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Independent wine merchants in the UK.
We have probably all come across premises in the UK which purport to be “wine merchants”, when really they are just shops selling sweets, dog chews and the odd bottle of plonk at 3 for £10.
That’s fine if you take it to a party where half of it may well be spilled anyway, or it might just pass as a drink in front of the TV after work, but that shop is just selling wine as just another of its lines, together with cigarettes and ping pong balls. The odds are that whoever is behind the counter will be unable to impart any knowledge to you about what he or she is selling you.
Your wine merchant will not only have shop front premises, but also a much larger area out of sight where he or she keeps the stock of various wines from around the world. And you will invariably find that this is an independent rather than one of a chain, or part of a supermarket outlet.
We could also add that though supermarkets often have a large range of wines and spirits, their product knowledge is often sadly lacking.
Now cutting to the chase, a wine merchant on the other hand knows his or her products completely. They not only know the wines they sell, but they may even have been to the region where the grapes are grown to produce said wine.
In addition to that, you will find that many wine merchants have visited the very vineyard where the wine is produced, and could well have discussed it’s provenance with the owner there.
And that, my friends, is one huge difference between a shop owner who happens to sell a few bottles of wine now and then, and a professional wine merchant who carries an enormous amount of knowledge in his or her head.