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

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

From Vineyards Direct (Ireland): Stuart when will Pat get his wine?

 Twitter (26th July 2014): Stuart Smith to Pat  – 'Your 11's are lying lcb'

The twitter conversation that lead to response 
from Stuart Smith (From Ireland's From Vineyards Direct)

 Stuart Smith: managing director at From Vineyards Direct (Ireland) Ltd 
 Smith's background
Back on 25th and 26th July I was briefly involved in a Twitter conversation about From Vineyards Direct Ireland Ltd. A Pat Casey contacted Tom Doorley (Food and drinks writer and broadcaster, Irish Daily Mail columnist) to inquire whether From Vineyards Direct (Ireland) Ltd was still trading. Casey had bought en primeur two cases of 2011 Bordeaux from the company – a case of Beaumont and one of Potensac but had yet to receive his wines, despite the wines being listed for sale on-line.

Casey contacted Stuart Smith in early April this year. Pat Casey reports that Stuart Smith: 'told me they were at LCB and would get back to me.  That’s the last I heard from him! I sent a few more emails with no response over the course of a couple of months.'

However, as we can see the twitter conversation did finally produce a response from Stuart Smith, whose Linkedin page describes him as managing director of From Vineyards Direct (Ireland).

Soon after Smith sent Casey this email on 30th July 2014:   

What’s a good number to call you on – I’ve arranged to have the wine shipped on our next pallet from LCB in the UK. Will either be here late next week or on the Monday the week after.

Apologies for the delay, but as I mentioned on twitter I ahve been on compassionate leave and this has caused huge issues.

Best Regards,


Stuart Smith
From Vineyards Direct Ireland Ltd
'The Workshop'
35 Yellow Walls Road
Co Dublin
01 845 7645 or 087 7580230'

According to Stuart Smith, Casey should have received his wine by Monday 11th August (2014). Sadly the two cases of wine have yet to arrive and Stuart Smith is again proving very difficult to contact as an email from Casey today (20.8.2014): 

'Just to keep you updated: nothing much to report unfortunately! After his Twitter post of 26th July, I received an email from Stuart at FVDIE on 30th July (copied below) stating that my wine would be available within two weeks; I forwarded my phone number to him that day. I’ve heard nothing since though; this includes no response to an email I sent on 12th August enquiring as to when I would receive either my wine or a refund.

Who knew it was so difficult to buy decent wine?!'


Hopefully this is an isolated case. However, according to Duedil the last acconts filed for From Vineyards Direct (Ireland) are to 31st December 2011 and showed 500K of liabilities. The accounts to 31st December 2012 now overdue. On 14th February 2014 the original directors, including 44 year-old Stuart Smith, all resigned – see:     

Pat Casey was told back in early April that his 2011s were at LCB (London City Bond). if this was true, why is he still waiting to receive his wine, please?


Luc Charlier said...

Why do people not buy straight from a producer or, if not possible, from a decent wine merchant with an "established" reputation? Good question. Answer: probably because they've found a markedly lower price. They should then ask the right question: why is it that much cheaper with that company?
Most "normal" wine merchant won't charge anything (or only a small fee) for shipping orders of a certain magnitude. Your Mr. Casey wanted 2 cases (in Bordeaux, mostly 12 bt each I suppose)of already rather expensive wine so logistics should not be te main issue. In UK (or Ireland) I don't know, but in other European countries, these two wines are not that hard to get. Château Potensac typically produces some 250.000 bt and Ch. Beaumont 600.000 bt.

Jim Budd said...

Fair questions Luc, although From Vineyards Direct (Ireland) Ltd was founded in 2012. As you know it is difficult/ impossible to buy top Bordeaux direct.

Luc Charlier said...

The "place de Bordeaux" doesn't like people to buy "en direct", you are right. But, Delon vineyards being what they are, I'm sure they will obligedly send any potential buyer an extensive list of their retailers in UK and Irl, won't they?
I understand you are chasing the companies with deviant behaviours, and I praise you for it, but the point remains: why should customers need to resort to these people? Surely, there are plenty of wine "shops" around, certainly if it is Bordeaux you are looking for. On top of it, it is such a pleasure to physically grab or hold a case of bottles of good wine, put it at the back of your car, place it where you want it in your wine cellar and so on ...
In Vino Pigritia ?

Pat said...

Pat here, purchaser of the wines. Luc, I think perhaps you miss some context. FVD have been regularly lauded in the wine press as an excellent source for good value wine. They have wine club links with national newspapers. They ARE a "decent wine merchant with an established reputation". Or at least they were.....
Note that I purchased these wines en primeur two years ago, along with a third (rather more expensive) wine which I did receive some months ago after some to-ing and fro-ing with FVD.
As to purchasing direct - I haven't come across it before. These three purchases were my first (and last!) en primeur purchase - an attempt to make the most of my limited budget. My experience has been rather disappointing I'm afraid!

Luc Charlier said...

Thank you, Pat. This added info of course confers another "lighting " on the topic. Still, I notice you are disappointed and rightly so. My question remains - and with more acuity when you talk of "limited budget", whatever this might mean - why don't you buy wines which are readily available, probably better/more ready for drinking and which you can probably taste prior to purchasing them. How sure can you be of the "discount" while buying "en primeur"? No "expert" can foresee the future pricing of wines. And, again, while Potensac and Beaumont are good wines indeed, you can find scores of similar alternatives and, their produced volume being so large, chances are you will easily find them two or three years later as well. Had you told me it is La Romanée Conti from the year of birth of a child or something like that,that would be another piece of cake altogether (and another price tag).
Mind you, I don't try to judge, let alone criticize your option, I'm just trying to understand the rationale.
I happen to be a producer myself, in the South of France, with a limited number of bottles each year(one-man vineyard). They say the wines are decent and we serve some 40 Michelin star-rated restaurants in the southern half of France. But even so, I wouldn't know why people might want to purchase "me" in advance, even though I would love it: cash is always in short supply at home.
Thank you again for sharing your view on the subject.

Anonymous said...

Could I suggest that you contact From Vineyards Direct head office in the UK to find out what the story is? FVD (Ireland) as far as I understand it is just a subsidiary of the UK company.

Could I also suggest Jim that you post some kind of clarification regarding your original use of Wines Direct logo in the post? Wines Direct is an extremely reputable, family owned business whose founder and managing director sadly passed away yesterday at a very young age. I'm sure it would be appreciated. The use of their logo may not have been commented upon but I'm sure it didn't go unnoticed.

Jim Budd said...

Anon. I am very happy to confirm that the use of the Wine Direct was a complete and unintentional error on my part. It was removed immediately I was made aware of my error.

The Irish company was a subsidiary at least until the original directors resigned earlier this year. These directors would have been in place when Pat ordered his wine.

Anonymous said...

me too
no reply for months now to email or phone queries re my en primeur order
should they now be closed down in case another person orders unsuspectingly
website still takes orders

Gazza1309 said...

I have just cancelled an order with From Vineyards Direct order placed earlier this month. I received acknowledgement of my order, to be followed later with a dispatch email. Nothing happened, so I rang them. The phone was either not answered or a message saying call back later was headed. Tried contacting by email, reply. so just cancelled the order through Paypal and got nearly a full refund. A handling charge was made of £1.26 which means I am still slightly out of pocket, but my other £75 is back in my bank. seems the company is still not good at delivery.