Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Wine investment guide launched amidst collapse of two wine investment companies

Château Pichon-Longueville, Pauillac: a leading Bordeaux Left-Bank property

The launch this week by the WSTA (Wine & Spirit Trade Association) of their wine investment guide is very welcome, although it may have come too late for investor clients of Bordeaux UK Ltd and Blue Chip Fine Wines Ltd as both companies have ceased to trade. 

Bordeaux UK Ltd is due to be placed in voluntary liquidation on Wednesday 16th November at a meeting of creditors at The Marriott, Bexleyheath starting at 11am. Clients of Bordeaux UK Ltd should watch out for calls from Vin Bordelais Ltd, which may well be Bordeaux UK Ltd under a new guise. Further details here and here.

Blue Chip Fine Wines (trading name of Axetrader Ltd): This company has been struck off by Companies House and dissolved. More details here.     

'WSTA Announcement:  
WSTA launches new wine investment guide 
The WSTA has launched a guide to help the growing number of consumers who are investing in fine wine, either as collectors or as part of an investment portfolio.  The guide aims to help wine buyers make the right checks before they part with their money.

Recent years have seen a growth in fine wine purchase but the potentially attractive returns have also sadly attracted some fraudsters, particularly in relation to en primeur - wines available for purchase prior to bottling and release onto the market. 

The WSTA guide, available online at, provides tips to help consumers ensure they don't become victims of fraud.  They include:

"    Choose a reputable wine merchant, checking their trading history, track record and address
"    Verify your order by comparing prices, checking provenance, condition of storage, packaging and delivery. Remember, reliable en primeur traders don't sell before producers have announced their prices
"    Look after your investment, ensuring wine is securely stored in the right conditions and fully covered by insurance
"    Understand the small print, including tax on investment, commission and handling fees and the paperwork you'll receive covering your purchase

The WSTA cautions consumers to be wary of any businesses using hard-sell tactics such as offering guaranteed profits or fast returns.  Fine wine should be seen as a medium to long term investment and as with all investments the value can go down as well as up.

Anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of fraud when buying fine wine should contact the WSTA Fraud Prevention Unit or report it to Action Fraud'

With assistance from a number of people in the UK fine wine trade I wrote the first draft of this investment guide and am very pleased that the WSTA have taken this on and have set up a special website for it. Almost inevitably there are compromises along the way and my original was more hard edged in places, in particular over cold calling. 

I remain convinced that wine investments should not be sold through cold calls and that were these investments ever to be regulated by the FSA (Financial Services Authority) or by its successor, cold calls would be banned just as the selling of mortgages by cold calls is banned by the FSA. 

Stay safe – say no to cold calls.  

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