"Bewildered by talk of "blackcurrant top notes"? Baffled by "bouquets"? Unsure if "long legs" are a good thing in a glass of wine? Retailer Spar is claiming today that 64% of shoppers are intimidated by the labels on the back of wine bottles.
So what is it doing to help confused consumers get the perfect wine to complement Sunday's roast dinner? Relabelling the bottles with plain English versions? Offering definitions of common terms to buyers? Umm, no. It is slapping on labels written in "local dialects" – and yes they are as bad as they sound.
Fortunately, just one of its wines – a £4.99 Merlot – is getting the treatment. The descriptions have been "translated" into eight different local dialects, including geordie, Brummie and scouse.
So instead of a straightforward plain English description of what you might find when you pour yourself a glass, if you are in Somerset you get this: "Alright my luvver, eers one helluva Merlot. Be stinkin hummin a sivvies thar be bleddy ansome wi yaw croust or oggy. Purfect ta share wi yaw pardy as i' aiin ta eavy. Mygar be a purdy wine! Churs!"
While in Liverpool you are promised: "A totally boss bottle of Merlot which smells o' blackberry, choccie, a brew and toffees. Juicy and complex like, this bevey is top wi most scran 'specially me ma's scouse. Tellin ye, this is deffo a bevey that will leave youz and youz mates made up over yez Sayers pastie."
As well as being borderline unintelligible, the descriptions also include what might be considered baffling wine-speak, albeit with a regional accent. In Newcastle consumers are told the wine has "legs leik a thoroughbred", while in Scotland the label describes "a youngane's colour wi cherries an black fruit on the nose" – if you can't understand that in English, is it really any clearer now?
A spokeswoman for Spar denies the labels are patronising. "Local shopkeepers and suppliers came up with the dialect – it's not come from central office or from a computer," she insists. "We know that people don't really talk like this – we just wanted to make wine buying accessible and fun." She says the wine is genuinely on sale at 50 stores and could be rolled out if the reaction is favourable.
Spar's wine controller, Laura Jewell, adds: "Ultimately our wines will speak for themselves, but in the meantime it's time to speak people's language." Let's hope they don't have too many bottles in the cellar.
This is not the first time a company has tried to harness local accents to attract attention – earlier this year, ATM provider Bank Machine launched cockney cash machines. Fingers crossed it's the last."
Can anyone please get me a bottle of this hilarious vino?