Independent off-licence Corks Out is to introduce licensed bars to more of its stores so consumers can try wines before they buy.

Having tested the format at its Alderley Edge store, it is now adding seating areas and self-service wine vending machines to three of its four other stores its Chester store this month and its Stockton Heath and Altrincham stores by this Christmas.

Corks Out is believed to be the first off-licence to use the machines in conjunction with dedicated seating ­areas, which require an ­on-trade licence.

Consumers simply had to pre-load charge cards and select the type and amount of wine they wanted to sample, said managing director Ruth Yates. "We are not charging bar prices you can buy a shot of wine for as little as 30p."

The key was to encourage them to try something different, she said. "We are not trying to make lots of profit out of sampling it's about wine education. The scheme gives us a very important point of difference with the mults."

The scheme would help the chain to return to profit by the end of 2010, she predicted.