the forum

23 March, 2007

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


Q Is there a patron saint of off-licences?

A Yes there is - St Amand. From my research I can tell you that he was an evangelical monk who was born in 584 and died in 679. He spent a lot of time in wine and beer-producing regions of France, Germany and Flanders, often getting beaten up for his efforts (a bit like some of our off-trade colleagues, I'm sorry to say). He's the patron saint of wine merchants, winemakers, hoteliers, bar staff and boy scouts.

Henry, Chelmsford

A Greavsie?

Alan, Hornchurch

A It would have to be Santa Rita or St Omer, surely!

Bob, Coventry

Q Does the process of growing, vinifying, bottling and distributing wine contribute to carbon dioxide emissions? If so, by how much?

A All of those activities contribute to carbon emissions and even organic and biodynamic wines will take their toll, in some way, on the environment. So far I've only tracked down one producer which can claim to be carbon-neutral but, since


based in New Zealand, I suspect the C02 generated by the freight may cancel out some of the benefits. Grove Mill makes Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir in an environmentally sensitive way and also invests in habitat restoration and recycling initiatives.

Mary, Berks

Q There's a restaurant that doesn't price up its menu but asks diners to pay what they think the meal was worth. Might this system work in the wine trade?

FJ, Bath


Is it ethical to sell booze to alcoholics?

Vincent, Dudley


How can I make my business more environmentally friendly without spending anything?

Ann, Southampton

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All across England and Wales, vineyards are being harvested. Down winding country lanes come armies of welly-wearing conscripts wielding secateurs and buckets, ready to reap the rewards of our vines. Happily they come, their cheeks ruddy with pride. Half an hour later they’re crawling over muddy clods with lacerated hands, drenched in claggy juice and cold sweat, as if ploughing through an endurance race.

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Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

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