the forum

11 January, 2008

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

oln.editorial@william-reed.co.u

k

Q Why do so many customers refer to a "crate" rather than a "case" of wine? Is there a technical difference between the two terms?

A Whenever I'm asked for a crate, I produce a dirty wooden box with dangerous staples all over it and proceed to load it up. If the request is changed to "a cardboard box" I usually say "oh, you mean a case" and load that instead. Don't ask me how I've become so petty-minded as I've aged.

Stan, Mexborough

Q Has anyone experimented with dim and full-glare lighting? I've always assumed customers responded better to soft lighting but I've noticed a growing trend towards bright lights. Does one do a better job than the other in encouraging sales?

A Dim light is obviously far more suitable for fine wine merchants as it doesn't damage the merchandise

and creates a cosy atmosphere. But passing traffic assumes the shop is closed and some people just find it dingy and off-putting. We recently switched to bright lights and a cleaner, more modern feel to the shop and the results have been terrific. It goes against my religion to subject wine to full-glare light but the finer stuff can still be preserved in a corner with spotlights angled in the opposite direction.

Jim, Kent

A Am I the only one horrified by the trend towards bright lights in off-licences? It's so unprofessional. It's like a greengrocer installing central heating.

Graham, Guildford

Q I had a customer who was convinced that LBV port is superior to vintage. I can see why: it sounds more impressive. It pained me to put him straight and he took some convincing. Anyone else ever find themselves in a similar position, and how did you correct a misconception without appearing condescending and arrogant?

MB, London

Q I have (apparently) started saying "please enter your PIN" while I'm asleep. Am I working too hard?

Bill, Leicestershire




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Richard Hemming MW asks: what’s the next step for indies?

In the not-too-distant future, when all humans are born with inbuilt VR headsets and Trump is Supreme Commander of the Known Universe, how will students of wine look back on the present era of retail in the UK? And, in such a dystopian world, why would anyone care?

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