“A woman drove me to drink and I never even had the courtesy to thank her”
W. C. Fields
Now, I feel really guilty. I’ve been buying wine off Tony Jackson, the boss at Lakeland Vintners, for 20 years and he’s explained to me why it’s impossible to make a penny from selling wine. Here’s the maths. If he sells a bottle of vin de table for £3.99 (wholesale), excise duty accounts for £1.69 of that price and VAT a further 67p. That leaves only £1.63 for the planting, tending and picking of the vines; for the vats (oak or stainless steel), the bottling, labelling and shipping. On the assumption that the vineyard and the shipper take a cut how can there be any room for profit for him, especially as I get a bulk discount on every case delivered?
These facts emerge at a do where Tony, with his customary generosity, is supplying the wine for dozens of guests entirely free of charge. Is this generosity calculated to make me feel even more guilty, or is it that because Tony must lose money with every bottle which he sells it’s more cost effective for him to give the stuff away.