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Just what has been going on in the Foreign Office's cellar?

I ask, because of this:

"Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many bottles of (a) blue chip list wines, (b) fine wines, (c) reception or drinking wines and (d) spirits and liqueurs were held in the Government wine cellar managed by his Department in each of the last five years; what the estimated value of each type of drink and of the Government wine cellar in total was in each year; how much was spent on (i) blue chip list wines, (ii) fine wines, (iii) reception or drinking wines and (iv) spirits and liqueurs for the Government wine cellar in each of those years; what the expenditure on the Government wine cellar was in each of those years; what proportion of the cellar stock is currently English wine; and what the policy is in respect of the procurement of English wines for the cellar.

And here are the answers:

"Government Hospitality defines the cellar stock as either "fine" or "beverage" wines. Over the last five years the cellar stock has amounted to between 36, 500 and 40, 000 bottles. From this total, approximately 2 000 bottles are "reception" or "beverage" wines, and approximately 35, 000 are "fine" wines. The stock of spirits and liqueurs is approximately 200 bottles. The overall value of the cellar stock is approximately £790,000".

A back of an envelope guess on my part values the plonk at a fiver a bottle, and the spirits at £20 a bottle, suggesting that the good stuff is valued at circa £22 a bottle. Ought to be eminently drinkable....

Anyway, the cellar upkeep figures paint an intriguing picture:

Being of a deeply cynical bent, I wonder if spendiong was down in 2004-5 as they knew an election was coming and they wanted to get on with the serious business of drinking the stuff and planned to leave little bar the Blue Nun for the next administration. Alternatively, Straw took the Pledge (after a fashion) in 2004, while Beckett and Miliband have been caning it for the last two years.

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Blogger Stephen Skelton said... 3:41 pm

So no answer to the English Wine question?  

Blogger Croydonian said... 3:45 pm

There was, yes: "English and Welsh wine forms approximately 5 per cent. of the total cellar stock. Government Hospitality has had a policy of purchasing English and Welsh wines for over 20 years. Wines are selected for their quality and longevity, and their suitability for use with a range of British produce".  

Blogger James Higham said... 10:28 pm

36, 500 and 40, 000 bottles

My goodness, how many MPs are there?  

Anonymous Adrian P said... 1:56 pm

Personally if they did their Job Properly I wouldn't care how much they drank or got paid,
sadly they don't and I do.


Blogger Letters From A Tory said... 10:13 am

That increasing amount of alcohol certainly correlates with the increasing desperation of Labour to stay in power.

Or perhaps the FCO are desperate to drug the foreign critics of the Iraq war?  

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