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Published:  17 October, 2008

To respond to the unanswered questions below, or to ask a reader's advice, simply e mail:

Q Sweet shops sometimes restrict the number of children in the store to two or three at a time . Has anyone got a similar policy with boozy adults on a Friday night?


We rarely get more than three or four at any one time . We have one guy who cheerfully pretends to be shoplifting and

enjoys the

game that follows, when I have to leave the counter and

retrieve cans

from his pockets . I don't like screened-off off-licences but if you're in a busy area and

open after 10.30pm, I think

it's the only


Karl, Manchester

A We used to suffer from the

weekend stampede of

party-goers, and there were times when we lost stock

and staff were abused . Now we employ a security guard for the peak hours .

Lee, Glasgow

Q Where can I get sample-size disposable plastic tumblers for in-store tastings?

A For an environmentally friendly option I


bio-degradable samplers

from Kresse Wesling at Bio-Supplies (, 07843 567935). Excellent service too!

Jem, Leeds

Q Can a police officer or Trading Standards officer request you to halt an in-store tasting in an ill-judged effort to protect public morals?

A Certainly not in our case - we made sure sampling was included in the business plan we submitted as part of our premises licence application .

MH, Evesham

A If the tasting was turning into a bun

fight and people were getting drunk, maybe, but a sensible tasting

is not going to corrupt public morals.

Bob, Kent

Q Is it true you can catch unspeakable diseases by drinking beer straight out of the can?

Andy, Cheshire

Q Is bottle-conditioned ale a hoax? How do we know the yeast sediment was ever alive in the bottle?

FG, Hove

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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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Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know