I should admit at this point that I’m from Scotland and am, therefore, familiar with ‘value for money’ (read stinginess.) OK, I’ll come clean, I’m actually from Aberdeenshire – Scottish people make jokes about how miserly we are –
What does wine cost?
How much does it cost?
so I’m well qualified on this subject. In other words, I like to know where my money’s going when I part with it. But don’t confuse carefulness with money and being cheap – being cheap, as you’ll see, doesn’t get anyone very far.

I’ve read many times that the average spent on a bottle of wine in the UK is £4.00 (now, that’s cheap.) But what do you get for your money and if that’s all you spend; are you better off just buying a few cans of lager instead?

Every bottle of wine for sale in the UK attracts a certain number of fixed costs, but what are they? Each time you buy a bottle, £1.60 goes straight to the government in duty; you pay VAT on top of that and so on a £4 bottle the Chancellor gets another 60p. The wine has to be shipped into the UK, which will cost approximately 25p, the bottle, label and cork or screw-cap will cost a similar amount. In summary, to get it off the shelf, only £1.30 of what you pay contributes to the cost of the wine.
And that £1.30 gets shared! 
At the very least you’ll be paying the wine maker, the agent and the retailer. You may also be paying a separate grower, negotiants, wholesaler, distributor; there might even be a ‘marketing’ budget too. In any case I’d be amazed if at least half of the remaining £1.30 wasn’t paying someone. So all that’s left for producing the liquid in the bottle is 65p. 
What’s the response?

 Obviously you could drive to France and stock up on duty free wine and get more for your money. But a simpler, everyday solution is to pay more for the bottle you take home. If this seems at odds with my self confessed tight-fistedness then let me explain: the ‘fixed’ costs on a £5.00 bottle of wine will be £2.90 – only the VAT element having increased. This leaves £2.10 to be dolled out to everyone involved in making the wine, but importantly it means that you could be ‘spending’ nearly twice as much on the wine approx £1.05 as opposed to 65p. Spend £7 on a bottle of wine and guess what, as much as £2.00 goes on the wine.

In a nutshell, when you spend £5 on wine, you get twice the wine you get for £4; spend £7 and get double what you get for a fiver.  I’m sure there are flaws in this reasoning and exceptions to the rule, but I’d reckon four times out of five that you’d be making huge leaps in quality for modest increases in what you’re willing to pay.

But if you’re determined not to break the £4.00 threshold, what can you do? Probably best to grab a calculator and figure out if a 75cl bottle of wine at 13% abv will get you more drunk than a four pack of beer at 5%. Surely, when all you’re eventually spending on the wine is 65p, it can only be for one reason, and that’s more about getting drunk than about drinking.

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COPOUT Book by Nick Breeze

Climate change podcast

Last week a picture was posted on Twitter of vines in Shabo, a large estate that lies to the west of Odesa on southern Ukraine’s Black Sea coastline. The image seemed benign at face value but the reality, of course, is that the city of Odesa has been bracing itself for attack by Russian forces. 


As COVID-19 conspires with the grimmest of winds and rain to force a societal retreat behind our own front doors, the word ennui springs to mind. The muddle of displeasure is pierced when Natalia hands me a large bulbous glass of a liquid I do not recognise.



Britain’s lamentable exit

On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town on the Italian Riviera where thewintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.

I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the sanity valve if you like!


Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.


Tanisha Townsend decided to move to Paris 4 years ago after regularly passing through the city en route to the world’s most famous vineyards. In fact, it was about 2 years ago at the Printemps de Champagne Bouzy Rouge tasting in Reims that I saw (who we shall now refer to as) GirlMeetsGlass chirpily speaking to her web followers on Snapchat.


The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of Saint James, rises out of the landscape, infested with antiquity. The rambling steep streets give way to shafts of dramatic light, emblazoned chapels, and tightly packed tapas bars, dusty, as old novels pressed together in antiquarian bookshops.


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