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10 December, 2010

Q How practical is it for a wine retailer to set up a pop-up shop? Anyone out there done it???A Itís one thing finding a suitable retail unit, quite another to sort out the licensing. A Temporary Event Notice will allow you to trade at a location for up to four days, so that may be enough for what you have in mind.

Sharon, Birmingham??A Weíve discussed setting up a specialist wine area within a large local farm shop, which already has a licence, to boost Christmas sales. There would be some licensing issues to address but the real stumbling block is finding a way of agreeing terms with the farm people that would mean we both profited.

Hannah, West Sussex??Q Iíd like to become more expert at identifying brettanomyces in wine. Anyone got any tips???A You need to be on the alert for animal-like aromas, but these can be hard to identify as ďbrettĒ because some wines tend to smell a bit feral anyway. Some people enthusiastically swig back wines that others in the room claim are bretty, so the best solution is to simply decide whether or not you like it Ė not whether itís infected with brettanomyces.

Barry, London??A Next time youíre at a tasting or trade event, keep an ear out for talk of brettanomyces and make sure you get a chance to sample a wine thatís generally agreed to be infected. If possible, bring a small sample home to share with colleagues. You can read any number of descriptions about what brett is or isnít, but you really need to experience it to recognise it.

PH, Winchester??Q Iím plagued by the dreaded blue teeth, gums and lips syndrome. How can I avoid it when Iíve been sampling red wine??DH, North Yorkshire??Q Is a wine thatís accidentally been frozen OK to drink, and to sell, after itís thawed??Georgina, Worcestershire?

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When Bordeaux was in fashion, it seemed almost logical that we should fetishise winemakers. Here were people responsible for brilliant acts of blending, across large estates and multiple grape varieties, including superstars such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot. These days, fashion has moved on and pinot noir is ascendant. As a result, the star of the winemaker has fallen and we find ourselves following a new star in the sky: terroir.

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