To respond to the unanswered questions below, or to ask a reader's advice, simply e mail:
I pride myself on having tasted every wine on my shelves and I write tasting notes for them all. But when a customer challenged me to describe and identify some of them in a
blind tasting, I was all at sea. Is this proof
I don't know my business as well as I thought I did, or does everyone make these
ABlind tasting isn't supposed to be a test of your knowledge, though clearly it's useful if you can tell a Chardonnay from a Sauvignon Blanc . But being able to repeat
the same observations about a wine each time you taste it suggests either a) a
dull, one-dimensional wine or b) superhuman powers on your part. Your customer is just another one of the smart-arses that we in the wine trade need to learn to tolerate .
Q I've just told a charity worker
I don't want another collection box on my counter because it's valuable sales space. I feel guilty now - but my margins are tiny and business is tough. Was I really being mean?
A Not in the least. Those boxes get in the way, are a magnet for smack-heads
and don't make more than a few quid. Why not make a charitable gesture by selecting a
local cause and running a wine tasting which raises money for it, or donate 5p-10p from sales of a particular wine to that organisation?
You can also offset the donation against your tax bill so everyone wins.
Q All the obvious off-licence names have been taken, many times over. So how come nobody has thought of calling their shop City's Liquors?
A We have been left with the remains of a Foster's fascia leaving just the trademark "F". Consequently we are now referred to as the "F Off-licence".
Q If a friend of mine goes ahead with his plan to call his shop Oliver Reed's, is he breaching any sort of law?
Q I have a south facing window. Will a grapevine grow there or just look pathetic
(like its owner)?