The good old British wine drinking public are growing tired of being either ripped off by ‘trusted high street names’ overcharging, or fobbed off with supermarkets and multiple retailers duping them into buying inferior wines by advertising them as allegedly half price deals. Naturally we all believe their spin when we see a wine reduced from £10 to £5 – until we taste it! That’s when we realise it wasn’t worth £5 in the first place. But this isn’t just happening occassionally, it’s standard practice for the majority of wine sales in the UK!

Now many established high street names are jumping on the band wagon and offering wines in their direct mail catalogues – take NEXT for example. An established and respected high street retailer. They hope we’ll think ‘oh, I’ll just add a case of wine to my order for a new pair of jeans’ and no doubt some of us will – until we see the prices! A few minutes shopping around on Google will quickly reveal that we’re paying a hefty premium for the privilege. For example NEXT are offering the following:

Hugh Hamilton ‘The Villain’ Cabernet Sauvignon Mclaren Vale 2006 at £16.95 per bottle, generously reduced to £15.26 when you buy three. Simply ‘Google’ Hugh Hamilton Cabernet Sauvignon and in 30 seconds you’ll discover www.goodwineonline.co.uk offer it for £12.49 for a single bottle!

NEXT are also offering the Hugh Hamilton ‘The Rascal’ Shiraz Mclaren Vale 2006 for £15.95 on a ‘buy six get one free’ deal which gives a net price of £13.67. Again www.goodwineonline.co.uk offer a single bottle for £12.49. Do these big companies honestly believe we’re all stupid?

Personally I’m going to ask goodwineonline to start supplying my clothes! The truth is, these companies are not selling wines – they just appear to be! In reality this is a collaboration between NEXT and Lebonvin.co.uk , a slightly pricey internet wine merchant. NEXT have simply duplicated lebonvin’s portfolio onto their own website, and no doubt all orders will simply be passed to Lebonvin to fulfill, with a nice little commission paid to NEXT. Is this NEXT offering their customers an extra service? Or is it NEXT exploiting their customers for extra profit?

Personally I’d recommend giving them both a miss and ‘Googling’ the wine you’re after to find it somewhere at a decent price,