The government’s wine cellars were topped up to the tune of £73,000 last year – an increase of £26,000 on the year before, latest figures reveal.
The wine cellar – run by the Foreign Office – stores alcohol to be served at government events and receptions.
Since 2011, the cellar has been funded by the sale of high-value wines and payments from government departments.
The government said the spending rise “reflects the fluctuations in currency rates and the needs of the cellar”.
In a written statement to Parliament to accompany the latest review of the cellar, the Foreign Office described it as “self-funding”.
The extensive collection, made up of tens of thousands of bottles, is kept under a grand central London mansion, Lancaster House, which is owned by the Queen but leased to the government.
There were no sales of wines in the financial year to 2020 – something the government attributes to the pandemic.
But it said other government departments added £23,220 to the year’s overall receipts through payments for wines provided at departmental functions.
While spending increased, the volume of wine consumed between 2019 and 2020 fell 17.5% compared to the year before.
Almost three-quarters of the purchased wine and over half of the wine consumed was English.
Both of these figures represented an increase from 2018-19.