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How to Nose a Good Wine Retailer


New The Know Your Wine SeriesALTHOUGH MALAYSIA MAY NOT have as much wine selection as compared to overseas, we are blessed with multiple wine purchasing channels such as online stores and wine club delivery. However, if you are like me, the sort who likes to see and hold the bottles before buying (typical woman, right? To date, I have not bought a single piece of clothing online :P) then do look out for good shops other than the labels when making your purchases.

Wine shop 1

What’s a Good Shop like?

A good shop:

  • Has clued-in staff who has plenty information at hand about the wines they retail.
  • Is cool (all the time….not just for 12 hours). Wines are delicate, they need to be treated with temperature consistency and they must not stay “uncool”.
  • Must not be too brightly lit. Too much light is not good for the wine storage in a long run.
  • Is prepared to advise you to buy a cheaper wine – there is no right or wrong, it is a matter of preference.
  • Holds regular wine tasting. Most will do it on a monthly basis or whenever the winemaker or wine representative is in town
  • Offers a mix of young and mature wines
  • Is well stocked and laid out


Whereas, a not so good shop:

  • Has uninformed staff – the staff is not well-versed in wines, most of the time they are there only as the cashier
  • Has wines standing upright on the shelves. If the wines are screw cap bottled, that is fine but the standing position would not be a good thing for cork-bottled wines in a long run. There are a number of wine shops that store their wines on a slight slant which is acceptable.
    Wines can also be bought online
    Wines can also be bought online
  • Has wines shelves that are gathering dust – a sign that wine movement might be slow
  • Only sells brand-names wines. I’m not a believer in points system for the wines and would not be keen on wine shops displaying the points. To me, the points indicate that the wines are well-received but I personally may not like it. Unless the wines bought is ultimately for sharing with a lot more people than my own consumption then I would put that into consideration. Especially, if it is for a particular food pairing, then the type of cuisine would be themain consideration.
  • Gives more space to beer or spirit or liquor
  • Has pushy staff who try to make you buy more expensive wines than you intend.

Most of all, keep in mind that it is best to stick to just one or two retailers. It is more personalised that way and you can let them know which wines you would like and which you are not so keen on. But having said that, for those who have yet to know what they like and don’t like, the best way is to keep trying, and attend more wine tasting! Cheers!line of pink and green heart

Trina is the founder of Wine Tasting Malaysia, an online based wine enthusiast group with weekly wine tasting events all around the Klang Valley. Often found with a wine glass in her hand, she truly believes life is so much more WINEderful with wines. She is currently on a quest to gather 1000 wine enthusiasts in Malaysia. Be part of her quest by joining Wine Tasting Malaysia via Wine Tasting Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) – Meetup or Facebook winetastingmalaysia She calls Subang Jaya her home and can be reached at

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