In a recent decision out of the United Kingdom, Antonio v. Rokos,  EWHC 520 (Fam) (“Antonio v. Rokos”), an English Court commented on the reasonableness of a wife’s annual budget for wine.
In Antonio v. Rokos, the divorcing couple had a 7-year old child together. The husband, who had assets totaling over £600 million, was paying the wife approximately £12,000 per month in support, pursuant to a separation agreement that had been signed by the parties in 2009. The wife brought an interim court application seeking monthly support payments from the husband in a higher amount than what had been set out in the separation agreement. As part of her application, the mother submitted an “annual budget”, which, interestingly, included a claim of £10,555 per year for “Wine”. The English Court commented on this aspect of the wife’s budget as follows (at paragraph 21):
There is a claim of £10,555 per annum for “Wine”. The child is aged seven and does not consume the wine. This appears to be a mixture of wine supplied by the mother to the parents of children when they visit her home, and some general entertaining. In her statement, she showed that she was allowing an average of £50 per bottle for the wine. It seems to me that in the context of a claim under Schedule 1 to the Children Act, 1989, which must be for the maintenance of the child, I should not allow as high a figure as £10,500 per annum for wine, although I do, in my approach, still allow a significant figure for wine.
While the English Court reduced the wife’s initial budget for wine, it is interesting to note that, in consideration of the parties’ significant wealth and historically lavish lifestyle, the Court did ultimately allow her to include a “significant figure” for wine in her budget. This decision certainly left the wife with nothing to “wine” about!
The English Court went on to reduce several other entries on the wife’s budget, including her claim of over £30,000 per year for a housekeeper and about £20,000 per year on clothing and toys for the parties’ child. Ultimately, the Court held that the husband should pay support to the wife on an interim basis pursuant to the separation agreement, with the validity of the agreement to be determined at a later trial.