Withnail director drank 200 bottles of fine wine in two weeks

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  • Friday 9 May 2008

The director of cult comedy film Withnail & I drank 200 bottles of blue chip Bordeaux in just two weeks, he has revealed.

Withnail

Bruce Robinson, who wrote and directed the 80s comedy film, bought the bottles from a closing hotel in Manchester in the late 60s during his career as an actor.

According to Robinson, the proprietor said the contents of the hotel cellar was ‘muck’.

The 200 Bordeaux wines, from the 1945, ’47, ’53, ’59, and ’61 vintages, including Chateaux Beychevelle, Petrus and Margaux were bought for £200 (US$389, €252) by the director and a friend.

Robinson, talking at a recent Withnail & I renuion at London’s British Film institute, said he had originally planned to take the wines to London to sell on at auction house Sothebys to, ‘make some money’.

‘We drank the lot in two weeks,’ said Robinson. ‘It was saveloy and chips with…shall we have the Beychevelle or Margaux?’

Wine features prominently in Withnail & I (pictured). The closing scene shows Richard E Grant’s eponymous character Withnail taking swigs from a bottle of 1953 Margaux while reciting the soliloquy ‘What a piece of work is a man’, from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, to the wolves in London zoo.

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