the forum

20 April, 2007

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Q We had a small flood and some bottles and cans of beer and wine were floating in the water for several hours. I know I'm not supposed to sell them - but would it be dangerous for me to drink them?

A Any bottle sealed with a cork or crown cap should be thrown away if exposed to flood water. As for cans, as long as they are still the right shape and haven't taken on a bloated appearance, they should be OK. Clean them in a little bleach solution before taking the plunge, but above all do not try to foist flood-damaged stock on your customers!

Anne, Cambs

A Harveys of Lewes has been in this position twice to my certain knowledge and although the townsfolk were quite excited about seeing bottles of their favourite beer floating along the street, only a fool would be reckless enough to drink one.

Michael, East Sussex

Q What's more irresponsible - leaving some of my lights on overnight and adding unwanted carbon into the atmosphere, or turning them off and encouraging burglars?

A Leaving lights on overnight uses enough energy to boil water for 1,000 cups of coffee. Not leaving them on makes your shop doubly attractive to criminals (and you could even argue it suggests to passing motorists that you've gone out of business). If you use energy-efficient bulbs and are judicious about how many you leave on, I say: let there be light!

Anne, Cambs

A Turn them off. They do absolutely nothing except waste energy and contribute to carbon emissions.

SH, Essex

Q Anyone got any tips for keeping a

shop that's not air-conditioned

cool this summer? Before you ask: I can't afford air-conditioning.

Tony, Staffs

Q What happened to Romanian Pinot Noir?

Dave, London

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I was asked recently what I thought the biggest change had been in wine fashion in the past five years. My answer was unequivocal: sales of pink wines. From being a niche that expanded and contracted with the sunshine, rosé has subtly but steadily become a stalwart of many merchants’ ranges, with Provence firmly at the top and asked for by name.

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