Public Service Europe
April 29, 2012
The European Court of Justice has built up a wine collection of almost 4,000 bottles worth at least €70,000 but denies claims judges are spending public money on their favourite vintages
Given the savage budget cuts across member states, it is not surprising that the European Court of Justice is reticent to reveal details of its Luxembourg wine cellar. According to the rumour mill, the 27 senior judges quaff quality vintages in a dining room to which mortals have no access. Some say they intervene personally to decide which wines should be purchased with public money every year.
Is this true? The initial responses from the court are non-committal. The institution has a “functioning wine cellar”, not a collection of fine and rare wines, the press and information unit underlines. “Like all the EU institutions, the court carries out a number of protocol activities, including welcoming various dignitaries, some of whom are provided with food and drink as appropriate,” the press department tells PublicServiceEurope.com.
It adds: “This wine is purchased in accordance with the EU’s financial regulations and the principal reason for the court having a wine cellar built up over the years is to allow the court to save money, as you can imagine buying the wine as and when needed from a supplier would cost considerably more.” There is evidently no court sommelier, merely staff well versed in wine.