Today we have a guest post from Lisa over at Wine Telegraph to give us an education about wine. Hope you enjoy!
Experts in Food and Drink – Seven Reasons to Shop With Your Local Wine Merchants
The role of wine merchants is rarely confined just to providing an avenue for the purchase and consumption of wine. Modern wine merchants are about enabling the whole experience – from widening choice in wine buying to finding the foods and equipment that make the experience of enjoying fine eating and drinking complete.
There are plenty of reasons to shop with a local wine merchant – here are seven of the best.
Wine merchants offer expertise you can’t get in a supermarket. This is as much a function of the purpose of each establishment as it is of the specific knowledge of individual shop assistants. A wine merchant is there to give information and expertise in addition to product – while a supermarket is there simply to offer choice on a shelf.
While a supermarket wine department may aim to direct the customer using shelf tags, a merchant is there to deliver in depth recommendations after consultation and exploration.
No shop that sells lots of other things can hope to match the variety of wine and wine-related accoutrements in the merchant’s emporium. No supermarket, for example, can offer the range of independent alternatives in lower price brackets that the merchant provides.
3: Price Breaks
A wine merchant often sells wine by the case only – so the minimum purchase is usually either six or twelve bottles. In either case, there’s often a price break when bottles are purchased according to specific rules – for example, if six or more of the same wine is bought then the merchant may sell each bottle for less than if the case is made up of six different wines.
The merchant is usually happy to deliver, because he or she is selling wine by the case rather than by the bottle. Larger merchants usually have a weekly delivery day for individual towns or postal areas. In city areas, a merchant may even operate daily deliveries. As a result, it’s possible to go in and shop in person for large quantities of wine without having to worry about getting it all home again.
5: Complementary Food and Drink
The merchant is there to make the customer’s experience of good wine better. To this end, he or she may either directly sell, or facilitate the sale of, food that complements the wine in question. During specific seasons, these services often extend to the creation nor ordering of hampers; or the facilitation of ordering festive boards and festive meats, which will go well with the festive wines being sold.
A merchant may also directly sell a number of snack foods designed to complement his or her selections of wine. If a customer is having a party, he or she may therefore be able to offer all drinks and nibble scattering from under a single roof.
There’s a difference between expertise and information – expertise allows the customer to be guided directly to wines that will serve a required purpose, while information helps the customer to expand his or her palate through his or her own journey of discovery. Again, the merchant is much better placed to deliver this kind of information – which may range from simple inquiries about wines from specified regions of the world; to more complex requests for information about whether any animal products or animal related products have been used in the creation of each wine.
7: Wine Furniture
A merchant may also supply the wine furniture required for the storage and enjoyment of the wines he or she sells. Wine furniture isn’t just a wine rack or cabinet – the term also refers to bottle openers and serving receptacles.