£2.99 wine: its death is greatly exaggerated

wine aisleThe £2.99 bottle of wine is still with us, just. And why are these low-priced bargains so rare? Because with excise duty now set at £1.90 a bottle, and VAT at 20%, supermarkets make just 5 to 10 pence profit on each one sold. So when each inch of shelf space has to maximise profits it’s easy to see why the £2.99-er is almost extinct. But Aldi and Tesco are keeping this price range alive – for the time being.

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Raining champagne for Father's Day

Dan GurneyIf you’re celebrating Father’s Day by going to Le Mans to watch the 24-hour motor race this weekend it’ll probably rain, rain champagne that is. Traditionally the winner’s bottle is sprayed into the crowd and we can thank the American racing driver, Dan Gurney, for starting it all in 1967.

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Classical wines

treble clefVines just love Vivaldi, it seems. Italian scientists have discovered his music helps grow healthier vines. Relayed from an iPod to vines through 15 speakers, Vivaldi's music was found to have a positive effect on shoot growth.

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English Wine Week

thermometerSunshine, not showers, is the forecast for the start of English Wine Week this Bank Holiday and Jubilee weekend. Which is good news for English winemakers and grape growers because the other 300 rainy days of the year make it just plain hard work getting grapes to ripen.

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Mayday! Wine offers in distress

man on mobile‘Mayday! Mayday!’ is the cry of this week’s supermarket shopper. No, they haven’t confused the date but are crying out in distress hunting for wine bargains. Because this pre Jubilee, Father’s Day and Wimbledon time slot has stifled the marketing men’s natural instincts to peg wine offers to national celebrations, outside temperatures or stereotypical drinking styles. But look closely within the disparate, and desperate, lot of supermarket wine offers and the odd tasty bargain can be found.

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How to win wine and influence people

wine rack fullWhen was the last time you didn't have to pay for your wine? Some ago I'll bet. Wine lovers often get given bottles of wine as presents but as these are usually something top-notch and expensive it doesn’t make financial sense to replace them using your own money. But there is a way of boosting the wine rack contents for free - entering competitions with wine prizes.

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Wines for a damp and drizzly May Day

soup in a cauldronIt’s going to be a warmish and damp Bank Holiday weekend according to The Met Office. But don’t let the dampness and lack of sun deter you from enjoying a picnic - a picnic with a difference that is. Instead of sipping light whites and rosés with your lettuce-filled sandwiches, why not get in a couple of cockle-warming reds and hearty whites for your May Day soup and sarnies.

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Tesco Simply wine range review

Tesco Simply wine labelNot expensive, not unpleasant and not sophisticated – that’s what Tesco’s Simply wine range is all about. Launched in August 2011 with ‘clear and recognisable labelling’ in response to customer intimidation to the ‘wall of wine that greets them in the wine aisle’, the range has proved a success according to James Griswood, Tesco Product Development Manager, despite having almost no publicity and no in-store aisle promotion.

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Tasting time for April offers

man with umbrellaIf April's supermarket wine offers have inspired you to organise your own wine tasting at home, then why not use my free wine tasting sheet to record where you bought it and for how much plus what the bottle label says so that if you like the wine you’ll have a good chance of finding exactly the same, or a similar type, again.

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Wine for chocolate Easter eggs

Septima MalbecWine isn't a natural match to chocolate. Its mouth-coating intenseness can overwhelm many wines. And choose unwisely and both wine and chocolate will clash leaving behind an unpleasant metallic taste. But there are wines that harmonise wonderfully with both dark and milk chocolate.

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