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After designing and selecting the wine offer, the sommelier or purchasing manager also bears responsibility for buying the serving and tasting tools (glasses, decanters, etc.) and the other products needed to prepare drinks (coffee, water, spirits, liqueurs…). These materials are all purchased through differing suppliers. What policy is pursued to do this? Is the purchase made directly through the winery, or through a retailer or distributor? Is it best to sign up for the mailing list of a winery? The acquisition of wines also includes differing options, such as buying wine en primeur, mixed cases, single distributor agreements, mailing lists, etc.
Whichever option you decide upon, it is always wise to choose the ideal supplier. In this chapter, our leading sommeliers all affirm that the overriding factor when purchasing a wine is its quality.
After selecting the best wine, it is vital that purchases are well managed. Lucas Payá, the sommelier who created the elBulli wine cellar and oversaw its management, will explain how to do this, examining order control, delivery notes, invoices, returns and payments.
The cellar inventory is fundamental when organising purchases, since it depicts the actual status of the wine cellar, the level of rotation and thereby enables calculations to be made that optimise purchases.