Saturday, July 28, 2007
U.K. Bureaucrats Stomp on Stores Selling Great Grapes by the Sip
Most of us could never afford to buy a bottle of Petrus 1996 for $1,925, but we might be willing to fork over $65 for a sip to be able to say we have tried the wine.
That was the idea behind a program at a number of retail shops in the United Kingdom that allowed consumers the chance to try some of the world's great vintages a 25 milliliter sip at a time. That at least was the case before Trading Standards Officers from the Westminster City Council stepped in.
Selfridges and The Sampler had been running the program. The bureaucrats, however, declared that the stores were "selling wine in illegal amounts" and ordered the retailers to halt the programs. "Illegal amounts" sounds like they were selling huge quantities at low prices to underage drinkers, not offering consumers a chance to sample upscale wines.
Trading standards officers point to a law that says licensed premises must sell wine in either 125 milliliter or 175 milliliter glasses. Obvious, this law was created to help protect consumers from short pours at restaurants. Instead, it is being used to keep wine lovers of average means from sampling great vintages.
Score one for big government.