A couple of weeks ago we had British Airways selling off its First Class crockery …. now it is joined by Virgin Atlantic, which is selling its surplus wine.
Reading between the vines
The auction house doesn’t say that this wine is from Virgin Atlantic. The official sale is listed as “Selection of Red & White Wine on Behalf of Major Airline”.
However, a reverse image search of the photograph used shows it is from Incessant Wining, from a review of the wines from a Virgin Atlantic flight.
(Virgin Atlantic has told us that this is not a sale that they initiated or will benefit from financially and that it appears to be coming from somewhere in their supply chain.)
For obvious reasons, Virgin Atlantic is serving far fewer bottles of wine these days. This means it has tons (literally) of 187ml single serve bottles in stock.
Unlike the British Airways crockery clearance, this stock sale is aimed at the commercial market, although nothing is stopping you from making a bid.
The bottles are being sold by the pallet – that’s 1,920 servings of 187ml bottles, or 359 litres in total.
There are 20 pallets available, split evenly between Oliver Mandevilla Sauvignon Blanc and Oliver Mandevilla Cabernet Sauvignon.
The starting bid for each pallet is £400, although this is before VAT and a 20% buyer’s premium. Assuming no higher bids, the net price would be around £580 per pallet or 30p per min bottle, which is the equivalent of £1.21 for a 750ml bottle!
It is worth noting that virtually no bids have been placed in the past week since bidding opened.
Remember that, under UK law, any bid you place is legally binding and you can be sued if you do not complete the contract if you win.
Wine & wisdom
The ‘Oliver Mandevilla’ brand appears to be served in Premium on Virgin Atlantic, so you won’t be getting an Upper Class tipple. On the other hand, it is probably better than what is served in Economy.
Here is what ‘Maliphant Dee’ from Incessant Wining thinks:
Oliver Mandevilla, Cabernet Sauvignon
8/10 – Nothing wrong with that
The Cabernet Sauvignon had a subtle floral nose to start with, little of the promised black currant or red fruit. This was no doubt due to the temperature as the bottle was delivered cold from the galley. Still, it was very smooth over the tongue and I knew it would improve as it warmed to room, or indeed cabin, temperature. Then there were baskets of red berries and yet it still retained that nice floral finish.
Oliver Mandevilla, Sauvignon Blanc
7/10 – Drinkable
The Sauvignon Blanc had a slight gooseberry nose but it was mostly citrus on the tongue. It was a glossy, slightly peach yellow in the glass which promised a more fruity taste than I found. It had a tart finish but it was not sour or stringent. This is a wine that paired well with my seafood lunch but it was lacking confidence on its own.
The Dreamliners have proved more lucrative
The sale of its surplus stock is unlikely to have any impact on Virgin Atlantic’s bottom line. A few thousand pounds won’t move the needle.
What WILL move the needle, in addition to the previously announced £1.2 billion refinancing deal, is the sale and leaseback of two of Virgin’s Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
According to Sky News, this should net Virgin up to £70 million in hard cash in the coming months, further securing the airline’s future. Sky News states that the money will be used to repay part of the – presumably expensive – £170 million loan provided by Davidson Kempner Capital Management, a US hedge fund, during the refinancing.
A sale and leaseback involves the airline selling its wholly owned aircraft to a leasing company. It creates a short-term boost to liquidity at the expense of long-term leasing costs and will depress Virgin’s profitability going forward.
Virgin Atlantic isn’t alone in initiating a sale and leaseback of its aircraft. Virtually every airline has been doing the same in order to shore up cash, with easyJet amongst the most eager.
Tempted? Bidding on the wine ends on the 18th December and you can do so here. At the time of writing, virtually all the lots are unbid with a minimum reserve of £400.
Unfortunately there is a 3% fee for paying by credit card so you won’t be able to rack up any points unless you have a Curve card. You’ll also need to pick up your pallet from Reading “after the UK movement ban is lifted.”
Rob and I did consider bidding for the next HfP party …. although we’re not sure where we would store 1,920 miniature bottles.
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (December 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):
You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.
(Want to earn more Virgin Points? Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)