UK university spends £3m on wine22nd January, 2014 by Lauren May
Cambridge University spent nearly £3m on wine last year, according to a recent freedom of information request.
The figures, obtained by a former student and published by The Daily Telegraph, revealed the extent to which the university splashes out on its students at its regular functions and undergraduate dinners.
In three years the 800-year-old university’s 30 colleges spent a total of £7.9 million on wine, with just one college, Lucy Cavendish, refusing to provide figures.
A total of £2,691,676 was spent on wine in 2013, a decrease on the previous year when £2,720,840 was spent, equating to a wine spend of £443 per undergraduate.
Spending was highest at King’s College where £338,559 was spent on alcohol in the 2012/13 academic year.
However the university bosses said much of the wine is used sold on through the university’s catering and conference businesses, with only a small proportion drunk at students’ formal dinners and balls.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Keith Carne, bursar for King’s, said the college uses its cellars to store wine which is then sold on, with profits going to charities supported by the college.
He said: “Another significant part of the wine is used at events put on in the college for external groups or purchased by past and present members of the college.
“A very small part is purchased by the college for use at internal dinners.
“These dinners are for students and Fellows at different times of the year, to mark matriculation, admission as a Fellow or graduation for example.”
A spokeswoman for the university said colleges at the University of Cambridge run “substantial catering and conference businesses” and that expenditure on wine reflects this.
Fees at the prestigious university are now set at £27,000 for a three year degree.