Sour grapes as merchants snub department wine list

This year is set to go down as a distinctly non-vintage year for the Department of Foreign Affairs’ efforts to clear its stock of high-end wine from its cellars at Iveagh House.

In December of last year, the department successfully sold off its first batch of wine made up of four labels, including well-known French red wine, Chateau Lynch Bages for €11,160.

This was the first part of the programme to sell off a high-value collection of wines valued at €77,767.

The value was placed on the wine after a December 2013 departmental review of the stock found almost a third of the 2,343 bottles were deemed ‘tradeable’.

It was hoped the sale of the high-value wine would raise around €40,000 for the State. However, the department’s attempts at selling more wine since December last year have come unstuck, with one internal memo describing the subsequent offers for the high-end wine as “risible”.

The memo released in response to a Freedom of Information request said: “Only one merchant provided offers for the full list. We did not receive any suitable offers for the wines offered and in some cases the offers were risible.”

The official goes on to state: “I would propose we do not seek any further offers until September 2014.” However, the FoI Unit stated in its response letter that “since this progress note was issued, the situation has not changed. A further approach to merchants is planned for the near future”.


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