LONDON -- They master languages, cultures and the art of discretion -- now Britain's foreign office says its diplomats must acquire a new skill: Wine speculation.
Foreign office minister Henry Bellingham said Friday the department must generate new funds by selling off the most valuable bottles in its well-stocked wine cellar.
Bellingham says no public money will be spent over the next five years on supplies for the store -- used to provide refreshments for government receptions and events. Instead, officials must use the "targeted sale of high-value stock" to fund future purchases and keep guests' glasses full.
The ministry holds stocks of dozens of exclusive vintages, including a $4,000 per bottle Chateau Petrus 1978.