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06 April, 2007

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Q There's a restaurant that doesn't price up its menu but asks diners to pay what they think the meal was worth. Might this system work in the wine trade?

A How on earth can you expect people to make this judgement on wine they plan to drink at home? Do you seriously think they will come traipsing in the next day and say "yeah, good drop of Cabernet, that - how does 10 quid sound?" I find your question quite staggeringly na´ve. Does your shop currently make a profit?

Nelson, Bath

A I'll give you the short answer: no.

Dave, Redruth

Q Is it ethical to sell booze to alcoholics?

A This is a question I've wrestled with ever since a regular of mine died from liver failure three years ago. I happily sold him a great deal of booze, knowing he liked to over-indulge. But he was a lonely guy and a good drink was one of his only pleasures. Sure, I could have said "no". But he would still have found the drink he craved elsewhere. In any case, retailers are servants. We sell people what they want. It's not for us to decide if they're hurting themselves - customers must be the judges of that.

SW, East Kilbride

A No, if you're sure the person has a drink problem and a loved one has asked you not to.

Mary, Cambs

Q We had a small flood and some bottles and cans of beer and wine were floating in the water for several hours. I know I'm not supposed to sell them - but would it be dangerous for me to drink them?

AJ, Teesside

Q What's more irresponsible - leaving some of my lights on overnight and adding unwanted carbon into the atmosphere, or turning them off and encouraging burglars?

Tim, Notts

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Richard Hemming MW: beware inverse snobbery

Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle ľ which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know