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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Wednesday, September 30 2009. 12:26

UK deregulates Wine Pour Size

The UK government has finally relented and announced plans to deregulate wine measures less than 75ml in a move that will allow bars and restaurants as well as the retailers to offer their clients an opportunity to sample wines before ordering.

It may come as surprise to many Indians used to the legacy left by the British bureaucracy continuing to haunt us through their Indian counterparts due to the legacy left behind, that sometimes the Brits also get the taste of their own medicine. Otherwise, how could one justify the current archaic law in UK in today’s world that wine-by-the-glass can be sold only in measures of 125ml or 175ml and multiples thereof ?

It might not have been surprising to see the restaurants going overboard in the recent times and increasing the pour size to 250 mL (one third of a bottle) and even 350 mL-almost half a bottle, making the government panic and spend million of pounds last summer to educate the consumers, especially women who’d stick to one glass of wine without comprehending the connotation of higher alcohol due to bigger pour. But the deregulation announced on Monday comes after a persistent lobbying by the wine traders.

The lacuna in the law prevented the wine bars or pubs to pour smaller helpings of 50 mL or even 25mL or 10mL that the modern enometic machines can make it feasible. When the Selfridges chain brought out in 2007 the concept of tasting of 10mL of very expensive top Bordeaux wines affordable through their Wonder Bar, they ran into difficulties. Of course, there was a provision for sellers to apply for a special license for the tasting events if the local government could be convinced that a wine tasting event was being organised.

Jeremy Beadles, CEO of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, WSTA has welcomed the move. He reportedly said, “This flexibility will give consumers the chance to sample small measures of the huge variety of wines out there, letting them broaden their knowledge and taste everything from the finest and rarest to the most innovative and experimental.”

The change is expected to boost the sale of higher quality wines. The customer can experiment with a wider range of food matches and wines. The retailers will be able to offer an effective and affordable ‘try before you buy’ system.

In Delhi where one may not be allowed to take the left-over bottle out of the restaurant even though heavy taxes have been paid for it, restaurants are free to sell the wine-by-glass in any size. For instance, Shangri-la offers 50 mL pours as well though 150 mL is the standard pour, based on the 5-glassed per bottle. There are restaurants that serve by the glass-but it could well be 6-glasses or even more to a bottle. In fact, this is an area that needs to be defined by the Weights and Measures department to protect the interest of the consumers.


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