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Published:  05 October, 2007

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Q I get quite a few smart wooden boxes with wine deliveries. Is it OK to sell these to customers or should I really be offering them for nothing when people buy the wines they originally contained?

A Personally I save the boxes and recycle them as shelving. Fix them to the wall in a grid pattern and they are strong enough to make an attractive display. I don't charge listing fees, but it's gratifying to reflect on the fact that my suppliers are funding the cost of my storage!

James, Lanarkshire

A You can do both. Restrict the free boxes to expensive wines and sell the rest for a pound or two a throw.

Amy, Herts

Q A rival is sending staff into my shop to buy large amounts of wine I have on promotion, only to re-sell it for 50p or £1 a bottle more. Should I refuse to serve them?

A You fool! Can't you tell your wines are too cheap? If your rival can achieve a higher price, why can't you?

FG, London

A If you stop serving me all I'll do is come back in disguise.


Q Is it immoral to sell kids' sweets in an off-licence? I don't sell any convenience products, by the way.

LTH, Brighton

Q I want to do an Armagnac tasting in store. Am I likely to have trouble convincing customers they only need to nose the product, not gulp it back? Note: I currently possess just one mop and one bucket.

Keith, Wilts

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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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