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Published:  24 April, 2009

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


Q I want to brighten up my website with pictures of my wines and spirits, and the shop itself. How much should

I spend on a digital camera?

A I spent £500 on my Canon and very lovely it is too - and

easy to upload pictures to my computer and website. But it hasn't turned me into a professional photographer. For half that money, perhaps even less, you could get a local pro to


classy shots of your shop , its products and staff.

Chas, London SE2

A For bottle shots you're normally better off getting hold of decent JPEGs from suppliers - they might

give you


of winemakers, vineyards and so on. For general label close-ups, any half-decent digital camera will do the job, but try

to shoot in natural light -

flash can obliterate text and looks a bit amateurish.

Gordon, Bath

Q How come


specialis ing in cheap cider, pornography and toilet rolls are allowed to have signs

saying "wine merchant"?

A There's a shop near me which is supposedly a newsagent, wine merchant AND delicatessen. It certainly sells newspapers, but its processed ham

doesn't constitute a deli range and neither do the cheap Foster's and Echo Falls suggest true wine specialism. But the guy is technically a merchant, and he

sells wine. Hence he's a wine merchant.

Mary, Salford

A I think it's time this term was protected

and enforced by Trading Standards. Wine merchants should be people who achieve the majority of their turnover from wine sales and are allowed to display some sort of badge . Perhaps this could even be a first step to creating a national guild or trade association .

Sandy, West Sussex


How I can make it easier for customers to identify "serious" rosť wines from the ridiculous, sweeter styles that

many people seem to like?

DF, Cambridgeshire

Q I'm

closed on Sundays and I'm thinking about closing on Mondays and Tuesdays , which are quiet days. Is three days a week too much?

Dave, Gloucestershire

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Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

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