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So what makes us different?

Helping you along the way

OK, so with one week to go, I think it's time I let everyone in on what it is you might expect from Jaded Palates once we are open. There are definitely a few very important criteria I came up with when I thought about what kind of wine shop I wanted to visit myself:

1) Not just a place to buy wine
This actually touches on one of my main reasons for wanting to learn more about wine in the first place. It seems to me that most places where you buy wine kind of expect the buyer to know all there is to know about wine, and so just let you get on with it. Of course, many people know exactly what they like, and go straight for it. Others have no idea, and others still are actually pretty intimidated by where to even start when it comes to choosing.

So whilst I'm delighted to offer wine to the most choosy of connoisseurs (and I really think that there will still be some wines I have that you haven't come across yet..!), I'm really trying to encourage everyone to come in and learn, talk and generally immerse yourself in the world of wine which I love so much. To do this, I will be providing:

  • A place to sit and relax, or perch against a cool tasting table whilst we discuss what you're looking for. I'll even have coffee on hand if it's too early..!
  • Reading material aplenty - books and magazines old and new, as well as information cards with details about every single wine I stock.
  • Regular tasting sessions, and weekly late-night openings - to encourage those who can't make it during the day to come down after work.
  • I've tried to organise the store a little differently to most places too. The standard thing to do is to stock your wines by country. Well, frankly, that's not much of an indicator of what the wine is like. You only have to look at the huge difference between, say, a Sancerre and a Languedoc white to know that. So I'm trying to put wines together that make sense stylistically - big, fruity wines together, restrained, minerally wines together, and some that offer both together. There'll be labelling on the price tags to help you understand which is which.
  • And above all, simply a friendly ear and, hopefully, some useful advice!
2) A fresh approach to the wines themselves
I'm afraid I have a confession to make - I will not be stocking your favourite wine.

Or at least, I probably won't be. That's not a great way to start a business, perhaps, but when you consider just how many both amazing and rubbish wines there are in the world, it's really pretty difficult to represent even one thousandth of what is out there. And I certainly can't claim that I've tried them all and only bring the best to you! That's both cheesy and entirely impossible.

The exciting thing, though, is that I do know and love every wine on my shelves. Not all are going to blow your minds, there are plenty of every-day quaffers too, but there are lots and lots that I think are fantastic.

I've chosen wines for lots of reasons. Some are from regions or grape varieties that are not commonly found. Some are classics which just do what they do excellently. Some are from wineries that have an amazing story behind them. And some are from producers that I have met, spoken to, and sometimes worked with, so I know I can trust their work.

So, even if I haven't got that absolute favourite that you always get, come in, pick up an info card, read the price label, and, better yet, talk to me about what kind of wines you like. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to point you in a fun direction. Or maybe you'll convince me to go out and stock that wine after all..!

3) A flexible approach to learning
So I've mentioned learning a few times. I really am passionate about helping others to build their understanding of a frankly pretty impenetrable subject.

There are a lot of "experts" out there telling you what is good, what you should buy, and giving advice. It's not entirely helpful, because it's similar to the old "give a man a fish" problem… only really by trying things for yourself will you really begin to identify the difference, for example, between a "good" wine, and a wine you "like" – they're not always the same!

So I will be launching tasting classes, having fun with comparing wines from around the world, and getting in depth into how wine is made.

There'll also be a membership club, with the opportunity to pay in different amounts to get sent regular boxes of wine, or to save up for that special occasion. Members will also get access to exclusive events and talks. It will be really fun.

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Not all of these things will be in place right from the beginning - please do bear with me whilst everything gets up and running as it should. We'll get there!

Thank you for your attention - I can't wait to meet you all over the new few weeks and months. Do, as always, drop me a line if you have any thoughts or suggestions on anything, particularly on anything I've mentioned above.

Here's to next Saturday!