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, 14 January 2012

1855 ( devastating article from RVF

The start of Jérôme Baudouin's devastating file on 1855

The February 2012 edition of La Revue du Vin de France carries a detailed six page article by Jérôme Baudouin on 1855 ( charting its turbulent history and failure over many years to either deliver all the wines its clients order or to be a financial viable business. 

Baudouin's is a shocking portrait of a delinquent company with a voracious appetite for capital. Over the years much of this capital has been supplied by Jean-Pierre Meyers – Baudouin estimates that Meyers has 'invested' between 8-10 million euros in this quasi-Ponzi scheme. Another significant investor is Meyers' wife, Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers, daughter of Liliane Bettencourt the L'Oréal heiress. Bettencourt-Meyers is cited as putting in one million euros in August 2008 into Aphrodite, 1855's holding company. 

I can't see RVF's February edition being on the Bettencourt-Meyers breakfast table or in their drawing room. Baudouin says that the Bettencourt-Meyers (B-Ms) are upset by 1855's chronic failure to deliver their clients' wine. I assume that the B-Ms are as upset for 1855's angry and frustrated clients as they are for the damage the association with 1855 does to their reputations. Baudouin suggests that Meyers, who declined the opportunity to comment, is now seeking to distance himself from 1855. If this is the case this may explain why on 22nd November 2011 Emeric de Sauty de Chalon launched the 1855 Junk Club (le Club Actionnaires de 1855). Shares in 1855 are currently trading at 0.07€ a share. Over the past five years they hit a high of 4.40 a share and a low of 0.02. If Meyers has decided that enough is enough, the 1855 Junk Club is unlikely to provide enough capital to keep afloat. 

Fabien Hyon, CEO of the 1855 group, does admit that mistakes have been made and says things will be better in the future. Unfortunately this is a standard refrain from both Hyon and de Chalon – promises but no improvement. If anything the number of complaints appear to be rising and not just for undelivered Bordeaux en primeur but for current wines that ought to be in stock.

Last October Hyon promised Decanter that the 2008s en primeur would be delivered before the end of 2011:

 'In an email to Decanter, Hyon said he was confident that all orders would be fulfilled.
‘As far as the 2008 Bordeaux primeurs are concerned, they are delivered from June through December 2011. Deliveries have started and will take place until the end of the year. All our employees work hard on making sure we do not experience further delays.

‘Regarding the 2009 and 2010 Bordeaux primeurs measures have been taken to improve quality of service since 2010. This will ensure that everything will get better.’

Initially 1855 was due to deliver 2008 Bordeaux en primeur in June 2011. It is now clear that a significant number of 1855's clients are still awaiting delivery of their 2008s with some starting legal action to obtain their orders. It is clear that Hyon's word is as worthless as 1855's junk bonds.

The RVF article ought to be lethal for 1855. Unfortunately RVF's circulation may not be sufficiently large, especially as a significant number of their customers like outside France. Also RVF damaged its credibility by the shamefully poor article about on-line retailers it published in its October 2011 edition.   


See here a video of Jérôme Baudouin outlining 1855's failings.

'Management' and leading shareholders of 1855 
Emeric Sauty de Chalon and Fabien Hyon are the senior 'management' team of 1855 (, 1855.con). Thierry Maincent was an administrateur and one of the directeur général délégués until he resigned his posts for personal reasons on 30th September 2010. Businessman Jean-Pierre Meyers, who is on the boards of L'Oréal and Nestlé, is a long-term shareholder of 1855.  Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers, the daughter of L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, is also an investor in 1855.  


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