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Free bottle of fine wine hidden in small print of policy

A free bottle of fine wine has been claimed three months after a company sneaked the offer into the depths of its small print to test whether anyone actually reads it.

In February 2024 Tax Policy Associates decided to hide the offer of a free bottle of Pomerol wine inside the small print of the privacy policy on its website.

Three months later, someone has finally spotted the mention and taken the organisation up on its offer.

“We know nobody reads this, because we added it in February that we’d send a bottle of good wine to the first person to contact us, and it was only in May that we got a response,” reads a sentence in the organisation’s amended privacy policy.

The wine in question was a bottle of Château de Sales 2013/2014.

Currently available for £34.99 via Majestic, the Merlot-dominant blend is the Grand Vin of the largest wine estate in Pomerol, and has spent 18 months ageing in French oak. Of the total 90 hectares the wine estate owns, 47.6ha are under vine, with grapes harvested by hand and stored in concrete tanks before the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation.

Vincent Montigaud, CEO of Château de Sales, spent 23 years working for Baron Philippe de Rothschild, including 16 years heading up Domaine de Baronarques in Languedoc.

The 2023 vintage of the estate’s top wine was scored 92-94 points in the latest Pomerol en primeur campaign by db’s Bordeaux correspondent Colin Hay. His tasting notes describe the wine, which comprises 85% Merlot; 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc, as being “delicate and fresh, witth a lovely almost resinous Cabernet Franc note welling up aromatically as if to break the surface tension in the glass and also on the mid-palate.”

Hay called it “a fire hydrant of sapidity and freshness” and applauded the wine’s “impressively dense” character while losing “none of its cooler vineyard typicity.”

Château de Sales. Instagram @chateaudesalespomerol


Dan Neidle, head of the Tax Policy Association said the small print experiment was a “childish protest” against all businesses having to publish a privacy policy on their website, despite the fact that few people read them.

“Every tiny coffee shop has to have a privacy policy on their website, it’s crazy,” he said. “It’s money that’s being wasted.”

As for the person who claimed the bottle of wine, Neidle says they “kind of cheated” as the individual in question was in the process of writing their own privacy policy and had been trawling the web looking for examples.

According to Neidle, the winner emailed the organisation saying they assumed the bottle of wine was gone, but they were in fact the first to have spotted the mention.

Niedle revealed that the idea for the freebie mentioned in the small print was inspired by musicians Van Halen, who requested on every one of their riders that all brown M&Ms be removed from a bowl of sweets.

Rather than being diva behaviour, Van Halen used it as a test to check whether show organisers were reading the more important technical requirements the band needed for its performance.

“It was a brilliant strategy to see if people were paying attention,” Neidle said.


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