new varieties and brands.

"Importantly, some customers are encouraged to try higher-priced brands, which boosts retail turnover. In the 36 tasting s , each store has had an uplift

in sales as a result. In fact we had one retailer who sold a staggering 48 cases of one brand on the back of his wine tasting."

Lesley Brown, owner of Frankmarsh Stores in Barnstaple, said: "I feel the wine tastings give something back to my customers as well as increasing my profits.

My profits since the wine tasting have increased some 30 per cent, with people willing to try different wines and spend that little extra for that special bottle."

Ray Pluess from Londis, in Valley Truckle, Cornwall, said: "It has made us more aware of what we stock, we have got rid of certain lines and replaced them with more popular lines. All the brands that we were tasting sold on the night and, to make things even better, people are still coming back to buy them."