What corking prices for vino

Enjoying a glass of wine is a pleasure, but at what cost?

I WOULD admit to enjoying a glass or two of vino on occasions. Not any old plonk, mark you, it has to be pleasantly palatable and I am prepared to splash out up to �6 on a bottle.

I know it’s a lot but it is worth it for a good drop of the stuff.

But my outlay is nothing compared to some others, I learned to my horror this week.

Buyers are shelling out �1,000 or more a bottle on Bordeaux 2009. One small vineyard is asking �18,000 for a case of 12 bottles.

Wine experts say that this vintage is one of the finest in recent years, perhaps the best in living memory, but quite how the sellers and buyers can justify that sort of expense is beyond me.

But they are snapping up cases in a frenzy of buying. Demand is so high that speculators, investors and wine lovers have joined waiting lists for the liquid goodies.

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They have to be a patient lot, much more so than I would be, because the wine is not even in bottles yet, let alone ready to be quaffed. And it won’t be ready for another 10 to 20 years. One could develop quite a thirst waiting that long.

And one more consideration is that the purchasers of the bottles at �1,000 a time will have to pay VAT, duty and storage costs once the wine is delivered to them in the distant future.

I’ll stick with my wine merchants at Morrison’s to supply my needs.

Another much less palatable news item which caught my eye this week was about undertakers in Belgium who have come up with the idea of dissolving the dead in caustic solution and flushing them into the sewers.

It is said to be cheaper and greener than committing bodies to the flames in crematoria or buying them.

Not surprisingly, a survey in Belgium concluded that many people found the proposal “disturbing”.

But don’t expect it to be dead and buried now – it’s just the sort of crazy thing likely to be endorsed by the European Community.

Not going down a storm in this country is the push to switch to digital radio. It was proposed when Labour were in power and now they are history, the new Coalition government is looking into it but wisely taking a cautious approach.

That’s not surprising as many people do not want to lose the analogue signal in favour of the digital version.

On a Cabinet Office website it is top of the list of proposed laws people would most like to be dropped.

Digital radio, the quality of which some think is no better than FM and would not be available throughout the country, was due to be introduced by 2015 but the government thinks that might be too early.

Perhaps they are being sensible for once, but it is obvious that with 85 per cent of radio users stubbornly refusing to buy digital receivers, it could take a very long time to persuade them to make the switch. Stick with what you like, I say.