the forum

05 September, 2008

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


Q I'm considering abandoning my temperamental electronic till and investing in a really old cash register. Am I being too sentimental?

A Maybe not - D Byrne, the famous wine merchant in Clitheroe, still uses its original Victorian till and nobody seems to mind.

Jenny, Cumbria

A If you've got a dodgy till, invest in a better model. Customers may be awed by an antique cash register, but they're not the ones doing your accounts or carrying out your stocktaking and ordering. Join the 21st century - it's great here.

Gina, Hull

Q Anyone want to join the advocaat revival?

A No - I know you'd argue that my sales would snowball but I reckon I'd only end up with egg on my face.

Ben, Cambs

A We sell six bottles a week so we think we've already started one. It's bizarre - we put a few bottles on promotion one weekend and since then a few people have started buying it regularly. They're clearly mad.

Dan, north London

Q I'm struggling to keep my website up to date with all my latest wines - and sometimes don't get around to deleting what's sold out. Any tips?

George, North Yorks

Q I'm considering running a wine festival at a local hall and selling tickets - I'm planning tutored tastings and nibbles and a decent range of wines. Do such events make money or is the best I can hope for to break even and generate some local publicity?

Kate, West Sussex

Q I've got a middle-aged customer who has a thing for sweet alcopops. He loves drinking them in the pub and keeps on asking me to stock them. Should I pander to his (slightly bizarre) needs, or will it just attract the wrong kind of under-age clientele?

David Johnson, Norwich

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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 – 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