UK taps gov’t wine cellar, selling vintage bottles funding boost

on 16/05/11 at 8:57 am


Government wine sell off urged

They master languages, cultures and the art of discretion — but Britain’s foreign ministry said Friday its diplomats must acquire a new skill: Wine speculation.

The department, which oversees government hospitality, said it won’t use public money to stock up its hefty wine cellar during the country’s four-year program of sharp spending cuts — but instead will seek to sell off some of its prized vintages to generate funds to buy new, cheaper stocks.

Used to provide refreshments at official receptions and events, the government wine cellar holds about 40,000 bottle of vintage wines — including the 2,500 pound ($4,000) per bottle Chateau Petrus 1978, and the 1,000 pound ($1,625) per bottle Chateau Latour 1955.

Foreign office minister Henry Bellingham said he had considered selling off the entire 100-year-old cellar under the country’s plans to make 81 billion pounds ($128 billion) of spending cuts through 2015, but instead believed clever sales of prized bottles could fund the entire system.

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