The importance of price and what you pay for

A short discussion of something we all should consider

Often when I speak to family, friends and clients the cost of a bottle of wine/beer/spirit is questioned. I find that the best way to think about the cost is to compare it to something else, such as a cup of coffee. Now, a cup of coffee from a high street brand costs you at least 30kr/€3/£3. That’s a rough cost price for about 250 ml. So, if we consider a wine bottle we have 750 ml. That is 3 times as much liquid, yet people are often not willing to spend 3 times the price.

How come? Coffee in a takeaway cup is often something many of us take for granted and often something many of us don’t fully enjoy. Wine/beer/spirits are usually enjoyed with friends or family in combination with food. Yet we seem to be reluctant to spend money to do so.

Let’s look at the process of making wine. To start off, you need to grow the plant. The first few years the grapes are not great. Alas, you need to wait minimum one year before you can do much in terms of production. Then you need to prune the vines and make sure that they have the right “haircut” to give the grapes as good a start as possible. After that, you need to ensure that no animals eat said grapes. As the months go past you will need to check that the plant has water, that its canopy (the leafiness) isn’t too thick and that it’s healthy in general. Once you have decided that the grapes are ready you will then need to pick them. Then strip the grapes from the stalks, allow for the grapes to ferment and then crush them in order get all of the juice out. Once you have obtained the juice it needs to rest, finish fermenting, become drinkable and finally be bottled. Once bottled it will need to be labelled and shipped to its destination, where it will be marketed and sold.
Now, this process is a very simplified version of what actually happens, but it gives you an idea of the amount of work and time that goes into the process. So, if you take all that time and effort versus price breakdown, what you often end up with is a break-even point which is 3 times the price of a cup of coffee or more.

So please, next time you are looking at that cheap bottle of alcohol, do the maths. Does the price allow for the workers who made it happen to get a decent wage? Does it allow for nature to be treated fairly and sustainably to make it happen?

Alcohol and coffee should be allowed to be enjoyed. Allowed to be shared and combined with food. And most of all, allowed to be produced in such a way that generations to come can enjoy it too.

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