Paying the price

Wine reviews – By Michael Wolsey

The Government has spent more than two years wrestling with legislation to impose a minium price on alcohol. It is not over the line yet but it looks like it may soon reach the statute books. It will do no good to anyone, except shopkeepers north of the border who can expect a roaring trade in cheap lager and vodka. It should have no bearing on the price of the wine most of us buy and certainly not on the €30-a-bottle stuff Gerry Adams considers normal. But some prices will go up. Dunnes stock a French red and a white, called Rebelle, which currently sell at €6. And Tesco have Spanish wines called Revero which sell for around €4. They will go up to about €8 and €7 respectively. You won’t find them on a list of the world’s great wines but they are drinkable and (for the moment) very good value, even if you only use them to marinate beef for a casserole. I don’t know what the guys who drink on my local park bench think of them. I have never seen them among the cans of cheap lager and spirit bottles at their feet. Somehow, I don’t think wine is their tipple of choice. This legislation is intended as a levy on cheap drink. But Irish drink is not cheap. Drink is much cheaper on the shelves of any shop in Portugal or Spain, or even the more expensive France and Germany. None of those countries has a serious problem with alcohol. Anyway, just to be clear, this levy, if it ever comes in, should not increase the price of any any bottle of wine now costing €10 or more. If it does, you will have good cause to complain.