Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rugby World Cup Stupid Offer No. 2 - Italy

While having a great laugh at my expense and availing of my hasty 30% discount on all Australian wine after I got it spectacularly wrong on my prediction for the Australian match, many customers were already looking forward to the deal on the Italian match, so here it is:

10% of all Italian wine on Saturday and Sunday no matter what happens.

20% off Italian wine if we win on Sunday - remember we close at 6pm on Sunday!

If we beat the Paddy Power handicap and beat Italy by 12 points or more, the discount is increased to 30% on
Sunday only!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Grape Gripes doesn't put the boot in

A bunch of grape gripes was the name of an article in today's Irish times by Fiona Reddan. It set out to address a major gripe of all independent off-licences and wine shops - namely the so-called wine "promotions" now dominating the wine trade in Ireland.

Every week the newspapers are covered in ads and pullouts for all the major multiples advertising this weeks special offers. Top of the list is nearly always booze - beer, spirits and wine lead the advertising blitz every week. How that fits in with the trade's supposed self-regulation in relation to "sensible drinking" is a blog for another day, but the article today addresses what has always been my concern - are these promotions for real or do they artificially increase the price before then cutting it to half price - the price that truly reflects the quality of the wine on offer?? 

There are, no doubt, some genuine offers - Taittinger and Mount Pleasant are two that spring to mind. Who now would pay €50 for a bottle of Taittinger when it is on Tesco periodically at €25 - less than the wholesale cost from Taittinger's Irish agent? Who would pay €100 in a restaurant...? However, there are also a large amount of dubious-looking offers that make up the bulk of the sales. Someone told me last week that a Tesco manager said that 88% of his wine sales come from the 12-foot section which houses his promo wines. The rest of his wine section was just wallpaper. 

However, in most cases, the wines on promotion are unknown wines, only seen on shelves while on promotion. Are we really to believe that Chateau Neverheardofit Bordeaux Superieur was ever worth €19.99 and thus is an unmissable bargain at €9.99? Or is the supermarket making their normal margin at €9.99 and are using the €19.99 as a sales trick?

These are the questions the article asked, but never really answered. They got Lar Veale  of fame and Maureen O'Hara who used to work for Findlaters back when it was a proper wine importer before getting sucked into first Grants and then the even worse Woodford Bourne and they gave their opinion on the wines which generally backed up our suspicions that these wines are generally not worth the supposed full price. 

Somehow, however, we never really got to the crux of the matter - are the multiples conning their customers in many cases with their wine promos? Is it impossible to answer this question or are we not digging deep enough? I suspect the Irish Times would regard is a foolhardy to dig too deep into the darker recesses of major advertisers....

The article in today's paper certainly raised more questions than answers, but at least it asked the question - its a start! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

20% - or maybe 30% - off Australian wine this Saturday

I got up last Saturday AND Sunday morning (got a bit mixed up) at 7am to see the Ireland v USA in the Rugby World Cup, only to witness another turgid performance by Ireland at this particular competition. What is it about Ireland and Rugby World Cups? Are the other teams not English enough??  

In order to instil a bit of excitement, we are doing 20% OFF ALL AUSTRALIAN WINE this Saturday in the shop for one day only!

However, if Ireland win, we will do 10% off EVERYTHING and another 10% of the Aussie stuff to total a loss-making 30% discount on Australian wine.

It will surprise some of you to know that, despite this sudden rush of blood to the head, I will still be shouting for Ireland!

So, if Australia win, we still do 20% off Australian wine.
If Ireland win, we will do 30% off Australian wine and 10% off everything else – is that complicated enough?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Has Retail Changed Forever?

If you play your cards right in our shop, you can come in, get a free tasting of wine, buy a bottle on promotion at, say, €8, get a further 5% discount if you have a Dalkey Loyalty card and get a stamp on the high-tech-12-stamps-and-you-get-a-free-bottle On the Grapevine card.

And we would be would be very happy to see you!

We, like everyone else, has to keep working hard to get customers and keep customers and I have no problem with that. The question that has been rattling around in my cranium, though, is the question of value. Or, to be more specific, the perception of value.

I have spoken at tedious length about the bogus promotions in supermarkets where many (not all, but many) wines are discounted down to half price. The problem is, the discounted price is the true value of the wine and not the "normal RRP", at which the same wine never sells and, in many cases, is not even offered for sale. In the UK, over 80% of wine is sold on promotion  - anyone got stats on Ireland?

The other phenomenon are the Citydeals/Megadeals/Citymegasuperdeals and whatever you are having yourself. Now, you can think what you like about these, but they are growing exponentially at the moment in a retail environment which has about as much life as the average dodo. Some sectors seem to suit these deals particularly well. Personally, my skin is red raw from too many microdermabrasions, the enamel has been all but stripped from my teeth after so many teeth-whitening treatments and if I have any more eyelash extensions, I could be turned upside down to sweep the floor!

If you have some young wan standing around doing nothing when she could be giving someone a half-price Indian head massage in the hope that you will come back for a second one, I can see it makes sense. If you are lying on a beach in the Algarve and your hotel is being managed by NAMA and the only way to fill rooms is to do a half price deal, then it can be an attractive way of drumming up business.

From the punters point of view, you are getting a great deal, so why not? As I said, this sector is growing hugely and I'm all for it. What it does, though, is reinforce the habit of only buying stuff half price. People don't differentiate between a high margin service industry with lots of capacity available and just buying something in a shop. What do you mean you bought a bottle of wine at its full price? I got a weekend away in the Quality Hotel in Tullamore and I only paid half price!!

Am I being hopelessly naive and old-fashioned to think we can buy a nice product, apply a modest margin and sell it at a fair price? Are those days over?

Friday, September 2, 2011

September News

September Offers
Gregoris Soave Classico – RRP €13 – now €10
Many of you are already familiar with the excellent Pinot Grigio from Antonio Fattori, under the Gregoris label. Well, we have tasted his Soave a lot over the years and finally this year, we feel it is as good as its sister Pinot Grigio. Clean, fresh fruit, medium-bodied, soft but nicely balanced, this is excellent wine. Unfortunately, he sent it to us in the wrong bottle (it should be in a Burgundy shaped bottle), so we need to sell this wine before we ship the wine in its correct packaging. (The bottle is fine, but it looks too much like the Pinot Grigio). Come and taste and you won’t get a better white at this price.
Domaine La Prade Sauvignon Blanc – RRP €10 – now €8
Domaine La Prade make an excellent range of well-made varietal wines in the South of France. The Sauvignon Blanc has great freshness, crisp acidity and typical zingy, grassy Sauvignon fruit that has made this variety such a hit all over the world. Terrific stuff at a tenner, complete steal at this price.
Domaine La Prade Merlot – RRP €10 – now €8
Quite full-bodied, with round, plummy fruit, soft tannins and a nice finish. Perfect house wine and great value.
Contrade del Falco, Puglia – RRP €17 – now €14
Back by popular demand, this is a terrific blend of Negroamaro and Malvasia from the ‘heel’ of Italy. Full-bodied, voluptuous, smooth and harmonious, dark, brooding fruit and a long finish.
Wine Course
We would like to start a new wine course this September, so, if you would like to brush up on your wine tasting skills from all over the world or if you would just like an excuse for mid-week drinking, the call Carol on 01 2353054 to book your place. The attached doc has all the details….
Spanish Wine Tasting
We are delighted to have all these interesting new businesses open in Dalkey and we would like to support one of them by hosting a Spanish Wine tasting in the Dalkey Dispensary on Tuesday, September 20th at 7.30pm. Antonio from specialist Spanish wine importer Vinostito will be along to taste some of the great new wines coming out of Spain. We might even wangle a tapas or two out of the Dispensary. Cost will be €20 per head.