the forum

25 July, 2008

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


Q There are plenty of "man walks into a pub"-type jokes. Anyone got any for off-licences?

A A duck walks in

asks for

whisky. The assistant says to the duck: "That will be £12.50, please." The duck replies: "Put it on my bill."

Jon, Amersham

A A teacher is receiving presents on her birthday. Closing her eyes, she holds up a bag given to her by the florist's son: it contains flowers. She holds up another presented by the newsagent's son: it's chocolates. The off-licence owner's son presents his bag and she holds it aloft. It drips and she tastes the liquid. Is it wine? "No, miss." Is it Champagne? "No, miss." The teacher gives up. What is the mysterious gift in the bag, then? "A puppy," replies the boy.

Andy, Kent

Q A colleague is writing tasting notes, such as "great with a box of chocs" or "try this with curry", for wines that couldn't possibly go with that kind of food. Do I crush her spirit or let the notes stay put?

A If a member of your team seriously thinks she's found a wine that works with chocolates she's either a genius or an idiot. The chances are she's an idiot. As for curry, there's a vast difference between a red-hot Madras, a creamy korma and an aromatic Goan dish, rendering the term almost meaningless.

CH, Birmingham

A Wine and food matches are subjective. There are no rights or wrongs. If you lecture this poor woman about her own tastes you're implying that your notions of what wines go with what foods are inherently more valid than hers. That would make you a bully and, as you say, it would crush her spirit. Cherish proactive staff .

Haff, London

Q "Wine and beer and you'll be queer; beer and wine and you'll be fine." Any scientific truth?

May, Hampshire

Q A customer makes half-decent home brew and reckons I could sell it. Is this a good business opportunity or a stupid idea?

Craig, South Wales

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Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

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