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News / 01/29/2017 / 929

DO YOU BUY A PIG IN A POKE?

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Alongside evident growth of wine consumption in Serbia, there are more and more options to buy preferred labels easily and conveniently. Until recently, the sole option were specialized wine stores and wine shops in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Niš. Over the last couple of years, online wine sales has boomed, so the pioneering Serbian online wine shops appeared and you could buy there some wine and have it delivered to your home. Wineries have also learned that it could be an effective way of selling and communicating with consumers.

These are all good news because it shows that gradually we are becoming a mature wine market ... and we continue to grow ...

Well, it's time to warn you about some phenomena that may occur also in developed wine markets of the Western hemisphere. Recently, a woman from Belgrade has purchased a winter jacket on internet. The product was paid by payment order, and a few days later, the woman was surprised to receive a parcel containing a pile of bricks and cardboard instead of desired jacket... Some of you would surely sneer: "What a naive fool" when she transfers money to a person and address that cannot be verified, without legal track record or data, expecting to execute sale order based on data announced on Facebook.

If this situation applies to wine, what do we get ?? The first thing that comes to mind is that instead of a desired wine, you receive something else. However, this is not the end of possibilities for "what if" scenarios. It is possible that Prokupac 2014 arrives instead of ordered Prokupac 2013... An unwanted vintage... But it may also be possible that nothing arrives...

Therefore, how to make the right choice? The best way to really get what you want is to buy wines through winery website or some trustworthy online store. When I say trustworthy, it means that website provides info about the company address, name and other data about the business entity which will in case of need enable you to search other info on the website of the Business Register Agency ... Then you can rightfully expect that you are dealing with a serious supplier that takes proper care of the wines and has adequate space for storage of wine (this feature cannot be ignored because you don't want to buy wine which is spoilt due to improper storage).

An alternative: Ad hoc online wine shops on social networks have become reality also in out country, so now we enter the realm of uncertainty. In case you get inadequate goods, Consumer Protection Law grants you 15 days to change your mind and return purchased goods to the seller. But if you don't know the seller, how can you return the goods or make a complaint... The profile on social networks does not contain the name of the seller or the name of the company that sells wine, there is no registered address where the seller operates... Profile photos clearly show that wine is sold from home (which fueled doubts about the adequacy of storage)... Even the prices are questionable: some wines cost less than if bought in the winery. Hmm, maybe so if you are avoiding paying tax ... The only contact with the seller is a message in the inbox or mobile phone. Do not be naive: a Facebook profile can be easily deleted (or changed). Also, changing a pre-paid mobile phone number is not complicated... Maybe you are fond of animals, but it is not advisable to buy a pig in a poke when doing online shopping.

All these lines might be wrong. Maybe it's all a figment of my imagination... But anyone planning to develop business in the wine trade seriously will not go this way. Not only does it seem unprofessional, but it also arouses suspicion. Wine is not a product like viagra, kamagra, smuggled proteins for bodybuilders or fake designer clothes which are sold massively on social networks. Therefore, my sincere advice to all wine lovers: don't rush and don't buy wine from untrustworthy source just owing to price difference of 100 to 200 dinars. Although, maybe you like to gamble ... Then, forget about this advice. Go ahead!



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Tomislav Ivanović

Awarded wine writer, wine critic and contributor to selected wine magazines. WSET3-certified author and editor-in-chief of www.vinopedia.rs. Member of Vojvodina Sommelier Association. Juror in national and international wine competitions. Lecturing about wines of Serbia and the Balkans. Local partner of Wine Mosaic organization. Co-founder of International Prokupac Day.

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