wine, alcohol, category, displayHaving an alcohol licence is a must for a convenience store and depending where your store is situated the category can be worth 20% of your turnover. As reported in the new look Retail Newsagent last week wine is becoming a more important element within the off licence category, but it come with a barrier. If you want to make the most of the opportunity you have to have some knowledge. Raj Aggarwal says:

‘I have taken a course in fine wines because we sell good quality wines which can cost £30 a bottle. Customers don’t mind spending a lot of money on wine if they know what they are buying is good quality. An added awareness helps to sell products.’

To improve my knowledge I belong to a local wine club. At most meetings there is a guest presenter who guides members though different aspects of wine, some have been about specific grapes, others take us through different countries or regions. A recent speaker gave an introduction to wines that are tasted and judged at competitions such as the International Wine Challenge. We have also touched on port and the other fortified wines at a couple of meetings.

While on our recent holiday to the Douro valley we visited a couple of vineyards to taste their produce. At one of them the owner gave us a very impressive demonstration of pride and passion. First she showed us the Port Region Demarcation marker that was placed in the vineyard in 1760. Then we were taken into the vinery and shown where the grapes are still trodden by foot followed by the oak vats and barrels as well as a modern bottling machine. Finally we were offered a tasting of some really great wine. The vineyard owner took us through 7 ports, discussing the features of each with great passion and knowledge; a tremendous experience.

The lesson I took way, apart from a taste for 30-year-old port, was that if you have a great story to tell, tell it with both pride & passion and show that you have great knowledge.