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Reorganizing the Wine Shop - Share Your Thoughts on How Wine Should be Displayed
Copyright 2004 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved. Originally printed September 6, 2004. For more information go to

Finding your way around a large wine shop can be daunting, and not just to novices. Even the most seasoned wine expert may be stymied for a while upon entering a new shop and trying to locate the Austrian Gruner Veltliners or the Argentine Malbecs...or just to track down a good ingredient and sipping companion for Saturday evening's coq au vin.

Perhaps the majority of wine shops simply sort their wines on shelves identified by the country or region of origin (or in the case of the sleek, well-stocked Lavinia in Paris, rooms divided among countries and regions).

But it's not uncommon to find shops organized by grape variety, for instance, and that's not all. Sweden's Systembolaget government stores, I'm told, set up the shelves in order of price. And a few innovative retailers - including the New York-based Best Cellars stores and some British shops - organize their wares by flavor, sorting sweet, soft, fruity and dry wines into separate sections to point consumers toward styles of wine they'll be likely to prefer.

Has the traditional country-and-region organization become dominant because it's objectively best? Or might one of the alternatives serve wine lovers better? In this week's Wine Lovers' Voting Booth, we offer you the opportunity to tell the wine merchants of the world just how you would like to see them organize the wine shop.

For purposes of the survey, the list of choices asks you to focus on the primary organization: In other words, a vote for "country or region" doesn't preclude the merchant organizing wines by color and alphabetically within each country or regional section.

Thanks to Peter May, the genial host of and the delightful, for suggesting this idea and providing information about British stores that organize wines by flavor profile. Thanks also go to the usual crowd of volunteer advisors for helping to refine it. As always, this is a lighthearted poll without any scientific value, presented simply to inspire discussion and for the fun of seeing how your answers compare with those of other wine lovers around the world. Once you have cast your ballot, the software will immediately add your entry to the list so you can compare your response to those from other wine lovers around the world.

Go directly to the ONLINE BALLOT FORM

Go directly to VOTING RESULTS


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