I’m passionate about wine, but lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints about people feeling ripped off when ordering it. From not getting the bottle you asked for in a restaurant to the extortionate prices of wine clubs and wine for weddings, it seems there’s a lot to, er, whine about…
When you’re out for a nice meal you might spend some time perusing the wine list to select the perfect tipple to suit the occasion or complement your food.
Recently, a friend went to a restaurant and did just that, but when the wine came he noticed that the vintage was different to the one he’d ordered.
Now, if it’s a cheap-and-cheerful bottle you’ve ordered, the differences in years won’t be hugely dramatic, but if you’ve plumped for, say, a Bordeaux or Champagne, the differences of quality, taste and price between different vintages can be huge.
Even if you’re ordering the cheapest bottle of wine you would hope that, should your wine be unavailable, the waiter/waitress would let you know. If you aren’t eagle-eyed like my friend, you may not clock the switch and could end up buying an inferior bottle of wine to the one you ordered.
As anyone who’s planned their nuptials will tell you, as soon as the word ‘wedding’ is mentioned, the price for everything seems to rocket – and that includes the wine.
Recently, a colleague was left feeling ripped off when ordering wine for her wedding. The venue where she is planning to host her big day wanted to charge her £25 for the bottle of wine she wanted. On searching online, she found that same bottle of wine available through a retailer for £5 – that means the venue has marked it up by 500%!
My colleague decided to purchase the wine herself and pay the outrageous £17 per bottle corkage fee charged by the venue, as this arrangement was still cheaper than ordering the wine through the venue.
If you entertain a lot or drink a lot of wine (I’m not judging), then the idea of joining a wine club might be appealing.
A case with a selection of wine delivered straight to your door means never having to lug heavy bottles back home, along with the rest of your grocery shopping. And, generally, the quality of wine offered by a wine merchant will be far superior to similarly priced wine at the supermarket.
So when you spot what seems like an excellent deal on a monthly delivery of wine you may be tempted to sign up for it. But beware, because you could end up getting a different deal to the one you think you’ve signed up for.
Many wine clubs have an initial low cost, but after the first month, this shoots up. Or while you can easily sign up online for the deal, sometimes cancelling isn’t so easy. Because the details of the wine club are unclear, or in tiny writing tucked away somewhere out of sight, you may have missed the full terms and conditions of club you’re now locked into.
Have you ordered a bottle of wine at a restaurant or bar and discovered you got an entirely different vintage? Are you a member of a wine club? If so, what do you think of the service? Or have you ever experienced an extraordinary mark-up on wine by a venue simply because it’s being drunk at a wedding/party or similar?