The UK Government’s Wine Collection

So at the end of my last post on the Royal Cellar, I mentioned that it wasn’t the only wine collection curated on the British Isles for the enjoyment of domestic and visiting dignitaries. In fact the UK Government has its own collection. Whilst the Royal Cellar is the responsibility of the Clerk of the Royal Cellars, who is appointed by the Queen, the Government Hospitality department maintains the Government Wine Cellar.

The cellar was established in 1908 and is located at Lancaster House in London, it houses 35,632 bottles of wine, valued at over $5 million.

In 2010, at the height of the economic crisis, the new Government considered the idea of closing the cellar. Thank heavens cooler heads prevailed and instead it was decided that the cellar could remain open provided that it began to support itself. This is now done through the sale of high-value wines that had been bought when they were young.

In 2013 the cellar sold some of its stock, French wines proved the most popular, and sales totaled £44,000.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is now required to report to Parliament on the contents of the Government Wine Cellar. During the past year the Government served 4,730 bottles of wine (none of which I saw I might add!). Much more white than red is served and there is a trend towards English sparkling wines in the cellar.

Some incredibly lucky people, who operate without an expense budget, stock the cellar! They meet 3 times a year to discuss purchases and TASTE THE WINES. You can see the notes, along with the complete list of wines in the cellar here.

In terms of the stock the cellar is heavy on classified Bordeaux reds, and white Burgundies. Of particular note in the cellar, and I say this having never actually tasted ANY of them. They have 1961 Château Latour, priced at £4,000 per bottle, but the notes state that it can be saved for another 50 years, so we won’t be getting our hands on that anytime soon. The cellar also boasts a magnum of 1964 Krug, and for dessert wine enthusiasts Château Suduiraut, Sauternes 1967. These tend to be reserved for Royal weddings and important state visits, or may I humbly suggest anytime Rachel and I stop by?!