the forum

08 January, 2010

Q Is it possible, as one of my customers claims, to be allergic to South African wine???A Far more likely that your customer has an intolerance towards sulphites. They may well have experienced an allergic reaction to wines which are rather overdosed with sulphur (used to kill off wild yeasts prior to fermentation and to prevent the finished product from oxidation). Because the wine in question happened to be South African, they’ve blamed the entire country for their discomfort.

KH, Kent??A We’ve expanded our organic range and if we ever hear of a customer who’s reacted badly to wine in the past, we direct them to that section of the shop. It’s possible to have problems with wines which are particularly acidic, or have too many added nasties, but it’s nonsense to claim to be allergic to the wines of a certain country.

Greg, Bucks??Q How can I persuade customers that drinking Champagne? is nothing to be embarrassed or self-conscious about, even in a recession???A Every time he finds a newspaper article which suggests the recession is petering out, my partner sellotapes it to the side of our Champagne fixture.

The cuttings have raised a few smiles and, I’m pretty sure, ensured Champagne has moved a bit better than it would otherwise have done.

Charles, West Sussex??A I have made a point of highlighting how cheap our grande marques are in comparison with the prices charged in some local restaurants – in some cases it’s £40 or £50. I also suggest some food?-matching ideas, to emphasise th?at you can eat and drink at home for a fraction of the price of going out?.

Hilary, London??Q Wh?ich wines go with chocolate??Susie, Herts??Q I’ve found some rude comments about my shop (masquerading as “reviews”) on a Google search. How can I remove them??John,Manchester

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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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