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

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Flying Corkscrew Ltd/ The Great Gaddesden Wine Company Ltd (Ingrid and Paul Johnson) -– warning: failure to pay for wine

Bottles of Domaine du Vieux Pressoir 
on The Flying Corkscrew site

The unpaid bill from Domaine 
du Vieux Pressoir

I was contacted last week by Virginie et François Prinsloo of Domaine du Vieux Pressoir (AC Saumur). Back on 6th April 2016 the domaine fulfilled a wine order placed by The Flying Corkscrew, Lesser Barn, Gaddesden Row, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, UK HP2 6HG at a cost of 2064 euros. Although the settlement date was 5th June 2016, The Flying Corkscrew Ltd has yet to pay this bill and the company has proved impossible to contact. 

The Flying Corkscrew Ltd was founded on 4th February 2016. Its sole director Ingrid Johnson (DOB: January 1963. Share capital is £1 and held by Paul Johnson.) 

Paul Johnson is the sole surviving director of The Great Gaddesden Wine Company Ltd, which was founded on the 9th January 1995. In 2002 The Flying Corkscrew shop was opened as part of the Great Gaddesden Wine company. It won several International Wine Challenge merchant awards. 

The Prinsloos met Paul Johnson at the 2015 Salon des Vins de Loire in Angers. He placed a first order and the Prinsloos were very pleased to have found a UK importer. They were less pleased when the order wasn't paid until seven months after the due date. 

Johnson was at the Loire Salon the following year when he apologised for the delay in payment, promised that this would not happen again and asked to place a new order (see above), which was honoured but payment is now more than a year outstanding. 

The Vieux Pressoir are not only Loire producer to experience problems with the Johnsons and their companies. 

Philippe Gilbert (Domaine Philippe Gilbert in Menetou-Salon) told me: 'Cette boître est bizarre et c'est un vraie problème (this is a bizarre company and a real problem). Already a year ago I was contacted by colleagues in Muscadet who asked whether I was having difficulty getting paid. I am very happy to say that I haven't worked with them for some time. It took them a year to pay their last bill.'

Looking at the accounts for The Great Gaddesden Wine Company Ltd you would think that Johnson would have been aware that it might well be a problem paying for the wine he ordered from Le Vieux Pressoir in early 2016. From the invoice the order was placed with The Flying Corkscrew, the trading name of The Great Gaddesden Wine Company Ltd. 

The Great Gaddesden Wine Company Ltd
accounts to 30.6.2015: loss of £1.153 million 

The accounts to 30th June 2015 are the last set from The Great Gaddesden Wine Company Ltd to be filed with Companies House. They show a loss of £1.15 million lowered to £845,484 when set against the share capital (£307,800). 

As the figures for 2014 indicate, this is not a sudden financial deterioration as the adjusted loss then was £707,860. Indeed The Great Gaddesden Wine Company Ltd's financial position has been getting steadily worse since the year to 31st March 2008 when the adjusted loss was £131,304. The loss has increased steadily ever since with the loss (excluding share capital) hitting £802,109 (£494,309 adjusted loss) for the 31st March 2012 and just over £1 million (£606,533 adjusted) for the year to 30th June 2013. 

The accounts to 30th June 2016 have been overdue since 31st March 2017, which triggered the first Gazette notice of a compulsory strike off for non-compliance on 30th May 2017. The compulsory strike off has now been suspended due to an objection being lodged.  This was filed on 8th July 2017. 

Normally a company can stop a striking off action by filing the overdue set accounts or confirmation statement (previously the annual return). If the action is suspended this is usually at the request of a creditor.    

Anyone considering trading with Ingrid Johnson and/or Paul Johnson or their companies – The Great Gaddesden Wine Company Ltd and The Flying Corkscrew Ltd – should be aware that they may not get paid. 

(Anyone wishing to check on a UK limited company or plc should use Companies House Beta Service, which provides all filed information for free.)

Update 12th July 2017 
Payment problems with Paul and Ingrid Johnson's companies – The Great Gaddesden Wine Company Ltd and the Flying Corkscrew Ltd – go back further than I had realised – clearly back to 2008 – as a comment posted on Les 5 du Vin blog shows: 

Thierry Rodriguez, a producer in the Languedoc 
'I have had the same problem with this company in 2008. The invoice dated November 2008 was finally paid in July 2010 after the intervention of the Comercial Mission at the French Embassy.' 

Thierry Rodriguez (Prieuré de Saint Sever) is a producer (the 20-ha Mas Gabinele established in 1998) and négociant based in Laurens in the Languedoc. Details here

Update 16th July 2017

Accounts to 30th June 2016

The overdue accounts to 30th June 2016 were filed at Companies House on 14th July 2017. The strike-off action has now been discontinued.  

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