As I wandered across a number of independent wine stores recently I was struck by the quality and depth of their wine selections. Every one of them offered excellent value and service, free car parking and expert advice. Despite all of these there is no guarantee that they can survive the extraordinary competition they face from supermarkets who lead on price - and very little else. (I wait with bated breath to see whether below cost selling is in some way brought under control.)
|The Silver Granite in Palmerstown, Dublin. A true classic.|
Wine Trade Number 2 : Wine and customer come first
I hope that both of these survive simply because Wine Trade Number 1 is not going to go away!
Number 2 is the independent trade with a few on-line stores thrown in. I have nothing against on-line and can strongly recommend www.WineOnline.ie, www.curiouswines.ie and www.rednosewines.ie and www.simplywines.ie and many others. They do, however,lack the one ingredient that separates 'commodity buying' from 'wine buying' - people!
|Nice to see an old pal back again - Cousino Macul Antiguas Reservas from Chile|
The second customer type wants all of this and more. He/she wants to know what is being bought, wants to be educated either by the wine, the wine trade or both, appreciates a wide selection of wine types to choose from and understands that style in a wine means a lot more than discriminating according to grape type and climate. These customers are the future for the independent wine trade of Ireland and to be honest have often been allowed to wander away to the local multiple grocer's wine shelves far too easily.
Christmas is here. Grab a bottle of wine from wherever but if you want to go back and have a word or two about what you've bought, and maybe move around and explore your palate and it's unique relationship to the world of wine, then it must be with a wine store where people work, where people can talk back to you with energy, enthusiasm and knowledge, and above all where these same people have actually chosen the wines they are selling!!
|Vesevo Greco di Tufa beside Franz Haas - brilliant|
Last night at the Athletics Club here in Celbridge I was encouraged by the number of athletes who were asking me for advice as to what to buy over the next few days. Queries ranged from Red Sparkling to up market Sauvignon Blanc (€20+), across to sparkling (other than Prosecco! try Champagne?.....) and away with the fairies (or into the future?) as someone wants to find some new Chinese labels this side of Christmas. Try a Cabernet Gernischt or is that here yet? Must drop down to my local and find out.........
|The Gaffer - now I know I'm in the right store!|