26 January, 2007

What do you do if you suspect a customer has a drink problem?

"It depends on the individual case, but we're in a rural area and you don't get people buying spirits and making trouble on the high street. There was that case a few years ago when a guy died and all three wine merchants at his funeral thought he was their best customer ."

Nick Underwood

Underwood's Wine Choice, Kenilworth, Warwickshire

"We've only ever had one person that we were aware of that had a problem. Our police issue mugshots of people who are banned which is very useful . I don't feel in a position to tell people if they should or shouldn't buy drink."

Richard Mathews

Sommelier Wine Company, Guernsey

"If a customer is visibly drunk we would refuse to serve them , but it only happens occasionally. We're a little off-licence and we know most of our customers so it would be fairly easy to detect if someone had a problem."

Sam Atkins

Stanpit Wine Merchant, Dorset

"We specialise in fine wines. We don't sell beer and spirits so we don't seem to come across customers that have a drink problem in the same way that a high street shop might."

Gillian Butler

Butler's Wine Cellar, Brighton

" It doesn't happen that often, but if it did I would like to think I could broach the subject with them and offer help."

Mohemmed Yaqub

Villa, Oldham, Lancashire

"I would serve them because you can't assess every individual customer, there just isn't time. But if they got aggressive I wouldn't sell them drink ."

Jan Brookes

Time For Drinks, Longport, Stoke-on-Trent

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English wine: a happy harvest for Christmas

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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