Government spend on Champagne soars

27th January, 2014 by Lucy Shaw

The government bought nearly four times as much Champagne last year compared to 2012, documents have revealed.

As reported by The Guardian, according to papers disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act, Whitehall ordered 204 bottles of Champagne last year as opposed to just 53 in 2012.

Among the fizz requested were two bottles of Louis Roederer 2000, while 50 orders were put in for Heidsieck Heritage Brut at £30 each.

Government spend on sparkling wine also soared, with 2013 orders tripling to 1,236 bottles compared to 360 in 2012.

The revelation comes in stark contrast to the 2009 ban the Conservative party imposed on senior party figures drinking Champagne in the runup to the general election.

“Rather than popping Champagne corks with their chums, David Cameron and his ministers should get down to business and tackle the cost of living crisis,” shadow cabinet office minister, Jon Ashworth, told The Guardian.

In total £65,623 was spent on wine last year – compared with £55,679 the year before.

To help foot the Champagne bill, last March the government sold around £63,300 worth of vintage wine from its cellar through Christie’s.

After the election in May 2010, the Coalition government ordered a reform of the cellar which recommended that the government sell some of its more expensive bottles to help pay for future purchases.

Wine is used at government receptions and dinners an average of 200 times a year with wines selected depending on the nature of the event and the seniority of the guests.

Located beneath Lancaster House, Whitehall’s cellar stores some 36,527 bottles of wine and spirits.

Among the more prized bottles are a 1961 Château Margaux, which former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher described as “silky” during a lunch in September 1989.

3 Responses to “Government spend on Champagne soars”

  1. David Murphy says:

    Not sure the number of bottles and total amount spent on Champagne quite adds up – £65,623 on 204 bottles = £321 per bottle. Should this be cases??

  2. Robin Lane says:

    Dear Sir,

    While it is interesting to know that the government is spending 4 times as much on champagne as it did in the previous year it would be more interesting to know how much English Sparkling wine they are buying to help promote our own industry.

    Yours faithfully,

    Robin Lane
    Hattingely Valley Wines

  3. Tony Mason says:

    The figures look relatively modest; £30/bottle for the Heidsieck seems quite reasonable, and you shouldn’t expect a huge discount for that quantity. As for Labour bleating about the Government spend, may we see the figures for the previous decade?

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