Female-friendly store set for expansion

Business building: Green & Blue, Dulwich

London-based retailers eye growth and seek to seduce more women customers

Husband-and-wife team Jude Liddle and Kate Thal opened Green & Blue wine shop and bar as a single unit in East Dulwich in 2005.

Two months ago, they moved the shop into a unit next door, doubling the size of their business. Next year they hope go one step further and open another branch.

Liddle said: "We will start actively looking for a site at the end of this year, but also in two months' time we could find a site and decide to go for it.

"The plan will be to have five or six shops one day. They will essentially be in London, but we may look at putting one in Brighton."

Thal, a f ormer Conran sommelier and drinks buyer, came up with the idea in 2001 to open a shop which would make good wine available to everybody.

The shop's range is kept to a maximum of 150 lines, which are updated four times a year. Wines are displayed in terms of style, rather than by country or grape variety to make it easier for customers to find what they want.

Liddle said: "Our wines are not about recognisable brands. They are often only found in smart restaurants or they are part of a small production."

The couple is particularly keen to attract female customers to their shop. Liddle said: "If you don't work in the wine trade, wine can be daunting. Something Kate wanted to do was make the shop more inviting to women, so we've concentrated on the look of the shop and we train our staff to be friendly to the customer. It's really about trying to make the customer get the wine they want in the best way possible."

Emma Eversham

In brief

Wine merchant James Nicholson is holding a first chance tasting of Bordeaux 2004 wines at the shop in Crossgar, County Down, Northern Ireland, on April 24. The tasting will be led by Bernadette Thienpont - her family has properties in Côtes de Francs, Pomérol and St-Emilion. Tickets are £10, call 028 4483 0091 or e-mail shop@jnwine.com for more information.

Berry Bros & Rudd's Italian specialist Chris Pollington will be teaching all there is to know about the country's wines at a one-day school on May 5. Twelve top wines from Piedmont, Veneto, Friuli, Tuscany and Marche will be tasted as part of the course, which costs £195 and includes a a three-course Italian lunch.

Southwold wine merchant Adnams is selling a tricolor case of New Zealand wine especially designed for spring drinking. The 12-bottle case is made up of a red, white and rosé from Marlborough's Forrest Estate and sells for £95.

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