Posts Tagged ‘wine’
While the idea of a booze cruise nowadays probably conjures up images of drunken teenagers on a shot-filled ‘cruise’ outside a Mediterranean party port, it is the old style booze cruise across the Channel, filling your boot with as much wine as you can carry, that seems to be making a comeback.
The strength of the pound against the Euro has combined with the vast gap in duty levied on wines to make a short trip to Calais an economically sound decision for some, particularly if you’re buying a lot, and figures from currency exchange firm Caxton FX show that cross-Channel spending is on the rise. They report a 14% rise in British buyers shopping at the French supermarket, Carrefour, compared with the same time last year, which means that now 56% more Britons are shopping at the chain than they were in 2013.
One reason is the duty levied on wine, and despite the Chancellor’s recent freezing of wine duty, UK consumers will pay around £2.05 per bottle in duty, that is then subject to VAT at 20%, before any of the headline price goes to either the retailer or the wine producer. While French duty is also subject to VAT at 20%, the duty rate is eight times lower at just 23p per bottle.
And, provided the wine is for personal consumption, no Customs duty on import is required, and this includes large purchases for weddings, events and parties. HMRC reportedly say people are “more likely to be asked questions” if bringing more than 90 litres (120 bottles) into the UK, but confirm that there are no limits as long as you don’t intend to sell the wine.
The other factor currently affecting the attractiveness of the booze cruise is the relative strength of the pound against the Euro. Besides thinking about stocking up on Euros ahead of a summer holiday, the exchange rate means that it’s now £11 cheaper to buy a €100 case of wine now than in April last year. Current rates mean €100 would cost you approximately £71 compared with £82 in April 2014 and £86 in April 2013.
But is the combined duty and exchange rate saving enough to make it worth your while? Traditional booze cruises don’t involve a lot of sightseeing, so do the numbers stack up? Part of the cost, of course, is going to be related to how far from the South coast you live- someone coming from Newcastle, for example, is going to have a considerably higher fuel cost to get to a UK ferry port than someone coming from Canterbury. You also need to add on the cost of the Channel crossing, and cheapest fares will normally be midweek, rather than at weekends.
However, some British-owned shops on the other side of La Manche will actually pay for your travel providing you buy sufficient wine. Calais Wine, for example, will currently book and pay for your Eurotunnel crossing (which normally costs from £69 return) if you pre-order £300 of wine. While £300 on wine might sound a lot, buying in bulk does have its advantages, and is especially useful if you’re planning a wedding or a party.
Craig Nelson from Calais Wine Superstore, said: “We have 10 wedding orders a day. On some premium wines you’re saving as much as £10 a bottle, just because of the tax and difference with the euro.”
Things haven’t been too bad for your pocket so far in 2015- with supermarket wars meaning they are almost paying you to buy milk, and fuel prices sliding back towards £1 a litre. Still, things can always get even better, and wouldn’t cheaper booze make this year worth celebrating even more?
Duty on wines, beer and spirits is normally a one-way street, with rates rising in successive Budgets, although in recent times, we have benefitted from duty freezes, meaning that prices haven’t gone up just to fill the Treasury coffers. However, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) want to go one step further, and have today met with Treasury officials to argue the case for a 2% reduction in tax on wines and spirits (they aren’t fussed about beer).
According to the WSTA, the UK wine and spirits industry is worth almost £45bn and delivers £14.5bn in tax revenue for the Treasury, as well as providing 600,000 jobs in the UK. The WSTA claims that a 2% reduction in tax on wine and spirits would generate a further £3 billion for the economy and £1.1bn in additional tax income. As well as making our favourite tipples just that little bit cheaper.
“Despite the fantastic contribution the UK wine and spirits industry makes to the Treasury, we have still faced a difficult climate in recent years,” commented Miles Beale, WSTA chief executive. “Sales and consumption in the UK has been in decline and the impact of seven years of the Alcohol Duty Escalator has taken its toll on producers and retailers, who have seen their margins squeeze and on consumers who have seen prices rise higher than inflation as a result.”
Of course, the mere fact of a submission does not guarantee, or even indicate that a cut in duty is on the cards for the Chancellor’s next Budget in March. However, this being election season, George could probably do with a couple of extra sweeteners to help persuade the electorate round to his way of thinking, so why not promise cheaper alcohol? Would it buy your vote?
British boozers are increasingly flashing their cash on higher priced wines, rather than the traditional ’8 for a tenner’ deals that we’re used to
The UK actually spends an average of £7 a bottle now, and overall look set to splash out £11 billion by 2018, turning the UK in the second biggest vino market after the states, barring any wine-based scandals
By then, wine consumption will reach 1.54billion bottles – the equivalent of 22.5 litres per head – according to a forecast by International Wine & Spirit Research for wine exhibition Vinexpo.
In some ‘no shit sherlock’ findings, they also noticed that wine sales were down during the recession.
Prosecco is the main driver in the wine explosion, with a 43% rise in its sales in recent years. Speaking about these spurious and wild claims, Vinexpo’s Guillaume Deglise said: “We can say confidently that 2015 will show that the UK wine recession is over.”
“While the UK market shed 9.6million cases between 2008 and 2013, it is now past its low point. The UK wine trade is building value and many leading marketers report progress at the premium end”.
White wine is the UK’s favourite, with 676.7 million bottles bottles expected to be drunk this year, rising to 698.7 million bottles by 2018. Spanish reds like the Rioja are becoming more popular, as drinkers turn their backs on French wines such as Bordeaux, and sales from regions such as Chile, Australia and South Africa have also slumped somewhat too.
So, that’s why you’ve been seeing all those ‘wine o’clock’ comments from functioning alcoholics on Facebook and Twitter.
In a direct attempt to wooooo middle class shoppers who would rather flagellate themselves with uncooked quinoa than set foot in a Lidl, the German budget supermarket is now offering fancy French wines alongside the off-brand dodgy cider and cans of beer with ‘BEER’ written on them.
Yes, Lidl is seriously stepping on the other supermarket’s toes here, offering wine from the Chateauneuf-de-Pape vineyards for much cheaper than anywhere else. Prices start from £4.99 for a cheeky white Cote de Gascogne (nothing to do with Gazza mercifully) to £21.99 for a 2006 Chateau La Tour.
Lidl are spending £12 million – the most they’ve ever spent – on this product launch, and are hoping to change the way the budget supermarket is seen by the middle classes – and lure them away from Waitrose.
Ben Hulme, senior buying manager for wines at Lidl, said: ‘Our choice offers extraordinary value for money for some of the best wines in the world. Our pricing is transparent and open, unlike a lot of the permanent ‘offers’ on the High Street.’
Of course, everyone knows that the middle classes secretly shop at Lidl anyway, buying up parmesan and Parma ham undercover of darkness while wearing joggy bottoms to hide their shameful privilege…
Good old Aldi. Not only are we all fans of their low prices (and the best supermarket ads on telly), they are now seeking to win the hearts of many more by seeking official wine tasters on Twitter.
The ten “aspiring wine connoisseurs” will receive two free bottles of wine, plus tasting notes, each month, and in return need to produce a measly 140 character review. And drink the wine, of course. Potential applicants have until June 2 to apply with a 150 word spiel and their Twitter name.
And if wine isn’t your bag, drinks retailer Oddbins are also out for public input. Oddbins already run an annual wine taster search and now, we kid you not, they are looking for beer testers. Consumers over the age of 18 who think they could possibly put themselves through the hardship of drinking beer on Oddbins’ behalf can apply for the role, which will go towards the decision making process of deciding choosing which UK ales to stock.
By tweeting @Oddbins and including #OddbinsBeer, you don’t have many characters left to convince the company why you are the best beer-swiller for the job, but if you’re interested, you have until the end of May to come up with something short and snappy. The role is unpaid, but the chosen candidate will receive monthly deliveries of cases of craft ales in exchange for their guidance in the beer-picking process.
Ayo Akintola, managing director of Oddbins, said: “We are committed to placing our customers at the heart of our business model and recruiting a customer beer taster is consistent with that philosophy.”
While these are just two examples of businesses seeking customer engagement, it does show a growing trend towards using customers, in more than one sense of the word, and how this can be mutually beneficial. Even if you aren’t successful in becoming the Aldi wine taster, next time you buy wine, you know Aldi has wine tasters, which might make you more inclined to buy Aldi wine. And for the cost of a monthly case of beer, Oddbins generates publicity worth many times that amount, and even gets a mention on consumer sites whose readers might appreciate the opportunity to drink free beer…
In association with Bloom consultancy, the new labels should help wine drinkers ascertain what is best for them. Other than it being three for a tenner or something like that.
Boozers will now be able to distinguish what wine is which, by a variety of graphics and types of font that changes as the drinker can select from good, better and best.
Good is your entry level crisp and fruity wines. Better is the ‘sun-kissed’ option, which covers the likes of rosé, and the Best selection engulfs Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio and Merlot.
As you progress through the ranges, the lettering gets fancier and graphics poncier. Bloom planning director Ed Hayes that the new labels would make it “easy, unintimidating and keep people within the brand”.
“There is a misconception that because of the low price the quality isn’t high, so we’re using design to communicate the benefits of cost purchasing”.
He continued, in a way that pleases yet also baffles the client.
When you open a bottle of wine, chances are you’re trying to plunge yourself into oblivion to erase the awful grinding drudgery of the day (Amirite, ladies?).
But Sainsbury’s want to shame wine drinkers just that little bit more by telling them how many CALORIES are in a glass. Their new labels are intending to help us make ‘more responsible health choices’ – although I would say that if you’ve got 3 boxes of Stowells of Chelsea and a Wham bar in your trolley, a nutritional information sticker isn’t going to make much difference.
However, Sainsbury’s think it’s important, because they did a survey and found that 85% of Britons knew how many calories are in a 125ml glass.
Jane Ellison, Public Health Minister, welcomed the move, saying: ‘The use of calorie labelling on alcoholic drinks is a key way the industry can help support responsible drinking. Sainsbury’s are once again helping to lead the way in providing consumers with the information that they need to make informed choices. We welcome this move and urge others to follow suit.’
For the record, apparently there are 228 calories, which is the equivalent of two fish fingers.
(Yes, but can fish fingers get you pished?)
Selecting a bottle of wine usually goes something like this. Your weary eye scans the shelves for a label that says’ ‘half price’ or ‘Don Diarrhoea table wine- £2.99’ and you plonk 5 bottles of it in your trolley.
But beware, because someone has actually researched supermarket wine offers and has confirmed what we all secretly thought was the case – original prices are being inflated before an offer and then slashed to make you think you’re getting an amazing bargain. And yo-yo pricing is so extreme that you can buy a bottle of plonk from one supermarket that’s cheaper than the one on offer in another supermarket.
mySupermarket have been delving into wine offers and found that some wines are only full price for a short period of time. Take Ogio Pinot Grigio, the wine of choice for frazzled middle aged women looking to blot out their menopausal misery. It’s on ‘offer’ at Tesco for £5.49, but has only ever been full price of £10.99 for 63 days of the year. Some wines are only full price for 2 weeks in the year, making it all very misleading.
Former Sainsbury’s wine buyer Alan Cheeseman (who would go very well with a robust Chianti) said prices were ‘blatantly manufactured’ and added:
You will see a Mondelli or an Ogio on sale for a very high price for a period of time, then discounted massively. The problem is that as a nation we have become promotion junkies.’
So what, Cheeseandwineman? Of course we’re promotion junkies! Who can afford a £10.99 bottle of wine on a weeknight? You know what? If I wasn’t so drunk, I would fight both of you.
If you’re middle class, chances are you’re constantly swilling Voigner from a glass as big as your head, and murmuring something about fruity top notes while stirring the cous cous. Unfortunately, wine is bad for you. So the government, (because they drink like fishes as well) want to do something about it.
But instead of telling them to stop boozing, ministers are suggesting that wine should be watered down. Lord Howe, the health minister, is arguing that the minimum strength of wine should be reduced from 8.5% to 4.5%, to protect middle class livers.
According to the NHS, professionals are twice as likely to drink more than poorer people, who are too busy queuing at the food bank to get their drink on at All Bar One.
Lord Howe argues that the market for reduced and low alcohol wines has been increasing in recent years. He said: ‘The Government has consistently made the case for a change to the EU wine rules to permit reduced and de-alcoholised products to be called wines.’
A government spokesman added: ‘We will continue our efforts to change EU wine rules, to allow all wine producers to make and market lower-alcohol products. This will help to help promote healthier choices and tackle the serious harm alcohol causes’.
But surely that’s not the point. Wine buffs don’t want to quietly sip watered down rubbish while they watch the telly. They want robust reds and cheeky whites. They want to gurgle and sniff and spit and drink so much they can’t SEE. That’s the POINT OF WINE.
Maybe they could just encourage the middle classes to drink one bottle less a week and give their wine money to the poor?
Quick, stock up the shed with booze: a champagne which costs just £12.99 from Aldi has beaten loads of other fancy champagnes in a blind taste test at the International Wine Challenge 2013. And that includes Veuve Cliquot, which retails at £130.
Wine boffins and spittoon filling tossers gathered at the event and tasted several vintages. One of the best was Aldi’s Champagne Veuve Monsigny by Philizot and Fils. The judges said it was ‘classy and complex’ – which sounds like a ghost written novel by Kim Kardashian – but apparently that’s wine speak for ‘ace.’
The champagne won the silver medal at the Wine Challenge – with the panel decreeing that it offered ‘an intense nose of baked apple, brioche and stone fruits with gorgeous flavours of apples, red fruit and minerality on the palate.’ (But does it get you pissed?)
Last month Aldi’s £10 own label gin also scored highly in a similar taste test at the International Spirits Challenge, beating brands that cost five times as much.
So if you’re a booze enthusiast – or just a common or garden alcoholic – get down to Aldi today with an articulated lorry.
What is the world coming to? The French, who for years have complimented their politically awkward, laissez faire shrugging and shagging reputation with a nice glass of red, are apparently cutting back on the wine.
According to the International Journal of Entrepreneurship, who studied French drinking habits, only 17% of adults drink wine on a daily basis, down from over 50% in 1980. And 38% of crazy fools prefer not to drink wine at all, replacing the bottle of Beaujolais with water or Sprite.
The reports’ authors say it’s a cultural thing – young people have no historical connection with wine, and those in the middle aged bracket see wine drinking as an occasional indulgence, rather than an everyday activity.
They’re also blaming the steady erosion of the family evening meal (or repas, if you were concentrating in GCSE French).
Wine connoisseur Denis Saverot is not happy with the findings. ‘Wine is the subtlest, most civilised, most noble of anti-depressants,’ he shouted, possibly throwing an empty bottle over his shoulder. ‘But look at our villages. The village bar has gone, replaced by a pharmacy.’
Oh well. More for us, then.
Bitterwallet is the site that just keeps giving. As everyone implodes into a last-minute buying frenzy, why not take a moment to check out our last minute tips. They might not be any use to you, but it’s the thought that counts, and we’re always thinking of you.
You might think it’s too late to get cashback on your Christmas shopping purchases, and you might be right, but not if you use a check-in app like Quidco’s, or you have registered your debit card for in-store purchases to qualify too. Hey, you won’t actually get the cash in time, but why not save up your cashback all year so you’re well up by next December.
Everyone drinks at Christmas. Even nuns. Especially the blue ones. If you have a load of alcohol-swilling relatives descending on you over yuletide, finding the cheapest place to get your seasonal booze can be crucial to your pocket.
If wine is their thing, Quaffer’s Offers sounds a bit poncey, but does compare which wine offers supermarkets have on, allowing you to select only the cheapest plonk for your nearest and dearest.
Alternatively, buy in bulk, and if you are eligible for a cash and carry store like Costco, you might be able to make back the annual membership fee just on booze. Just because you buy it at Christmas doesn’t mean you have to drink it all at Christmas…
You may have missed last posting dates by now, but if you are in receipt of certain benefits you can still (just) get cheaper stamps than the rest of us this Christmas in a scheme run by Royal Mail. Customers on pension credit, employment and support allowance or incapacity benefit will be able to purchase a total of 36 first and second-class stamps at 2011 prices.
The scheme runs until Christmas Eve and will enable customers to purchase a total of up to 36 first and/or second-class stamps at last year’s prices – 46p for first class and 36p for second class. The stamps can be purchased in any mixture of first and second class and can only be purchased in a single transaction, showing proof of benefits.
Obviously stamps don’t expire, so even if you don’t need any now, save them for next Christmas.
If you aren’t lucky enough to get benefits, Superdrug are also offering 5% off first class stamps until December 24.
Wine (hashish for Tories) is about to get more expensive, which is terrible news for people who prefer boozing to talking about their stifling, miserable, lonely lives. A bottle of plonk could be a whole quid dearer in the new year, thanks to a poor harvest of grapes this summer.
This means, those of you who went for the second cheapest wine, could be begrudgingly spending something in the region of the wines you once refuted for being slightly too pricey.
Those hardest hit were the Argentinians, as well as the French and the Italians. It seems the lousy weather was too wet for decent wine grapes, to the point where the International Organisation of Vine and Wine noted that global production was at its lowest in over 30 years!
This will lead us to an average price of £6 per bottle.
“I would expect to see significant price inflation at entry price points,’ said Majestic Wine boss Steve Lewis. “The price of a bottle of pinot grigio could go up by between 50p and £1 come February/March.”
Fill your boots this Christmas and New Year because, in 2013, we’ll all be downing cans of Ace and trying to get pissed on Wine Gums.
It’s not often that we give you a double dose of Commercial Break fun in the same day, but this one trickled on to our Twitter timeline a little bit earlier and made us do big smiles right across our stupid boozy faces.
From New Zealand, and as an attempt to flog some kind of brew called DB Export, it’s a reminder that men DON’T have to have wine. They’ve never had to have wine – it was just something that happened without any of us noticing. Beer is still here and everything is going to be alright. Yes, everything is going to be alright. Beer. Mmmmm….