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Published:  24 April, 2009

Q I want to brighten up my website with pictures of my wines and spirits, and the shop itself. How much should I spend on a digital camera???A I spent £500 on my Canon and very lovely it is too – and easy to upload pictures to my computer and website. But it hasn’t turned me into a professional photographer. For half that money, perhaps even less, you could get a local pro to take classy shots of your shop?, its products and staff.

Chas, London SE2??A For bottle shots you’re normally better off getting hold of decent JPEGs from suppliers – they might give you shots? of winemakers, vineyards and so on. For general label close-ups, any half-decent digital camera will do the job, but try to shoot in natural light – flash can obliterate text and looks a bit amateurish.

Gordon, Bath??Q How come shops specialis?ing in cheap cider, pornography and toilet rolls are allowed to have signs saying “wine merchant”???A There’s a shop near me which is supposedly a newsagent, wine merchant AND delicatessen. It certainly sells newspapers, but its processed ham doesn’t constitute a deli range and neither do the cheap Foster’s and Echo Falls suggest true wine specialism. But the guy is technically a merchant, and he sells wine. Hence he’s a wine merchant.

Mary, Salford??A I think it’s time this term was protected and enforced by Trading Standards. Wine merchants should be people who achieve the majority of their turnover from wine sales and are allowed to display some sort of badge?. Perhaps this could even be a first step to creating a national guild or trade association?.

Sandy, West Sussex??Q How I can make it easier for customers to identify “serious” rosé wines from the ridiculous, sweeter styles that many people seem to like??DF, Cambridgeshire??Q I’m closed on Sundays and I’m thinking about closing on Mondays and Tuesdays?, which are quiet days. Is three days a week too much??Dave, Gloucestershire

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Lifting the spirits

I were to sum up alcohol sales over Christmas 2017 in one word, it would be “gin”. At Nielsen, we define the Christmas period as the 12 weeks to December 30 and in that time gin sales were £199.4 million, which means they increased by £55.4 million compared with Christmas 2016. There’s no sign the bubble is about to burst either. Growth at Christmas 2016 was £22.4 million, so gin has increased its value growth nearly two-and-a-half times in a year. The spirit added more value to
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Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

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