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Innovation Of the Year

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“With constant pressure on the off-trade to sell responsibly, retailers are racking their brains about how to do more to match food and wine within the limits of a shop – a Chesterfield’s Barrels & Bottles has found a truly innovative way of doing that.

The wine merchant has incorporated a School of Food, Wine and Dining into its premises. Coghlans Cookery School runs course taught by a qualified Master Chef, which educate pupils about which wines to match their food with, as well as encouraging them to use better wines in the cooking itself.

Thanks to the in-house kitchen, Barrels & Bottles has been able to hold more wine events, with representatives from Louis Roederer, Gosset, New Zealand’s Highfield and Germany’s Wg von Schleinitz hosting dinners, and vertical tastings of Chateau de Pez and Haut-Beausejour, among others.

The kitchens are also used to produce hand-made chocolates for Barrels & Bottles Champagne and truffles gift boxes.

The retailer hosts tailored private wine tastings for 16-40 people, which can now be accompanied by anything from nibbles to lobster and salmon platters.

Barrels & Bottles also use the kitchen as a demonstration theatre, where up to 35 guests can watch a meal being coked, usually followed by a supper in the store’s tasting room, with recipes and hints to take away.

Judges were impressed by a concept that seemed really unique”

Drinks Retailer Awards 2008

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