We all knew that Winston Churchill had alcohol in his veins for a good part of his life, but how much did all that grog cost?
The Economist reviews a couple of new biographies about Churchill, one of which looks at his finances. (No More Champagne: Churchill and His Money. By David Lough.) Although he was born into an aristocratic family, he didn’t have lots of money. but he knew how to spend it on Cuban cigars, polo ponies and Champagne. One vinous tidbit that emerges from the balance sheet analysis: they write that between 1908 and 1914 (his early years in politics) “the Churchill household spent an average of £1,160 on wine alone each year—£104,400 ($145,000) in today’s money.” Gives me a hangover just thinking about it!
Churchill also had some other memorable quotes about wine. In the War, he said, “Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne.”
“Champagne should be cold, dry, and free,” he said at another time.
And, finally, he is renowned for a few zingers, including this:
“Dinner would have been splendid…if the wine had been as cold as the soup, the beef as rare as the service, the brandy as old as the fish, and the maid as willing as the Duchess.”