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Food / June 16, 2022

The government are getting back into wine

Food / June 16, 2022

The government are getting back into wine

Words: Shamim de Brún

The Oireachtas is planning to splash up to three hundred k on its brand of wine to ‘customers’ in Leinster House.

The bespoke-labelled vino proved to be a hit when it first went on sale in 2013, selling about eight thousand bottles over the following five years. Prospective suppliers have until 14 July to submit tenders for the contract and will be expected to supply samples for blind tasting as part of the evaluation process.

It looks like the government are getting into buying ‘En Primeur’. Buying En Primeur – means purchasing wine that is still maturing in the barrel and has not yet been bottled. 

Many chateaux offer their wines for sale as En Primeur in the spring following the harvest. So the government is a little late this year. But, especially with climate change depleting wine production at alarming rates, it is unlikely they will get the numbers they want for the price they’re offering. Unless, of course, they cut their standards.

The government advertised this week, seeking suppliers to provide “entry-level” and “mid-range” wines to be branded with the Houses of the Oireachtas label and sold on-site.

The parliamentary authority is looking for a “young, clean, fresh, fruity” style of white wine to put its label on. It expressed a preference for Sauvignon Blanc as its entry-level offering. However, while sauvignon blanc is best drunk young, it is rarely described as fruity. More often, it’s described as cat’s piss. That said, who doesn’t love a glass of Sauvvy Bee before a debate?

It wants a light- or medium-bodied wine for its entry-level red, with a “young, fruity, dry” Merlot. The mid-range option will be dry and medium-bodied red wine, such as a satellite Bordeaux, Malbec or Rioja; each of which would be regarded as full-bodied wine by the industry. The successful supplier will also require

A sparkling wine and non-alcoholic alternative. We wonder if they will be subject to the double luxury tax that is placed on all sparkling wines causing them to be much more expensive than they aught to be, no matter their ABV.

The Houses of the Oireachtas will provide a “creative design scheme” for the production of its labels for the wine. The minimum production order is expected to be around eighteen hundred bottles in respect of the entry-level wine and twelve hundred bottles of the mid-range wine. Too bad bulk buying wine is no longer subject to discounts in Ireland under MUP, or will this be an exception?

The Members’ Restaurant seats approximately a hundred and fifty people and is used for a formal lunch and dinner service during Dáil and Seanad sitting terms. Typically they cater for TDs and senators, their guests, staff and visiting delegations.

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