Quelle horreur: France to auction off some government wine because, austerity

posted at 11:31 am on May 4, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

France has the second largest economy in Europe, but with the unemployment rate above ten percent and their economic growth rate in stagnation mode — not to mention their recent reneging on the deficit-reduction targets they assured the European Commission they would meet and their increasingly frosty relationship with Europe’s largest economy — they are definitively on the strugglebus.

What’s more, the French government is widely perceived as corrupt and President Francois Hollande is deeply unpopular, with a lot of the voting populace angry that he isn’t being Socialist enough. Ergo, bring on the fiscally meaningless and cheap political stunts! From the NJ:

The Élysée Palace’s wine cellar, which is guarded by an armored door and was founded by President Vincent Auriol in 1947 (because, YOLO, no more world wars), is now home to 12,000 bottles of wine that make appearances at the palace’s receptions and dinners for foreign dignitaries. Hollande, with the aid of the Élysée’s chief sommelier (the White House sort of has one of those, too), has decided France could do without a tenth of that. …

The 1,200 bottles of wine—which include a 1990 Petrus Bordeaux that could sell for over $3,000—will go up for public auction at the end of May, courtesy of the Drouot auction house. Drouot estimates the bottles will sell for anything from €15 (about $20 USD) to, well, Petrus Bordeaux. The proceeds, which are estimated to surpass €250,000 ($327,800 USD), from the auction will replenish the wine cellar with some humbler wines, and the surplus will go to the state budget.

Wine is a big historical/cultural deal for the French, with all kinds of rules and regulations governing its production and sale, and I think the French regime is hoping this is going to work out as a highly visible PR move that that will make it look like they’re leaving no stone unturned in their quest to absorb some of the fiscal pain. “Shared sacrifice,” if you will.

Unfortunately, auctioning of a bit of wine won’t even come close to doing anything substantive in balancing their national checkbook, and it’s not going to do anything to restore Europe’s confidence in the flailing country, via the WSJ:

A new hurdle has popped up in Europe’s race to save itself from economic calamity: French President François Hollande, who built his career on an ability to forge consensus, now finds himself in the unaccustomed position of pleasing no one.

Mr. Hollande’s ruling Socialist Party is in revolt. Party heavyweights are urging him to turn up the heat on Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and defy her prescription of austerity for resolving the euro-zone crisis. The French press last week splashed a Socialist Party draft paper that described Ms. Merkel as “selfish.” …

Ms. Merkel, for her part, is worried that Paris is moving too slowly to repair its economy and could face deepening economic trouble, people familiar with her thinking say.

… On the European stage, he is trying to persuade Ms. Merkel he won’t renege on his commitment to fiscal rigor. At home, he is working to appease Socialists who demand more government spending as well as voters who now question whether Mr. Hollande wields the clout necessary to steer the world’s fifth-largest economy.


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Monsieur Hollande, you have no earthly clue what real austerity is, merci beaucoup.

gryphon202 on May 4, 2013 at 11:36 AM

Government wine? (Facepalm.)

RoadRunner on May 4, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Government wine? (Facepalm.)

RoadRunner on May 4, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Is that really any more ridiculous than the government food commodities our own government purchases?

gryphon202 on May 4, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Do the French really want to tick the Germans off. Again. If so, one can only hope O’Dumbo stays the hell out of it.

GarandFan on May 4, 2013 at 11:45 AM

You want some government cheese to go with that government wine?

Flange on May 4, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Let them drink wine

BobMbx on May 4, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Like, oh, m’god!

HB3 on May 4, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Being English, I’m loving this!

OldEnglish on May 4, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Government Whine!

xdwall on May 4, 2013 at 11:57 AM

Coolest wine I ever consumed was a Chateau de la Chaize 1976 Beaujolais Tricentennial Edition Magnum. The sales rep of the winery I was working for at the time gave me and the winemaker the bottle. He estimated its worth at about 3500-5000.

It wasn’t the best wine I’ve ever tasted, but it was the best wine in context.

Beaujolais are generally composed of a majority of Gamay Noir grape. Gamay Noirs don’t hold up well over time, and when we opened it, we expected it to taste flat and boring. Not so. For a 35 year old Gamay Noir, the wine was incredible, maintained a ton of fruit, and still had amazing structure considering the scenario. A truly incredible winemaker did some great work in 1976.

blatantblue on May 4, 2013 at 12:00 PM

I’m sure blatantblue will disagree, but anymore French wines are at the bottom of my families list. For the money, domestic or even Aussie wines are better for the buck than their high-priced wines and are just as good IMHO. Buy your local regional wines also. (Unless you’re upstate NY)

hawkdriver on May 4, 2013 at 12:03 PM

HAH! BB.

hawkdriver on May 4, 2013 at 12:04 PM

blatantblue on May 4, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Night Train, last Tuesday, #3.99

BobMbx on May 4, 2013 at 12:06 PM

I’ll see your Night Train and raise you a Mad Dog 20/20. Don’t make me go all in with Thunderbird.

CaptainNed on May 4, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Maybe Ed can pick up a nice Merlot for his patio time.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on May 4, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Government wine? (Facepalm.)

I can understand. It is France after all. Don’t drink the water.

hawkeye54 on May 4, 2013 at 12:14 PM

I’ll see your Night Train and raise you a Mad Dog 20/20. Don’t make me go all in with Thunderbird.

CaptainNed on May 4, 2013 at 12:09 PM

I trump your wine selections with two words: Silver Satin. I rest my case.

Mason on May 4, 2013 at 12:17 PM

… On the European stage, he is trying to persuade Ms. Merkel he won’t renege on his commitment to fiscal rigor. At home, he is working to appease Socialists who demand more government spending as well as voters who now question whether Mr. Hollande wields the clout necessary to steer the world’s fifth-largest economy.

So in other words he’s lying to everyone.

JEM on May 4, 2013 at 12:32 PM

a 1990 Petrus Bordeaux that could sell for over $3,000

That was a good year for anti-freeze.

(Bart runs back up to the French policeman.)
Bart: (Speaking French) You gotta help me! These two guys work me night and day. They don’t feed me. They make me sleep on the floor. They put anti-freeze in the wine, and they gave my red hat to the donkey.
Policeman: (Speaking French) Anti-freeze in the wine? That is a very serious crime!

steebo77 on May 4, 2013 at 12:33 PM

I’ll see your Night Train and raise you a Mad Dog 20/20. Don’t make me go all in with Thunderbird.

CaptainNed on May 4, 2013 at 12:09 PM

What’s the word? Thunderbird! Worst headache I’ve ever had, by far, was from drinking that stuff. My head hurts just thinking about it.

Flange on May 4, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Maybe they could get a deal on some Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill.

trigon on May 4, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Being English, I’m loving this!

OldEnglish on May 4, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Well, I don’t particularly want to make fun of the French.

But they do ask to be ridiculed, so it would be rude of me not to comply.

And I hope you voted UKIP…

JohnGalt23 on May 4, 2013 at 12:51 PM

And I hope you voted UKIP…

JohnGalt23 on May 4, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Had I not escaped to OZ, I would have for sure!

OldEnglish on May 4, 2013 at 1:00 PM

I’m sure blatantblue will disagree, but anymore French wines are at the bottom of my families list. For the money, domestic or even Aussie wines are better for the buck than their high-priced wines and are just as good IMHO. Buy your local regional wines also. (Unless you’re upstate NY)

hawkdriver on May 4, 2013 at 12:03 PM

I think the French still ship a lot of good mid-priced wines. I like the Aussies, too, but too much American wine is characterless and/or overpriced.

Drouot estimates the bottles will sell for anything from €15 (about $20 USD) to, well, Petrus Bordeaux

Why would they even bother cellaring a $20 bottle of wine? And what Palace guest has so little status that they’d be served it?

urban elitist on May 4, 2013 at 1:05 PM

And I hope you voted UKIP…

JohnGalt23 on May 4, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Had I not escaped to OZ, I would have for sure!

OldEnglish on May 4, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Looks like a lot of folks did this time around – I would trade 100 Republicans for one Nigel Farage. Those of you who haven’t yet should behold some of the man’s youtube clips.

stout77 on May 4, 2013 at 1:16 PM

May the rest of the bottles turn to vinegar!

Spit, double spit.

can_con on May 4, 2013 at 2:10 PM

I like the Aussies, too, but too much American wine is characterless and/or overpriced.

urban elitist on May 4, 2013 at 1:05 PM

I wouldn’t completely agree. I’d say a lot of wines we’ve gotten from Virginia are what i would consider regional and in possession of a lot of character.

My family also buys a lot of the wines from the Biltmore Estate label that have a nice distinct taste. I concede it’s not a completely valid argument for them though because so much of the grape juice they start with is actually imported from other regions. What actually comes from their vineyards is very distinct.

I’d be interested to know what French label for mid-price you think is worth buying.

hawkdriver on May 4, 2013 at 2:31 PM

Perhaps we should send barge loads of Boonesfarm, Ripple, Wild Irish Rose… or Muscatel …as humanitarian aid. The wines of brown-bag-wrapped-bottle connoisseurs everywhere.

To be fair, though, Boonesfarm is more widely enjoyed by the wine spritzer crowd, as it has a very low alcohol content with a sort of kool-aid flavor point.

thatsafactjack on May 4, 2013 at 2:36 PM

To be fair, though, Boonesfarm is more widely enjoyed by the wine spritzer crowd, as it has a very low alcohol content with a sort of kool-aid flavor point.

thatsafactjack on May 4, 2013 at 2:36 PM

I don’t know if I’m comfortable sending away crates of Strawberry Hill.

. . . trying to set your “Kool-Aid” snootery aside.

Axe on May 4, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Quelle horreur: France to auction off some government wine because, austerity

…they’re French!…JugEars will buy it!

KOOLAID2 on May 4, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Axe on May 4, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Sorry. Not ‘snootery’, though.

Check you Sketchbook mail. :)

thatsafactjack on May 4, 2013 at 5:11 PM

Check you Sketchbook mail. :)

thatsafactjack on May 4, 2013 at 5:11 PM

Sarc tags are for gurls. :)

k. But give me till the top of the hour; I’m about to update the site.

Axe on May 4, 2013 at 5:15 PM

Why would they even bother cellaring a $20 bottle of wine? And what Palace guest has so little status that they’d be served it?

urban elitist on May 4, 2013 at 1:05 PM

Gotta have SOMETHING on hand if Obama pays a visit.

JamesS on May 4, 2013 at 7:34 PM

Nothing about huge Ukip surge in UK election? Shame on you, Hot Air

callingallcomets on May 5, 2013 at 5:17 AM

Gotta have SOMETHING on hand if Obama pays a visit.

JamesS on May 4, 2013 at 7:34 PM

Nothing but the finest box of wine for Barack.
And put an extra straw in it for Big Mooch.

justltl on May 5, 2013 at 6:25 AM

Government wine? (Facepalm.)

RoadRunner on May 4, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Is that really any more ridiculous than the government food commodities our own government purchases?

gryphon202 on May 4, 2013 at 11:43 AM

No, and the French were warned about that over 150 years ago:

“Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”
― Frédéric Bastiat, The Law

ebrown2 on May 5, 2013 at 9:25 AM