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21 September, 2007

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Q I seem to have over-ordered rosé - does anyone know if you can mull it? Yes, I am desperate for a marketing hook for unsold stock!

A You certainly can mull it, just as with white wine. I sometimes follow a French recipe for vin cuit which involves white wine, sugar, cinnamon and oranges. These days I tend to mull more cider than wine - not that there's any oversupply of that at the moment!

Hayley, Uxbridge

A Why resort to gimmicks? Rosé wine sales aren't going to collapse. Mulled wine would be an inexcusable waste of a great product.

Graham, Notts

Q If I refuse to sell the bland, mass-produced ciders that dominate the market and only offer authentic, decent-tasting stuff from the best producers in England and Wales, will sales and/or profitability increase or will I be cutting off my nose to spite my face?

A I know of a specialist cider retailer in Firle, East Sussex, that only sells specialist and craft ciders and draws an enthusiastic clientele from miles around. Could they do the same thing in the high street? I doubt it. By all means stock some interesting craft ciders, but in the current climate you'd be masochistic to abandon Magners, Strongbow et al.

FG, Hastings

A I would put "real" cider in the same category as "real" ale. Both are interesting niches with some great products but no substitute, in terms of profit potential, for the big mass-produced brands. Sad, but a fact of life.

Jack, Lincs

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?

Ben, Yorks

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?

IL, Devon

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