Commons' English wine loses MPs' vote

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The Independent Online
POLITICIANS MAY boast that they fly the flag, but when it comes to wine, our parliamentarians are being most unpatriotic, writes Marie Woolf.

Dozens of MPs have complained that the English white wine served in the House of Commons cafeteria is "disgusting", "undrinkable" and "vile". They have been filing insulting comments in the complaints books and want French wines instead.

The kindly dinner ladies say they get one or two comments about the wine each day. "They are always complaining about it," one said. Even the most eurosceptic of MPs, rarely quick to praise France and Italy for anything, have complained.

Austin Mitchell, Labour MP for Great Grimsby, said: "I just don't like the English wine. I keep writing this in the book and making complaints, but nothing seems to be done about it. Let those who want English wine drink English wine, I'd rather drink real wine."

The House of Commons cafeteria has served Downland Oak since the beginning of the year. The white wine is produced from grapes grown in Kent, Sussex and Hampshire and has gone down well with wine critics. Carl Koenen, sales and marketing director for the winemakers, Chapel Down, said: "I'm mystified. It sells very well."