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Wines

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 18 December 2008

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. (241055)

Government Hospitality in Protocol Directorate of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is responsible for the management of the Government Wine Cellar.

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.

Government Hospitality has recorded the following expenditure on new stock for the cellar over the past five financial years:

£

2003-04

93,503

2004-05

60,059

2005-06

95,264

2006-07

108,715

2007-08

137,460

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.