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Wine and Elitism

Seems to me that “elitism” is often abused as a term in a kind of inverse snobbery, and reflects the cultural pursuits of a different social class (I guess “upper” or “middle”).

However, the true meaning is surely where people are actively excluded from partaking in an activity - either by financial constraints or lacking contacts/backgrounds/relationships (eg. some clubs).

Ignoring the case of those insufficiently wealthy to do anything requiring money, it’s not true that pursuing an interest in fine wine is actually inaccessible to anyone who has the motivation.

There are many tasting events that are cheap or free - and those who show a keen interest as “students of wine” (even informally) don’t need to be big buyers.

I think that many people are shy at straying from self-imposed cultural class-based norms. Not all, though, and I always find it refreshing to meet people from other backgrounds at events usually regarded as the province of a small section of society.

Not sure how much I care that not everyone is interested in wine. It can be a curse as much as a blessing!


Yes, absolutely - I typed"more expensive" in my original when I meant “less expensive”… sorry!

Living in Argentina, I find this debate very ‘British’. In those nations where wine is a stable of lunch and dinner, reference to class is almost irrelevant. Yes, some people can afford expensive wines but if you live in Mendoza, Salta or Neuquén you can access fine wines direct from the producer or at restaurants at very sensible prices. Even in Buenos Aires, unlike London, in restaurants you do not pay a 300 or 400% mark up - people here would not pay it.


This reminds me that many years ago as a student in Buenos Aires, the cheap place I used for fixed price lunch offered steak and salad, with a choice of water, coca cola or red wine…


Definitely. Now the younger people are going for beer, which is having an impact domestic wine producers. Water is always offered, less coke nowadays.

I also think it’s a case of prioritising. I am not loaded but choose to spend disposable income on nice wines. I have no interest in cars and drive one that is 11 years old, it gets me from A to B. Others priority is to have an expensive car and maybe not in a position or want to buy nice wines.

Football wise I am a Stevenage FC season ticket holder so not elitist either!!


I think this is very true. I run a small business but only get to pay myself a little more than my staff. Definitely not well off (my current car is an '07 vintage!) but I choose to buy moderately expensive wines which I drink very slowly! And get great pleasure from.

A young lady who works for us expressed a lack of understanding in my spending on wine and then I asked her how much she spent on concert tickets annually. She became very thoughtful! :smiley:


I know I am wandering from the ‘wine and elitism’ heading but this for me is it. I spent a preposterous amount of money (considering my financial status) on a jacket recently. But it gives me such joy. Spending too much money on something can be a liberating and glorious feeling. Blood-letting is how my mum used to describe it. That bottle of Comtes de Champagne I had last night at £60 would be considered a ridiculous extravagance by 99% of the world but it was life affirming and magical. And to me it was a bargain. It is good to be with a crowd that gets that.


For about 1 second I thought “Unlikely for @MikeFranklin and then ‘highly inappropriate surely’…” before I realised I must pay more attention to the punctuation and try and read more slowly in future…!


At £60 it was a bargain! I thought £100+!

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From a much talked about M&S deal. A couple I got for £55 with £5 off from the purchase of previous bottles (if you spent over £35 they gave you a £5 off voucher).

Jamie Goode reviews some big brand wines. Surprisingly favourable.

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:rofl: Rereading it myself I have decided it wise to add a paragraph break there!


Trouble is there are a lot of variables here and a lot depends on how you got into wine. I discovered wine as a student and it was pairing it with food as that was what I observed my parents doing. As a student I bought £ 1. 89 to £ 2.49 wine from Sainsbury’s ( 1985 was the year) but found an independent wine shop and discovered good wine at £3 to £4. I earned a good wage and through the wine society bought 1996 Calon Segur at £98 for 6. Now it’s near the £400 mark for 6. Not sure on the inflation front might be proportionally good value but I know I have a wider taste range and there are cracking Portuguese wines for far less. Bordeaux and Burgundy are a little extreme at class growth level. I have introduced friends to good £8 bottles and £25 bottles but it’s not easy to know with out a lot of experimentation, education or listening to others to find the good £6 to £10 bottles in the UK. Just been in Portugal and it was almost impossible to get a bad bottle in this price range due differences in Portuguese vs UK pricing.