It is the night we look forward to all year. The anticipation, the butterflies in the tummy, the wonder and excitement. Feeling like small children straining out of our skin at the Royal Easter Show, the question on everyone’s mind is, what goodies will this year’s Federal Budget hold?
While the options for improving our lot are endless, the single burning issue for us remains: will the personal annual wine allowance finally be introduced? A reasonable monthly stipend for every eligible Australian to put towards favoured drops, forever cementing the place of wine as an essential item in our increasingly chaotic lives.
Spoiler Alert! If you have not yet finished scouring the complete Budget document do not read further if you want to avoid the surprises in store for you.
Suffice to say, 2020 will be another year in which the short-sightedness of our politicians (who, we wager buy most of their wine with funds from the public purse) has delivered another Budget devoid of meaningful change. In short, no wine allowance again this year.
So, it is back to the penny-pinching, discount-chasing and trial-and-erroring of past years.
It is arduous, back-breaking labour to ensure our wine dollars are well spent. Spend too much and invite bitter disappointment following on from heightened expectations. Spend too little and invite, put simply, bitter disappointment.
But there are options. They are not ideal but then what choice have we got when our government lets us down (short of forming a wine militia).
You could find a friend who has the funds and does not mind blowing them on chancers. It may be an in-law or a colleague, possibly even an actual Federal polly. Ingratiate yourself and fill your boots on their dime.
Another option is to seek out the opinions of others. A local wine merchant who proves their worth with a run of solid recommendations. Perhaps a wine scribe doling out scores and points with flowery prose and ridiculous tasting notes ("marcos pombalinos granite"? Pah!) Use their adjudications to minimise the chance of opening less than stellar booze. It is not foolproof, but it is a worthy strategy.
A final option (and we stress final) is to start a wine militia to force a change in the status quo (we never said we would not consider it).
Whichever strategy you adopt to see you through the next twelve months until the next Federal Budget is handed down and the annual wine allowance is finally introduced, please remember - each time you open a bottle of wine, it is not a life or death situation. You will survive, no matter the quality of the juice and there will be more bottles in your future if you so desire.
So chin up, wine glass bottoms up and here's to another year of immersion in wine.