the forum

08 January, 2010

Q Is it possible, as one of my customers claims, to be allergic to South African wine???A Far more likely that your customer has an intolerance towards sulphites. They may well have experienced an allergic reaction to wines which are rather overdosed with sulphur (used to kill off wild yeasts prior to fermentation and to prevent the finished product from oxidation). Because the wine in question happened to be South African, they’ve blamed the entire country for their discomfort.

KH, Kent??A We’ve expanded our organic range and if we ever hear of a customer who’s reacted badly to wine in the past, we direct them to that section of the shop. It’s possible to have problems with wines which are particularly acidic, or have too many added nasties, but it’s nonsense to claim to be allergic to the wines of a certain country.

Greg, Bucks??Q How can I persuade customers that drinking Champagne? is nothing to be embarrassed or self-conscious about, even in a recession???A Every time he finds a newspaper article which suggests the recession is petering out, my partner sellotapes it to the side of our Champagne fixture.

The cuttings have raised a few smiles and, I’m pretty sure, ensured Champagne has moved a bit better than it would otherwise have done.

Charles, West Sussex??A I have made a point of highlighting how cheap our grande marques are in comparison with the prices charged in some local restaurants – in some cases it’s £40 or £50. I also suggest some food?-matching ideas, to emphasise th?at you can eat and drink at home for a fraction of the price of going out?.

Hilary, London??Q Wh?ich wines go with chocolate??Susie, Herts??Q I’ve found some rude comments about my shop (masquerading as “reviews”) on a Google search. How can I remove them??John,Manchester

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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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