Reading, 27

You are going to read a list of tips on how to shop for wine. Choose the most suitable sentence from the list A – I for each part 1 – 7 of the article. There is one extra sentence which you do not need to use. There is an example at the beginning (0).

A Be alert for the ‘alternative choice’ script.

B Decide your price-per-bottle before entering the wine shop.

C What to do if you are still in the dark.

D Don’t buy a bottle of wine you are not familiar with.

E Tell the salesperson exactly why you’re buying the wine.

F Give the salesperson the credibility test.

G Talk about wines you know personally to be good.

H Continue being precise in your requests.

I  Forgetting all you know.

How to Shop for Wine

0:  I I

Buying wine in a liquor shop nowadays can be a confusing and embarrassing task. A friend of mine recently told me that he goes blank whenever salespeople in liquor shops approach him and ask, ‘Is there a particular wine you’re looking for?’ Everything he thinks he has learned about wine suddenly sprouts wings and flies away. My solution is to learn a few strategies on how to deal with a retail wine salesperson.

1: _____

I’m willing to spend up to $10 a bottle and I need six bottles. So my spending limit is around $65, including tax.” Be firm and clear about the money you intend to spend by establishing it early on so the retailer will know what price range to work with when offering suggestions.

2: _____ 

It may be either for dinner at a friend’s house, a gift for your cousin who just got married, or, for your wedding anniversary. By quickly revealing your reason for buying the wine, you move the focus from price to the general wine category. Sparkling wine is suitable for both an anniversary gift and a wedding present. How about dinner with friends? A red or a dry white may do.

3: _____ 

Whether they are white, red or sparkling, don’t wait for the salesperson to ask you which wines you like. Say something like, “I’ve always liked Robert Mandavi’s Cabemet Sauvignon. Do you have the most recent vintage of if? What’s the price?” By initiating this step yourself, you tell the salesperson, one, that you’re in the hunt for red wine, and two, that you have experienced good wine from California. More importantly, by making a specific request, you’re staying in control at a point where the advantage can swing to the store’s side. If the particular wine you asked for is in stock and within your price range, the deal’s done.

4: _____

If they don’t have the wine you asked for in your price range, you are likely to be asked about alternatives. “We don’t currently have the Mondavi, but have you tried the Blankitee-Blank Vineyards or the Whatsit Winery Cabemets?” the salesperson may reply, thinking that you haven’t tasted them. “Every bit as good as the Mondavi.” Momentary pause, usually accompanied by thoughtful expression. “At roughly the same price, only $3 more per bottle. ”

5: _____ 

In the event that the merchant doesn’t have three similar wines from California in the Cabernet category, ask him or her to suggest three comparable wines from another country or region where Cabernet Sauvignon is produced (just about everywhere today) – say, France, Chile or Australia. Maintain the focus on what you originally wanted as much as possible, in terms of either wine type, region or country, price, or familiarity.

6: _____ 

At this stage, you want to keep requesting information. When you have the alternative wines in front of you, if you have not previously tasted them, press the salesperson to tell you which consumer magazines have rated them and how they did. Unfortunately, I know first hand the widespread lack of genuine wine knowledge among retailers; an authoritative second opinion protects your investment.

7: _____

If you don’t have the necessary knowledge or experience, choose the one that’s in the middle of your price range or the one closest to your original choice, first by producer, then by grape type, and lastly, by region or country of origin. Never buy more than one bottle of any unfamiliar wine, just in case it fails to fulfil your expectations. Last but not least, never ever be talked into purchasing a 12-bottle case of wine that’s unknown to you, no matter how attractive the case price. You’ll often find out the hard way from whose point of view it’s so spectacular.

Check your answers here 

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