If I offered you a bottle of the very same wine for €1.95 or €43, which would you buy? Yes, I thought so. Me too. Not everyone thinks the same, though – or so it seems.
We all know there’s a mark-up on wines in restaurants and that’s absolutely fine. They’re offering you ambiance, location and service and that comes at a price.
However, it’s interesting to get a peek behind the scenes.
I bought a ten-litre box of Bergerac Rouge from the Vignobles des Verdots recently. Now, this isn’t like the boxes of generic wine you’ll find on British supermarket shelves, which is barely fit for drinking. The vineyard produces more wine than it can sell as its entry-level brand, Clos des Verdots, under the appellation controlée system.
So the extra gets sold off en vrac – or ‘bag in box’, as the French sometimes like to call it.
My ten litres cost me €26.
It turns out I’m not the only fan of it. It’s said that when he had a restaurant at Claridge’s, Gordon Ramsay liked it too – so he had it bottled under his own label and it became the house red wine. His restaurant in the London hotel closed last summer, so I can’t give you an exact figure for what it might have cost. However, the cheapest bottle of red wine in Claridge’s at the moment costs the equivalent of €43.
It’s no surprise that buying a wine directly from the vineyard is cheaper than buying it through an intermediary, but it’s sometimes hard to believe the difference.