Coinciding with the release of the frankly awful Beaujolais Nouveau on November 18th, is the publication of renowned wine writer Michael Gluck’s new book ‘The Great Wine Swindle’ revealing the nefarious goings on in the international wine trade. I’ve been asked by the publishers to give it a pre-release review.

This book lifts the lid on the many cons, lies and cheats existing in the UK wine trade, from the supermarkets blatantly fraudulent ‘half price deals’ to the traditional wine merchants’ stealth tactics of flogging inferior wine to punters or ‘Indian customers’ as they refer to the wealthy but naive amateur Bordeaux enthusiasts.

It also exposes the blatant illegal practises in the vineyard – in Bordeaux and Burgundy in particular, where different wines from other regions are routinely imported and blended into existing wine, against all the AOC regulations. The French even admit the AOC regulations are a waste of time and no guarantee of a wine’s content or geographical origin. But so long as the British punter will pay for the name on the bottle……..

The book is full of interesting facts on the corruption and lies that riddle the international wine trade from the very top – government level, right down to the charlatans that peddle big brands in the high street, and of course the supermarkets who are single handedly responsible for murdering the availability of decent quality wine in the UK. (If you want good wine go to the wonderfully independent who are championing the cause!) I’m delighted to find someone else who shares my views on the UK wine trade, I was beginning to think I was going mad. Was it only me who could see all this frankly crap wine peddled as ‘the norm’? Are we supposed to believe that other people in other countries actually drink the same dross that they try and force on us? Wine drinkers in other countries simply wouldn’t stand for it.  Malcolm quotes in the book from a senior employee at Bibendum, saying the UK has become the toilet of the world wine trade, flooded with the lowest quality wine anywhere. But don’t despair, there are one or two independents left in the UK who pride themselves on offering only good wine. If you like wine and you want choice, quality and value please drop the supermarkets and start buying your wine from a quality independent wine merchant. It doesn’t have to cost more money, but you will get much better wine!

It’s a fascinating read which will open the eyes of UK wine lovers and hopefully prevent them from being ripped off and duped into spending their hard earned money on inferior wine with a posh label. It’s only £8.99 from Amazon so it’s a good investment for yourself, or an ideal Christmas gift for a wine enthusiast. It exposes all the lies and cons, the pomp and ceremony that has given wine drinking a middle class image in the UK. With suitable exposure this book could shake up things in the UK wine world, which is no bad thing.