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, 27 March 2012

The 1855 scandal: an open letter and appeal to journalists and writers attending the 2011 Bordeaux en primeurs’ tastings

Château Lafite: among the en primeurs ordered from 1855 and not delivered

Over the next fortnight the wine world’s attention will be on Bordeaux with the 2011 en primeurs tastings. Many of you will be present there tasting and assessing the new vintage.

1855 (
This coming fortnight is a great opportunity to turn the spotlight on the continuing scandal of 1855 ( and its failure to deliver a significant proportion of the Bordeaux en primeurs ordered by its clients. The failure to deliver has now spread to ChâteauOnline bought by 1855 in March 2011 with customers now find that their 2008 en primeurs have not been delivered.  

Although 1855 is based in France, it has disappointed and long suffering customers throughout Europe, waiting for en primeurs ordered and paid for stretching back to 2002.

Between November 2010 and March 2011 I kept a count of the Bordeaux en primeurs that 1855’s customers reported had not been delivered. The list of wines reached a staggering 500 cases outstanding with a value of just under 300,000€. As 1855 has a policy of delivering outstanding wines to those who shout loudest or who start legal action, and usually in dribs and drabs, it was not practical to continue to record the en primeurs not delivered.

1855 has claimed that it has placed firm orders for all 2009 en primeurs ordered through them. This may possibly be the case but on previous experience it is all too likely that there will be problems with 2009 en primeurs ordered through 1855.  On the La Passion du Vin forum there is a thread called ‘1855 retard des primeurs’ that now runs to an astonishing 122 pages and is full of stories of wines ordered but not delivered, promises made by 1855 and repeatedly broken as well as advice on the legal options available.     

Many customers have concluded that the only way to get 1855 to deliver their wines or obtain compensation is to go to court. Only last week a customer was offered by 1855’s lawyers before a Parisian court double the purchase price in compensation for his undelivered en primeurs from vintages 2005 and 2008. Surely a clear indication that 1855 failed to buy the wines this client ordered.

It would be great if you would warn your readers that buying 2011 en primeurs through 1855 and their associated companies – Cave Privée and ChâteauOnline – is all too likely to lead to disappointment and non-delivery of the wines ordered.

Much better to order en primeurs from more reliable and reputable companies. 

1855 and Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux and the Conseil des Grands Crus Classés en 1855
During your stay in Bordeaux it would also be great if you would express your disappointment at the woeful and supine response by the Union des Grands and the Conseil des Grands Crus Classés to the long running scandal of 1855.

With a few honourable exceptions, such as Château Smith-Haut-Laffitte, the leading estates of Bordeaux have failed to warn purchasers of their wines of the well-documented dangers of buying Bordeaux en primeurs through 1855. Their response to this scandal has been shameful and craven, especially as they are certainly in a position to issue a strongly worded warning in relation to 1855. Instead the Union and the Conseil have sat on their hands and said nothing. 

Please ask the Union and the Conseil when they are going to speak up or are they content to see people who buy their wines fleeced?    

Anything you can do to highlight and warn potential buyers dealing with 1855 will be much appreciated. You have the power to make a difference!


'Management' and leading shareholder of 1855 
Emeric Sauty de Chalon and Fabien Hyon are the senior 'management' team of 1855 (, 1855.con). Businessman Jean-Pierre Meyers, who is on the boards of L'Oreal and Nestlé, is a long-term shareholder of 1855. He is the husband of Françoise Bettencourt, whose mother is the Oréal heiress: Liliane Bettencourt

1855 is a probationary member of La Fevad.

(This open letter has also been posted on Les 5 du Vin.)



1 comment:

Unknown said...


Do you know if exist any Association for affected by

I want to do a complaint for fraud, but if this supposed Association is working on, I thing is better join them.

Best Regards.