Backlash over “rip-off” Christmas market mulled wine

A skip at the Christmas markets piled high with empty boxes of Harvest Fruits.  Picture: Deadline

A skip at the Christmas markets piled high with empty boxes of Harvest Fruits. Picture: Deadline

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WINTER festival chiefs have admitted selling £3-a-bottle mulled wine for well over four times its retail price.

An eagle-eyed visitor to Edinburgh’s Christmas market spotted empty cartons of Harvest Fruits mulled wine in a skip at the event.

They don’t charge it to cover overheads, they charge it because they can and people pay it

Online critic

The beverage is sold for £3 for a 700ml bottle by stores such as Iceland but festival chiefs at the German-style market are selling 200ml cups of the same mulled wine for £4 each.

Bottles are selling for the equivalent of £14 each, a mark-up of 366% on the retail price alone.

The actual mark-up is likely to be much higher because the festival is thought to be buying the wine at wholesale rates.

The disgruntled visitor posted an image of the dumped boxes online with the comment: “Harvest mulled wine - £3 a bottle in Iceland foods, £4 a cup at Edinburgh Christmas. Ho ho ho.”

The row blew up the day after Sunday night’s opening, complete with a fireworks display, of Edinburgh’s Christmas.

But the celebrations have turned sour after the skip picture was posted online. One social media user commented: “That explains why it’s f****** rank at least.”

Another allowed for the cost of putting on the event but added: “It isn’t cheap, but the profits they make even after deducting that are absolutely huge.

“They don’t charge so much because they need to cover overheads; they charge it because they can and people will still pay it.”

Another media user wryly commented: “The last few years you’d get a more authentic German market experience going to Lidl or Aldi.”

The event came under fire in 2013 after revelations that pints of beer were being sold for as much as £6, whilst a single crepe could cost as much as £7.50.

The “Edinburgh Christmas” event is run by entertainment company Underbelly, which was founded in 2000 to manage a single venue at the Edinburgh Fringe.

A spokesman for Edinburgh’s Christmas said: “Our mulled wine is served in 200ml cups and is competitively priced. It would be difficult to find a similarly priced beverage within the city centre. Visitors are able to seek alternatives from within the large choice on offer in the city centre.” Singing star Susan Boyle switched on Edinburgh’s Christmas Lights on Sunday during the Capital’s Light Night spectacular.

The Britain’s Got Talent singer was the main attraction at the event which will also include performances from 53 community groups.

Susan, from Blackburn, said she was “thrilled” to participate and said she has visited Edinburgh’s Christmas lights since she was a youngster.