the forum
Published:  05 October, 2007

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


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 thatmy 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

Site Search


Talking terroir

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.

Click for more »
Upcoming events


Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know