Freedom of Information requests made by the Telegraph and the Cambridge Tab have revealed that Cambridge colleges together spent close to £3 million on wine in the 2012/2013 academic year. This equates to the tuition fees of 300 students, and to a daily wine expenditure in excess of £7,000. Only Lucy Cavendish did not provide figures.

Responding to the findings, a spokesperson for the University said: “The colleges of the University run a substantial catering and conference business and this expenditure reflects that.”

King’s topped the spending list with an expenditure of £338,559 in 2012/13. Varsity recently revealed King's to be the college with the highest number of employees paid below the living wage, for which it has come under heavy fire from the Cambridge Living Wage Campaign.

Ameila Horgan, a student at King’s, expressed her disappointment at the news: “To hear that King's spends £338,559 on wine, around 7 times more than it does on access schemes is a sad indictment of the college's priorities.”

“That King's still does not pay its staff a living wage, while shelling out for vintage champers is hugely insulting to our community of staff, fellows and students.”

Jack McConnel, another student, noted: “It's ironic, given that King's is a college which traditionally prides itself on a more egalitarian outlook. It's also particularly poignant during a period of pressure on the college to pay staff at least the living wage."

Speaking to the Telegraph, Keith Care, King's bursar, said that the college uses its cellars to store wine, which is then sold on to raise money for charities supported by the college. He went on to note that “A very small part of the wine is purchased for use at internal dinners. These dinners are for students and fellows to mark matriculation, admission as a Fellow or graduation.”