Selfridges not allowed to sell wine by the sip
While the government is busy promoting responsible drinking, Selfridges has fallen foul of the law by allowing customers to buy wine in measures that are legally considered to be too small.
When the department store opened its Wonder Bar earlier this year, it installed a wine ‘jukebox’ that gave customers the chance to buy a small tasting of some of the world’s finest wines in 25ml, 75ml and 125ml measures. This meant that shoppers got to the opportunity taste wines such as the superlative Petrus 1996 by spending £32 for a 25ml sip – a bottle of this would set you back some £950. But trading standards officers claimed Selfridges was breaking the law because licensed premises can only sell wine in either 125ml or 175ml measures.
Selfridges’ food and restaurants director Ewan Venters said, ‘We certainly didn’t set out to break the law, but it seems regulation has not kept pace with technology or with what people wish to learn about wine by tasting small sips.
‘We’re now jumping through some crazy hoops so we can comply with the law and still let our customers enjoy tasting wines in the Wonder Bar – it’s time to bring this bit of legislation into the 21st century.’ To this end, Selfridges will be campaigning to legalise the sale of tasting-size samples by calling on the government minister in charge of weights and measures legislation as well as trade organisations.
As Selfridges’ sommelier Dawn Davies puts it, it is ‘a crazy piece of legislation that needs changing’.