Government to allow smaller drinks measures
The move will allow bars and restaurants the flexibility to offer sample measures of wine to their customers. Previously, wine could only be sold in measures of 125ml, 175ml and multiples of those measures.
Wine merchants wanting customers to pay for wine samples in smaller measures could only do so if they could persuade their local authority that they were running tasting events. This meant that shops like Decanter award-winning The Sampler in Islington, north London, which uses Enomatic machines to dispense samples as small as 10ml of a range of fine and ultra-fine wines, had complex hurdles to surmount to stay within the law. Selfridges, with its Wonder Bar, faced the same difficulties.
Following intense lobbying by the wine trade, the National Measures Office included the proposal in the Consultation on specified quantities – non pre-packages and food information, in October last year. Welcoming a move they had ‘long been arguing for’, Jeremy Beadles, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said, ‘This flexibility will give consumers the chance to sample small measures of the huge variety of wines out there, letting them broaden their knowledge and taste everything from the finest and rarest to the most innovative and experimental.’
Jamie Hutchinson, managing director of The Sampler, said he was ‘thrilled’ by the news. ‘It lessens the bureaucracy, it allows us to combine more food-related events with wine, and it enables us to be more creative about how and where we expand.’
Selfridges sommelier Dawn Davies said they were ‘delighted’ to see the government’s decision.
‘Since the Wonder Bar opened in 2007, Selfridges has led a lobby to support the sip, a tasting size of wine. ‘We believe it helps educate shoppers in the wonderful world of wine. We are looking forward to reintroducing the sip when this regulation becomes law.
NB. The proposed changes to the legislation have now been delayed until OCT 2010 – JL july 2010