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Death By Doilies…
As Abigail’s Party celebrates its 30th anniversary, Rosemount reveals how the dinner party has changed since the not so-domestic bliss of 1977

With the iconic 1970’s comedy Abigail’s Party celebrating its 30th Anniversary today, new research from Australian wine brand Rosemount discovers that dinner parties nowadays are more Sauvignon Blanc and informal food than Cinzano and canapés.

In 1977 small talk and doilies at dinner parties were the order of the day, but research released today from Rosemount reveals that the days of formal and awkward social gatherings with neighbours and acquaintances are long gone.

14% of the UK admit they make no effort at all when it comes to entertaining, and a third of the nation choose only to entertain close friends and family around the informal setting of the kitchen table.

In fact, 12% of the nation simply order in takeaway or buy ‘ready to cook’ food to feed guests rather than reaching for a recipe.

Like Alison Steadman in the 1970s, dinner parties still remain high on the list of ‘To Dos’ at the weekend with 90% of the UK population still regularly hosting them and despite the informalities increasing nearly a third of the population are still prepared to spend over £50 each time they play host.

Jo Pratt, TV cook and regular dinner party host comments: “Years ago, a dinner party would be planned weeks in advance and be very formal with everyone wearing their best clothes. These days it tends to be much more spontaneous and involve different sets of friends and all kinds of food. Taking Inspiration from popular cooking programmes and a general increase in ‘foodie’ culture, we just love to invite our friends over to show off our culinary skills. Dinner parties are here to stay, so long as the main ingredients are good food, good wine, good friends and good fun.”

However for those who grew up in the era of Abigail’s Party - entertaining is still very much seen as a way to impress. Half of over 50s say they make a special effort when it comes to setting the table and 55% admitting they use it as an excuse to dust down their best china.

Rosemount’s survey clearly highlights that although times and style have changed over the last 30 years, dinner party put offs haven’t. Over bearing Beverley would still have guests looking to make a quick exit; bickering hosts were rated as the top pet hate for dinner party guests with 27% citing it as their biggest turn off. Following closely second with 20% was sitting next to someone dull or who had had too much to drink.

James Craig-Wood from Rosemount Wines, who conducted the survey, says: “The sweet Rieslings of the seventies are a thing of the past – we have seen wine styles change in line with dining habits over the years. Liebfraumilch was the tipple of choice in the 1970’s, but with the increasing diversity of food flavours, and the ever expanding wine aisles, New World wines such as bolder, spicier Shiraz and lighter, drier whites are now the stylish wine stars at the dinner table. Our survey has shown, that regardless of taste, one thing remains the same – wine is still central to the whole theatre of entertaining.”

The survey reveals:

•84% of guests choose wine as the preferred gift to bring their hosts

•Men appear to be the most generous dinner party guests with nearly a quarter spending over a tenner on a gift for their hosts

•A quarter of guests admit that they buy a good bottle of wine so as not to be seen as a cheapskate

•17% of people choose the calibre of wine on the basis of the closeness of the friendship

Whether you are hosting a dinner party or looking for the perfect bottle of wine to take to one, Rosemount Wines has something to suit everyone’s taste. From their range of Diamond Cellars wines at £6.99 to their exquisite Diamond Label range at £7.99 and if you really want to spoil your host or impress your guests Rosemount’s Show Reserve range starts at £11.99 and their Flagship range starts from £20.

Every bottle of Rosemount wine comes in an eye-catching diamond shaped bottle which is guaranteed to look stylish on any dining table. Rosemount Wine is available at your local supermarket. For more information on the Rosemount range visit or call 020 8843 8411.


Notes to editors:

All research was conducted by between 28th September – 4th October 2007. Total sample size was 1,416 respondents aged 16+ in Great Britain.

For further information, survey results, samples or tasting notes please contact:

Sara Bailey, Helen Mitchem or Julie Doyle, Rosemount press office at Publicasity
Tel: 020 7632 2400 or email:

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