Last modified date

#WineSwap… Everyone’s doing it

A couple of our friends have come up with a rather genius idea that deserves a bit of attention, especially from those of you that regularly buy wine by the case.

Buying wine by the case makes a lot of sense – it is convenient, and often you can the best prices if you buy in bulk.  But 12 bottles can be too much of one wine – what if you could swap a bottle or two for something completely different, but of equivalent value?  Even better, what if you could meet up regularly with like-minded folks, see what’s on offer, taste and talk about wine and swap some wine while you’re at it?

If you concur that this is a great idea, then have a look at Matt and James’s #WineSwap blog for more details, and start using the #WineSwap hashtag on Twitter so you can see what other people have got to swap and start spreading the word.

Now, as a humble writer I don’t buy a great deal of wine by the case but I still wanted to get involved.  So after I met these guys at the Birmingham #7WordWineReview tasting, I decided to embark on a little swapping quest of my own.  In the absence of any wine in my house, I decided to start out swapping small items and see if I could end up acquiring wine along the way.  And then if I wasn’t satisfied with the wine I acquired, I could take it along to a #WineSwap meet.

It started in my office.  I had to start small, but be bold.  I noticed while making a cup of tea that someone had purchased a packet of Hob Nobs from the shop downstairs.  The wrapper was intact.  I tracked down the owner of the biscuits, and asked if I could have “some biscuits”.  “Yes of course, they are for sharing”, my colleague replied.  At this point, instead of just taking a biscuit, I boldly said “I’ll make you a deal, I’ll swap you this whole packet of biscuits for some rice cakes.”  I held up the rice cakes.  They were old, to say the least.  And dusty.  The packet had been open since about 2008 when I realised I didn’t really like rice cakes and brought them into the office to see if anyone else would eat them.  They wouldn’t.  Nonetheless, my confused colleague said ‘yeah, okay’, and watched with curiosity and concern as I tucked the whole packet of Hob Nobs into my handbag.

When I got home, my husband had done some grocery shopping.  There wasn’t any wine but I spied a six-pack of Wagon Wheels that he hadn’t unpacked from the bag yet, so I swiped the whole bag and left the Hob Nobs on the counter.  Later that evening, I visited a friend.  She was pretty pleased when she spotted I had a bag with me, as this usually indicates I’ve brought wine.  She seemed rather confused when I explained that I hadn’t brought wine, but Wagon Wheels, and even more so when I asked if she had anything good that I could swap them with.

Going through her cupboards I found a dubious bottle of banana liqueur, and asked if I could exchange it for the Wagon Wheels.  My friend seemed pretty pleased with the transaction despite her earlier concerns, as she  hates bananas and was not too sure where the banana drink came from in the first place.  I could have told her that I left it in her house several years previously as a means of getting rid of it, but I didn’t.  Instead, I took my banana liqueur, and triumphantly drove home, feeling certain that wine was almost within reach.

It wasn’t until the following day when my husband realised that his Wagon Wheels were missing, and he was not too impressed even when I explained that Hob Nobs are a far superior biscuit.  One thing led to another and I ended up having to confess to my swapping scheme.  He responded with a somewhat irritated “Who does that?” and we sort of just left it there.

He didn’t seem to want the Hob Nobs so I took them back to the office, and in the meantime I dumped the banana liqueur on my husband’s desk with a short note that explained very little.

When I got home from work there was a bottle of a not-bad-at-all French Shiraz/Grenache on the kitchen table with a little note that said ‘If I let you have this, will you stop stealing my things?  Thanks x’


To cut a long story short, my colleague was pretty agitated about the whole Hob Nob issue in the end, so I quietly returned the biscuits to the kitchen and nothing more was said about it.  My friend didn’t do badly at all out of the deal, and I felt guilty enough to replace my husband’s Wagon Wheels in the end.  There is a valuable lesson to be learned somewhere in all of this, but I’m not entirely certain what it is so instead I suggest you get involved in #WineSwap rather than my low budget version of it.  If you are ready to start swapping, feel free to contact the guys on Twitter at @theburntbaker and @Wood_And_Wine .  Enjoy!