How to prevent dementia and alzeimer’s disease – drink good wine!


Posted on : 09-12-2013 | By : admin | In : General

There is loads of press about the dementia epidemic affecting the UK. Yet there is very little constructive advice for people worried about it, and there is virtually no advice on how to prevent or delay it happening to you.

But all the medical evidence is out there. Here is a passage taken from Dr Phil Norrie’s paper on the health benefits of good wine:

Antioxidants, especially resveratrol in wine, stimulate a nerve enzyme called Mitogen Activated Protein (MAP) kinase which stimulates nerve cells and helps them regenerate their dendrites or nerve interconnections. Thus Dr. Alberto Bertelli from the University of Milan, the world authority on the subject, states “By daily reinforcing these contacts we can prevent neurodegeneration” (such as dementia and Parkinson’s Disease). He goes on to state this reduction could be as much as 80%.

There is an enormous array of benefits from drinking good wine:

Reduced vascular disease

(a) Reduced Coronary Heart Disease by up to 50%(9)

(b) Reduced Ischaemic Stroke (Ischaemic strokes account for 90-95% of all strokes)(10)

(c) Reduced Deep Vein Thrombosis by up to 50% (11)

(d) Reduced Ostoeporosis (12)

(e) Increased Intellect in the Elderly(7)

(f) Reduced Macular Degeneration (a common cause of blindness) by up to 34%(8)

(g) Reduced Renal Failure (up to 50% of renal failure due to Vascular disease)(13) elements, proteins and carbohydrates (1)

Reduced risk of cancer.

This is fantastic news, although you will not get those benefits from drinking processed wines such as those found at cheap prices in the supermarkets and multiple retailers. These contain very little  natural goodness, but plenty of additives. To get these benefits you need to drink good wines, made naturally.

Read Dr Phil’s full article “Why wine is different to other alcoholic Beverages.” It is fascinating and is full of truthful positive benefits of drinking real wine.

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Minimum alcohol pricing in Scotland


Posted on : 26-07-2013 | By : admin | In : General

Now that the UK government has dropped plans to introduce a minimum alcohol pricing strategy, more focus is on the Scottish parliament who are allegedly pushing ahead with their own plans. I strongly suspect that these plans will also be shelved when the mighty Scotch whisky industry stamps it’s feet hard enough though.

However, how would this affect wine if it did go ahead?

On the BBC news there were interviews with Portuguese winemakers saying they could go out of business, and objections from the French and Bulgarian wine industries. Plenty of highly controversial publicity but interestingly no facts! The BBC is supposed to be an independent body reporting the facts, but over the last few years they seem to have lost the plot – why were they not analysing what this would mean for the British or Scottish public in reality, rather than just showing interviews with foreign winemakers who also clearly don’t understand the issue?

Scotland wants to bring in a minimum price of 50 pence per unit of alcohol. A “unit” is defined as 10ml or pure alcohol. So a standard bottle of wine at 13% abv breaks down something like this:

750ml wine at 13% abv contains 9.75 units of alcohol so would have to cost a minimum of £4.88 per bottle. Please note at this price £2.71 of this is pure tax! (71 pence VAT plus £2 excise duty).

At 11% abv (as many mass produced inferior wines are) the minimum price would be £4.13.

Is that really so Draconian? Would there be a flood of Scottish people flocking to England doing “booze runs”? Not with the price of diesel where it is! (virtually all tax again!).

Having winemakers claim they would be driven out of business by this is ludicrous. Yet the Portuguese authorities in particular are threatening a trade war against Scotch whisky if this goes ahead! If I was a Scotsman I’d stop drinking Portuguese plonk (any decent quality wine would be unaffected at 50p a unit) and move back to Scotch!

The minimum pricing strategy has been designed to target problem drinks like super strength lagers, own label spirits and cheap strong ciders (which get an excise duty break over other drinks!). These are the classic drinks of alcoholics who want to get hold of the strongest alcoholic drinks for the least money. And these are the drinks that cause severe medical problems as they are generally produced on an industrial scale from chemicals rather than distilled from fruit or grain. And the people drinking them are generally the ones causing the nuisance and anti social behaviour issues.

In a study carried out in British supermarkets (as opposed to only Scottish), out of nearly 1000 booze prices only 3 would have even been affected by the introduction of minimum pricing! It is simply a load of publicity with nothing solid behind it. Alcohol in real terms has never been cheaper despite massive tax increases in recent years, and this minimum pricing policy isn’t likely to affect the every day products we buy.

For the average sensible person drinking in moderation this isn’t likely to make any difference whatsoever to their spending. What it would do though is push up the price of problem drinks, ease the burden on the NHS and cut down on anti social behaviour and late night disorder.

But will it happen? I doubt it, but I’m sure we’ll hear plenty more about it in the next few months. It may just be a ploy to get all the Scottish alcoholics to vote against Scottish independence!

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Internet wine tax fiddle – is your wine and money safe?


Posted on : 27-06-2013 | By : admin | In : General

As we’re all now getting used to shopping on the internet, one of the biggest advantages has been in the world of wine. No longer are you restricted to what is available at your local wine shop – if you were lucky enough to have one – and no longer are you at the mercy of an inefficient small business who needs to charge you too much to pay his running costs.

Now there are sleek efficient internet wine retailers, cutting out the unnecessary costs importing direct and operating from warehouses rather than expensive high street shops. The customer is now able to take advantage of these major savings as well as having an endless choice of wines, usually delivered UK wide on a next day basis. It has revolutionised the world of wine buying and many UK wine enthusiasts are enjoying the benefits and trading up to better quality wines at better value prices.

There are some draw backs though. Many websites look very impressive but when you dig a little deeper you see that they are not what they appear. Like who claim to be a global company, stocking 15,000 wines and buying them direct from the wineries. In fact they are a convenience store in Reading, stocking very little wine, not importing anything directly from wineries – rather they take your order and then try to source the wine in the UK, often from the same place you could source it yourself. And of course a great many of the wines they list they cannot even get -  so why put the customer through all the hassle of ordering then waiting for weeks before telling them their order isn’t coming? But if that is how they choose to operate their business that is their choice – there is a fine line between outright lies and misleading advertising but many companies do get away with it.

But there is something far worse taking hold in the UK. Due to the punitive tax on alcohol in the UK, British consumers are now being targeted by firms on the continent via glossy websites and even paid advertising through Google and Amazon.

You may Google a wine and see in the shopping tab that it is cheaper through a company like in Germany. How is that possible? And on their website they will proudly lie to you and tell you that it is all legal and above board – it is not! They are not paying the UK excise duty (currently £2 plus VAT on still wine, £2.50 plus VAT on sparkling or wines over 15% abv). When they export this wine to the British customer they should be declaring this to HM Revenue & Customs and paying these taxes, but they do not. Instead they send it in plain packaging via a carrier such as DHL or UPS. If the vehicle is stopped and inspected the goods may be seized, and the British customer will then be liable to pay these taxes to have their wine released from Customs. But Michael Baulman (owner of Weinbaule) is quite happy to take this chance with your money/wine – after all British Customs aren’t going to chase him in Germany (he hopes!).

Under current UK law you are entitled to bring into the UK any reasonable quantity of wines provided that:

You physically accompany the goods – i.e. you cannot do it by mail order/internet/courier

The wine must be for your own consumption – i.e. not for resale or use in a restaurant/pub etc

There are other companies as well as Weinbaule doing this. Uvinum for example who up till last week were advertising 1 litre of Smirnoff for £10.50 delivered into the UK. There is UK excise duty of over £10 per litre plus VAT meaning the tax alone even if the vodka was free would be over £12.

Interestingly there is now a big flag stating “not available in UK” this week! Clearly HMRC are clamping down on this.

UK excise duty fraud on alcohol costs the Treasury over 1 billion pounds per year! Of course we’d all like to save money, but I also think there is a growing resentment in the UK for companies who practice tax avoidance/evasion.

The customer should be able to make his own informed choice according to his own conscience – buy legally from a British company paying UK taxes and employing British workers, or buy illegally from a foreign business, waiting a week for your order and hoping that it doesn’t get impounded at Customs.

How can you tell if the company you are ordering from is genuine and above board?

Well there are a great many websites advertising wines they don’t have – you would be surprised! And many pretending to be things they are not. Keeping yourself safe when ordering online isn’t straight forward but there are some things you can do to protect yourself.

Firstly check out the address of the company you are ordering from. You can then view it on Google street view and check it is a legitimate business.

Secondly, check that the website says it has the wines in stock and offers next day delivery. There is a host of courier companies operating in the UK all offering next day delivery, so if stated delivery time is more than one or two days be cautious – odds are that this company doesn’t have the wine and are going to try and buy it in to order! If the wine is in stock it only takes a few minutes to pick and pack an order – there is no feasible excuse for it to take days let alone weeks!

(A word of caution though. I recently placed an order with Foods4u for 6 bottles of wine, and they stated it would take another 48 hours to retrieve them from bond – then they fobbed me off with some fairy story about how some of the wines I ordered were on a container delayed at Customs due to the Bank Holiday. And when the wine did finally turn up, I received just 4 bottles not 6, and that was exactly one month to the day I placed the order! So believing their delivery terms didn’t help me on that occassion).

Thirdly phone them up and speak to them- you can usually get a feel if you’re talking to a genuine business, particularly if you ask questions about the wines. You wouldn’t believe how many wine websites are run by people who know nothing about wine and are just buying and selling it like any other commodity. There are a lot of “Arthur Daley” types out there jumping on the internet wine retail band wagon looking to make a quick buck.

Fourthly, If you’re in any doubt as to whether or not they are a legitimate UK Company you can check out their company accounts for free at to make sure they are a genuinely trading company and not just posing as a company to impress (as in the case of Simply Wines Direct Ltd!).

There are great benefits to be had from internet wine shopping. It has opened up a whole new world of wine to the UK consumer, and brought real value for money to the market place. A few bad apples like the ones mentioned shouldn’t be allowed to spoil it for the rest of us.


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Grangehurst Pinotage chosen by Sam Branson for his wedding!


Posted on : 28-03-2013 | By : admin | In : General

I’m not a celebrity watcher, and I even had to check up first – but yes, Sam Branson is Richard Branson’s son, and heir to his £3.4 billion fortune. Well Sam just got married to his beautiful bride, actress Isabella Calthorpe, at his dad’s luxury retreat in South Africa, and he requested Grangehurst Pinotage for the wedding breakfast which reportedly went down very well indeed – as you would expect from such a top class wine.

The wedding was attended by plenty of A-listers of course including Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and Isabella’s youngest sister Cressida Bonas, who is Prince Harry’s latest romantic interest.

Grangehurst is well known in South Africa as one of the country’s finest wineries despite being a tiny hands on operation, so this high profile event attended by plenty of Brits may well spread the word and give them good publicity over here as well.

If you want to try the wine they were all drinking it is imported by and available at £17.95 per bottle while stocks last (which won’t be long!). But the good news is they sell the entire Grangehurst range, and Grangehurst are Wine Magazine South Africa’s most awarded 5 star winery, so you know their wines are something special!

grangehurst_pinotageYou can read about the wedding here at the Mail Online.

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Chancellor’s Budget – Wine duty up again!


Posted on : 21-03-2013 | By : admin | In : General

Yesterday’s budget by Chancellor George Osbourne did nothing for wine drinkers as he kept the existing alcohol duty escalator as put in place by the previous Labour government. This means the excise duty on a typical bottle of wine will rise by 10 pence plus VAT. On sparkling wines and wines over 15% ABV the increase will be 13 pence plus VAT.

This takes excise duty to £2 per bottle for standard wine, plus VAT of course which comes to £2.40.

A typical bottle of spirits (40% abv, 70cl bottle) will increase by 40 pence plus VAT. And cider and alcopops will also increase.

The only relief was on beer as the government finally caved in to pressure from an assortment of campaigns within the British pub industry, and beer duty was actually reduced by 1p per pint. This is because beer is the UK’s traditional drink and is seen as a chore manufacturing enterprise creating jobs.

Wine on the other hand is virtually all imported, and with one eye on our balance of payments, is seen as fair game. Not great news for the UK wine industry which is experiencing torrid times. The average price of a bottle of wine sold in the UK last year was £5.04 – bearing in mind £2.74 was pure tax! There’s no margin to absorb this 12 pence increase so we will see cheap wine move to the next price point. No doubt we will soon see bottle sizes reduce as the supermarkets start offering their own label plonk in 50cl bottles or even cans or cardboard/plastic boxes to keep under sensitive price points.

If we factor in the ever weakening pound, and the global reduction in production in 2012 due to bad weather virtually worldwide, we’ll see some major price increases this year. The UK wine trade is forecast to shrink by as much as 10% in the next two years, and that is going to take some heavy casualties presumably from the struggling independent retail sector.

As I mentioned in a post on the budget last year, every time the government has increased duty on alcohol it has actually taken LESS in revenue as sales fall. Is it a ploy to make us drink less then? Sadly I don’t think they’re that clever and it’s just a poorly thought out tax increase. The UK now pays over 60% of all alcohol duties in the EU although we only consume about 10% of the alcohol.

And the duty escalator is still in place for next year when another 11p will go on a bottle of wine, meaning a 30p increase in 3 years. Day trip to France anybody?

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Processed meats cause cancer and heart disease!


Posted on : 07-03-2013 | By : admin | In : General

In light of the horse meat scandal it was announced on the BBC today that processed meat increases the likelihood of both cancer and heart disease – something that regular readers will know I’ve been saying since the very start of this blog site, although being a wine website I didn’t focus on just meat of course.

So what exactly is it that causes these diseases?

While the government and anti alcohol lobbies rack their brains (or lack of them!) for clues, we can do some basic detective work. Meat alone doesn’t cause cancer or heart disease but processed meat does – if we apply tradional logic here, the logical conclusion we draw then is that it is the processing that is the cause. This is exactly what I’ve been saying about processed wines for years – and exactly why the anti alcohol lobbies tell us that two glasses of wine a day will cause cancer.

There are so many chemicals in our food and drink these days that we have no idea what we’re eating and drinking. Frankly if we knew what was in there we wouldn’t eat it – exactly the same is true for processed wines too. Because it’s a liquid we somehow think that there can’t be anything harmful in there.

Sulphites are in nearly every processed food and drink in the UK, and these chemicals cause cancer – otherwise why would the medical profession insist anybody in remission for cancer cuts out all sulphites from their diet? Why has the World Health Organisation recommended banning them? The government and medical profession both know how harmful these sulphites are, but as there’s no viable alternative yet for mass produced foods (which we in the UK depend on as we have to import certain quotas from the EU)  it’s all being kept very quiet. The levels of sulphites and other harmful chemicals in mass produced wines is huge – over 80 different chemicals are permitted to be added. In fact cheap wine is virtually all chemical and no grape! And all those chemicals are playing havoc with our health.

Yet sulphite free natural wines are extremely beneficial to our health and will actually REDUCE THE LIKELIHOOD OF CONTRACTING CANCER BY 50%. And reduce the risk of HEART DISEASE BY 50% too. In fact they help combat a whole host of ailments including stroke, dementia, blood pressure, osteoporsis….. and loads more. Read all about the benefits of good sulphite free wines in this post here.

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Internet Wine Buying – Google comparison WARNING!!!


Posted on : 01-03-2013 | By : admin | In : General

Just as we’ve got used to buying wine online to get the best deals, Google and Amazon between them have changed their rules and are monopolising the market to make a fortune out of us! From March 2013 the best deals will now be much much harder to find as both Google and Amazon heavily promote the more expensive deals that they make the most money out of! For Google this is a gradual process and it’s likely to take some months or even longer, but eventually we’ll see less and less free to list products as they get replaced by those that are paid for.

We all trusted Google when it was a free site to give an honest comparison - but those days are coming to an end. In fact in 2004 Google actually stated that Google shopping was a fair and unbiased system precisely because they didn’t charge retailers to advertise their products! I guess when you float on the stockmarket for $80 billion or whatever it was, that you have to start clawing that money back somehow, and one way or another ultimately it has to come from the consumer!

Google Shopping is now becoming a purely commercial venture only directing you to the sites that pay them the most commission, so you the consumer also pay the highest price!

This means that they will prioritise and display products from websites which pay them, and the system is massively complicated on a “bid per click” system. Effectively retailers can only display products on Google Shopping by subscribing to an adwords campaign where they bid against each other for keywords/products. The higher the bid the higher the relevance on Google Shopping, and many retailers will disappear altogether.

This means that a retailer with a very competitive price is unlikely to get listed as they will not be able to bid as much as a retailer selling at an over inflated price – so you, the consumer, will only see the higher priced listing and end up paying this price. The over priced retailer still makes money and Google makes a lot of money while the competitive retailer loses out altogether (and possibly closes down!). And guess where that money comes from..? YOU! They rolled this out across the USA last year to great resistance from small internet retailers.

Amazon has effectively been doing something similar for the last couple of years. It lists millions of products that it doesn’t stock, with agreements in place with thousands of retailers to supply these products and pay Amazon a large commission – I know one online wine retailer was asked for 16% which when many work on 20% to 25% gross margin is just ridiculous. But it shows just how out of touch with the real world companies like Amazon really are – it’s ok for them yo base themselves in the Netherlands to (legally) avoid paying UK corporation tax, and just to take commissions off other UK retailers without doing any work, but the rest of us have to work for a living and have overheads to pay!

Both Amazon and Google Shopping are able to do this because they command all the top spots on Google, and it’s very difficult for the public to find the information they want as Google controls where it directs them. Google Shopping because it is part of Google obviously, and Amazon do it by paying for advertising with Google.

So as a consumer looking for the best deal what can you do?

Well, the good news is it is still possible (at the moment) to find a good deal, but it’s not easy. At present there are still generic product ads on there in “shopping” but these are likely to be phased out and replaced with the ads which pay the most money. But going forward the first rule ever when looking to buy something is “never use comparison sites” as by their very definition they will NEVER give you the best deal (unless you land incredibly lucky somehow). Google Shopping has become just that – a paid for comparison site, so avoid it! Comparison sites only list products/services from suppliers who pay them a commission. So if there is room in the margin to pay a comparison site, there is room to offer a better price in the first place.

For example today I googled and found a comparison site called who tell me the best deal in the UK  for Susana Balbo Brioso is with Selfridges at £34.99 – see links below. However when I look around a bit I find the same wine with for £24.00. So how much commission out of the £10.99 per BOTTLE (not case!) extra do you think is going to

Why if they’re supposed to be a genuine comparison site do not know about goodwineonline’s price? Quite simply because like all comparison sites they only list wines from retailers who pay them a commission! And Google Shopping has now moved over to this format as well! Ironically they say it is to improve the customer shopping experience but this is a load of baloney as it will dramatically reduce the customer’s choice and push up the price. It is simply about making money for Google and closing down a large number of small internet retailers while strengthening the multi-nationals.

It’s also rather short sighted of Google. The general public are not stupid. They will quickly begin to realise that there’s less competition and fewer choices available to them, and they’ll shop around by using other mediums. Google will quickly lose the credibility they’ve worked so hard to build so if you own shares in Google now may be a very wise time to offload them (despite the large drop they’ve already taken!).

Small retailers will be forced to find alternative ways of advertising their products, and no doubt another search engine provider such as Bing will step in and fill the void. Google is in effect going to destroy it’s own monopoly of 80% of internet traffic! I would expect the board will be in for a torrid time at the next AGM, then down Job Centre Plus after the one following that! But who knows, just maybe they’ll see sense and realise Google is where it is today because it provided the general public with a fair, open unbiased cross section of information? Well, we can hope anyway!!

So if you value freedom of choice, and you actually want to be presented with fair and unbiased information before you make a purchase, steer well clear of Google Shopping and Amazon, as well as all other comparison sites. Spend a little time sifting through Google’s generic listings – or Yahoo, Bing etc, as you’re almost certain to find a better deal and save yourself a considerable amount of money!

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Horse meat in food? What’s in wine then?


Posted on : 28-02-2013 | By : admin | In : General

Yes, we’re all now well aware of the horse meat scandal. With large retailers continually driving down the prices they’re prepared to pay to manufacturers, the quality of ingredients in processed foods has been dropping like a stone. Horse meat in burgers and ready meals, “meat dirivatives” in sausages – who knows what goes into the processed meat substitutes used in takeaways, but whatever it is it doesn’t need to comply with meat regulations for EU import!! You know that smooth chicken like substance in your “chicken and mushroom” ?

A local takeaway offers “fillet steak in cantonese sauce” for a bargain £5. As that includes £0.83 pence VAT plus their profit, do we really believe it is fillet steak? Or even any steak?

So this high profile exposure of horse meat being in wide circulation in so many pre-packed foods has made people consider what they’ve actually been eating for all these years, from these trusted sources such as supermarkets and big brands. Well then isn’t it about time that we applied that logic to the world of wine?

I’ve written numerous articles about the value of wine and what goes into this factory produced plonk that we buy on the high street. There are 80+ chemical additives permitted in mainstream wines, and 43 additives permitted in EU certified organic wines! When a wine is retailing at £4.99, take off UK VAT £0.83, UK excise duty at £1.90, international shipping at £0.25 and the cost of the bottle, screwcap, cardboard box and label £0.30, and you’re left with £1.71 which is essentially the retailer margin. The wine is worth virtually nothing, so what do you think is in there? Pure fermented grape juice, from hand picked grapes grown on the best slopes of a prestigious vineyard? NO – it is the vinuous equivalent of horse meat or worse still “meat dirivative”!

There is more added chemical than grape juice. Do you ever wonder why you feel so rotten the following morning although you only had 3 or 4 glasses of wine the night before? Well, the government and health lobbies will tell us that alcohol is so bad for us – but is it the alcohol? Look at rural France and Italy where the locals regularly drink several litres of wine every day and have done so all their lives for eighty plus years, and these people are still tending their vines and farms, more spritely than the average 40 year old Brit! The French paradox as it is known!

The government has got it’s message very confused. Alcohol itself in moderation is not so bad for us, certainly not if you stick to the fictional “recommended units” as invented by the government after rejecting the findings of the entire medical consultation they had commissioned on the subject – basically the medical experts didn’t give the answer the government had hoped for, so they just went and invented their own safe limits instead! (About half of what the medical experts recommended!)

Alcohol is not so bad in moderation but a lot of UK alcoholic drinks are very bad for us! Why? Because they contain a cocktail of artificial chemicals and have no natural goodness in them whatsoever. Sound familiar? Yes, it’s just like all the processed foods we’ve been tricked into eating. I remember recently one study which found there was more nutritional value in the cardboard packaging than there was in a breakfast cereal!

But the good news is the resurgence in British farmed foods, grown locally, eaten fresh. Small farm shops and similar are enjoying more popularity as Brits are realising just how much healthier these foods really are. “You are what you eat” was a common phrase a while back – well I’m very glad I haven’t been eating this cheap processed rubbish from the big retailers. “20 sausage rolls for £1″ – what on earth is in them?

Well the same is possible with wine. You don’t have to drink this highly chemicalled factory produced plonk widely available in the multiple retailers. You can get good healthy natural wine from specialist websites like which is not just not bad for you, but is actually good for you (in moderation of course!).

Many people assume a hangover is the natural unavoidable after effect of a good night out – we ll it isn’t! It’s the after effect of a cocktail of chemicals – you’ve been drinking the wrong stuff – and it is completely avaoidable. I haven’t had a hangover in ten years, and I’ll drink several bottles of wine over a good night! I just drink the right stuff, made with pride in small independent wineries not in factories, without the addition of all these nasty chemicals.

Next time you’re in the wine aisle at your local supermarket and you’re actually being taken in by one of their seemingly too good to be true half price offers, take a look over at their own label sausages and burgers. That’s what you’re buying – or the bottled equivalent at least!

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£5.04 – the AVERAGE price of a bottle of wine!


Posted on : 13-02-2013 | By : admin | In : General

Yes, new figures just released show that the average price of a bottle of wine bought in the UK has soared from £4.97 to £5.04. It makes me cringe to think of the harm the UK public are unwittingly doing to themselves drinking this cocktail of additives. Would anybody actually buy this stuff if they new what was really in there at this price?

So at £5.04 RRP what is the wine actually worth?

Firstly let’s remove the VAT of £0.84 to leave £4.20.

Then let’s remove the retailer margin of 33% (some make more than this!) to leave £2.80 

Now let’s remove the Excise Duty of £1.90 to leave £0.90

Let’s remove the international shipping charge of £0.20 leaving £0.70

Glass bottle, label design & print, cardboard box, screwcap/cork £0.20 leaving £0.50

Uk transport to point of sale £0.20 leaving £0.30

So the average “worth” of a bottle of wine sold in the UK is just 30 pence! That is pretty grim in itself, but that is the average.  Allowing for all the higher end wines sold, there must be a lot sold more cheaply than this – about 85% of the total Uk consumption is mass produced rubbish so allowing for big brands around the £7.99 mark I’d expect about half of this to be the really cheap and nasty stuff. Many of the supermarket buyers are instructed to spend no more than US$0.35 per bottle – bottled and labelled! That means the wine is literally worth about 5 pence.

Do we expect this to be delicious healthy freshly squeezed and fermented grape juice? You wouldn’t risk buying a beef burger for 5 pence would you? So why risk a wine at this price? At least with the burger scandal it still contains meat, but what goes in these wines instead of grapes? Well here’s some of the permitted additives below:

Permitted additives in wine

calcium alginate
potassium alginate
potassium caseinate
silicon dioxide
edible gelatine
acacia (gum arabic)
proteins of plant origin
ovalbumin (egg white)
alumino silicates
ferrous sulphate

polyvinyl-polypyr-rolidone (PVPP)
activated charcoal

lactic bacteria
neutral potassium tartrate
potassium bicarbonate
calcium carbonate

copper sulphate

oak chips
metatartaric acid

concentrated grape must
rectified concentrated grape must


fresh lees
ammonium bisulphite
thiamine hydrochloride
yeast cell walls
yeasts for wine production
diammonium phosphate
ammonium sulphate
ammonium sulphite

fresh lees
potassium ferrocyanide

calcium phytate
citric acid

calcium tartrate
potassium bitartrate
yeast mannoproteins

sorbic acid
sulphur dioxide
potassium bisulphite
dimethyl dicarbonate (DMDC)
carbon dioxide
potassium metabisulphite/disulfite
allyl isothiocyanate
potassium sorbate
ascorbic acid

So next time you’re tempted by one of these highly contentious “half price” offers in the supermarket stop and think. Are they friendly companies helping the beleagured public through this tough economic time as they like to portray, or are they global corporations making money out of us at any cost? In the UK they sell masses of processed foods full of dubious additives, and exactly the same with wine! They make a fortune out of their wine sales, which would be physically impossible if these were genuine offers.

As I get older I think back to the old sayings we used to hear growing up. As kids we used to disregard them but I’m now realising they were all born out of experience and wisdom which comes with age. “If you’ve got your health you’ve got everything”. Well we all have the option to make informed choices about what we put in our bodies.

I don’t eat or drink anything processed. I drink a lot of wine but I’ve not had a hangover in years. I’ve not had a cold or flu or any other illness for several years either since I’ve been drinking good natural wines. I’m not saying they cure everything but they are a good healthy lifestyle option (in moderation) as they contain natural anti oxidants and other substances which are actively very beneficial healthwise. Cancer rates across the UK have soared since the introduction of processed food and drink. Yet good natural wine can reduce your likelihood of contracting cancer by as much as 50%. Plus the same for stroke, heart disease, dementia, Parkinsons and a whole host of other ailments. In fact good wine is a medicine and a tonic – mass produced chemical infused “wines” are the opposite.

Read all about the benefits here

If you get chance go to the RAW Natural Wine Fair in London on May 19th to try some delicious healthy wines!

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RAW 2013 – the real wine fair!


Posted on : 12-02-2013 | By : admin | In : General

Yes, after the phenomenal success last year, RAW is back on again this year. It’s in the same location, the Old Trueman Brewery on Brick Lane, which worked really well last year. Entry will be smoother this year as lessons have been learned from last year’s show when the unexpectedly high turnout led to a build up of people waiting to get in.

RAW 2013 is being held over two days again, Sunday 19th May which is open to the public (as well as trade) and Monday 2oth May which is trade only day, although opening to the public in the evening to help get rid of any remaining wines! Isabelle has timed this fair to coincide with the London International Wine Fair once again as London is full of wine professionals from all over the world. It should be a great event with over 200 producers exhibiting once again. Tickets are £25 on the door.

Last year’s atmosphere was really buzzing, informal and fun helped by the Bohemian venue, the great choice of natural foods on offer and of course the great array of wines. There aren’t many wine fairs the public can attend where they can taste over 500 wines without the risk of a hangover! Isabelle is very strict on her entry requirements so you can be assured these wines are all natural.

The Real Wine Fair hosted by a consortium of importers (who had split from Isabelle after their original fair The Natural Wine Fair in 2011) is also on again this year, although they’ve moved it forward to March. Both fairs were on at the same time last year effectively competing against each other, and reading between the lines I think they came off second best. I attended both fairs and found them as different as chalk and cheese.

RAW was fun and vibrant, the Real Wine Fair was dull with everybody very serious and talking in hushed tones. To be fair the venue wasn’t good as it was split into several basement rooms, and turnout when I was there was very low with only a handful of people in each room. The mood wasn’t exactly lightened by the expressions on the faces of the producers who had all travelled to this fair and no doubt realised they’d backed the wrong horse! Many of the wines weren’t natural either (in my opinion), with only 3 or 4 producers with sulphite free wines – but perhaps they prefer to leave these to Isabelle while they concentrate on more mainstream wines? They do make a point of saying it’s about individual terroir with organic or biodynamic farming rather than stating “natural” so it’s very much up to the individual’s own interpretation of what natural really means when it comes to wine. For me it means no chemical intervention but perhaps for them it just means less intervention than in factory produced wines?

The Real Wine Fair is taking place on Sunday17th March (public and trade) and Monday 18th March (trade only) at Tobacco Dock, Wapping E1W 2 SF. The Monday coincides with a Wines of California tasting so trade day could be very quiet with many choosing to visit on the Sunday instead which could of course be busier as a result. While smaller than RAW they expect 100 producers and 600 wines so there’s still plenty to choose from. Food will be available from a pop up restaurant and various stalls. Tickets £15 in advance or £20 on the door.

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