Hmmm. As one who got away with it (ie no lynch mobs) your duties are:
1. Must keep the CO's favourite drink in stock.
2. Must keep the YO's favourite beer in stock
3. Brownie points for keeping sufficient of the Brigade Commander's wife's favourite drink in stock, but not so much that you've got 3/4 of a bottle of it at every stock check until the end of time
(It's half the answer to " £$()&%!!!! 1 bottle Tia Maria, 1 bottle Madeira *$*$&$£%!!!")
4. Dinner nights become a balance of achieving the wines with the least complaints within the budgets set.... I've been faced with a choice of a) Bulgarian red or b) Bulgarian red before now cheap sod, that PMC
5. I have driven past an Oddbins advertising "10% off all cases today", screeched into the RAO's office, and zipped back clutching cash..... "I've got £250 (it was a while back), and need 6 bottles of port, two cases of red, and one case of white - what do you recommend". Those nice people in wine shops can be ever so helpful to junior officers with undeveloped palates
Dome all the glasses with your PEN15 and roll them in dog dandruff so it looks like a Margerhita.
Drink half out of all bottles of white wine. When you are in the P*ssing zone, you can top them up again and no-one will ever know.
On this one you or the mess pay an annual rental for a row of vines, minimum £65. you then get discount on the vinyards wines, some fantastic wine including gold and silver medal winners. Again the wine can be delivered direct to your door, or you can collect it from Calais, even better is to visit the vinyard in Bordeaux.
Have been wines-member in every mess I've been in for some reason...
Wine tastings are definitely the way forward. Averys of Bristol were particularly good and do a decent bottle of house port for about £6 which is far better than most ports double the price.
The PMC will usually rule on wines for functions but you need to make sure that you have a decent cheap wine that the subbies can drink nightly without bankrupting themselves! Make sure you have plenty of Pimms before the Summer begins.
Try to restrict the different types of wine available. A red and white function and house should do in most cases. When I became wines-member in my first regiment I took over about twenty half cases of differing types which were quite expensive and a bugger to get rid of as they couldn't be used at functions.
The only advantage of living in a contract-run mess is when you are wines-member you have very little to do except choose the different wines etc. The stock only becomes the property of the mess the moment it is written down on a chit and sold to an officer so any shortfalls are the responsibility of the contractor!
After drunkenly topping up the fridges at about two am, try not to leave the champagne cellat unlocked only to discover the stock significantly depleted by mess guests the following morning.
Always buy far too much, you will always drink it but running out is totally unforgivable and will get you a bad reputation. The PMC may grumble at you for spending twice as much as you should have done on booze, but that is nothing to the cold hatred in the eyes of your semi-drunken guests and brother officers.
Do a "Blind" tasting, it sorts the wine snobs from those who really enjoy wine.
If you are not sure what to buy go down to your local wine merchant and they will normally sort you out with a free tasting.
Once you have selected your candidates for the various types of wine you will need, everyday, function and special, do a list of whats what and number the bottles then remove the labels.
Have your tasting, and I promise you will have a laugh at the expense of all the budding Gilly Goodens, Im getting Berrys, straw, Cow Sh*t this must be Chateu bloody expensive and of course thats all I drink. The reality will be that it is a cheaky little Chilian for Â£3 a go.
Once the mess has agreed which wines they think are best you can reviel the truth. You will then be able to buy wine that every one likes, and have got the price down. Armed with this information go to your wine merchant and buy lots of each. Not only will you avoid running out, but you have more buying power again keeping costs down.
Once you have wine in the mess promote its consumption by having wime available in the bar.
I did all the above when I did the job, and turned the mess around from having lots of very expensive wime in the cellar that we never sold to having good quality but low price wine being sold every night.
Book yourself and a few close friends into some French Chateau for a bit of Champagne tasting. Give them the impression that you are going to by a record haul of Bubbly and ponce around in all the right gear - tailored blazer, flannels, suede slip ons - and say 'mmm' and 'aaah' in all the right places.
They will treat you like a prince. But when it comes to the end of your stay and you whip out the meagre amount of cash that the mess treasurer has subbed you - beware! 12 bottle of fizz and a sherry for the ladies will not go down at all well with dirty Pierre.
They will hurl onions and insults at your minibus until you are back across the channel.
Wine itself is one thing. But being open to suggestions to personal foibles - single malts, bourbon, particular types of fags is good. Plus as suggested - plenty of snacks. And proper beer. This is particulary important in the grittier northern infantry regiments. If you are in the Blues and Royals best to lay in cases of Grey Goose vodka and cranberry juice I would think.