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Published:  05 October, 2007

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Q I get quite a few smart wooden boxes with wine deliveries. Is it OK to sell these to customers or should I really be offering them for nothing when people buy the wines they originally contained?

A Personally I save the boxes and recycle them as shelving. Fix them to the wall in a grid pattern and they are strong enough to make an attractive display. I don't charge listing fees, but it's gratifying to reflect on the fact that my suppliers are funding the cost of my storage!

James, Lanarkshire

A You can do both. Restrict the free boxes to expensive wines and sell the rest for a pound or two a throw.

Amy, Herts

Q A rival is sending staff into my shop to buy large amounts of wine I have on promotion, only to re-sell it for 50p or £1 a bottle more. Should I refuse to serve them?

A You fool! Can't you tell your wines are too cheap? If your rival can achieve a higher price, why can't you?

FG, London

A If you stop serving me all I'll do is come back in disguise.


Q Is it immoral to sell kids' sweets in an off-licence? I don't sell any convenience products, by the way.

LTH, Brighton

Q I want to do an Armagnac tasting in store. Am I likely to have trouble convincing customers they only need to nose the product, not gulp it back? Note: I currently possess just one mop and one bucket.

Keith, Wilts

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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