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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The further adventures of Barry Gamble

ESW Exports (UK) Ltd - headings' menu includes 'Our Sparkling Wines' 
Menu changed during afternoon of 6th August 2013

Barry Gamble, ex-director of The London Vines Ltd and Imperial Wines of London Ltd (Gamble was appointed as a director on 30.5.2008 and resigned 13.1.2009 an was company secretary from 30.5.2008 - 26.7.2010), appears to have lost interest in wine investment and has moved into drinks distribution through ESW Exports (UK) Ltd and GPW Global Distribution Ltd.

ESW Exports (UK) Ltd was founded on 16th August 2012 and claims to be a specialist in the export of English sparkling and UK Whisky worldwide. The company is registered and said to trade from 85 Leonard Street, London EC2 4QS, telephone: 020-7998 0525.
ESW Exports (UK) Ltd list a number of English sparkling wine producers* as 'our sparkling wines'. This is without the agreement or permission of at least one of England's leading sparkling wine producers. ESW Exports (UK) Ltd had approached this producer and was told that they were not interested in their services. The producer is now looking to get their name and details of the ESW Exports (UK) Ltd site as quickly as possible. 

Although, when visiting English vineyards, Gamble has apparently introduced himself as a director of ESW Exports (UK) Ltd, there is only one director of ESW – 47-year-old Anthony Richardson. He is also a director of Arlington Wine Portfolios Ltd. 42-year-old Robert Phillips (aka James Morrison?), the current director of London Vines Ltd, was previously a director of Arlington Wine Portfolios Ltd.

Gamble says that he has only ever introduced himself as head of operations. However, the English wine producer who initially contacted me about ESW Exports (UK) Ltd described Gamble as director. When one of the UK's leading producers contacted ESW Exports (UK) Ltd (6.8.13) to demand that their name be removed from the 'our sparkling wines' list, they were told that 'they would get their MD Barry Gamble to phone me back'. 

Gamble was a director of GPW Global Distribution Ltd (founded 5th March 2013). Gamble was appointed on 3rd July 2013 and resigned on 30th July 2013. GPW Global Distribution Ltd are 'distributors of premium beverages, lagers, craft beer, spirits and unique non-alcoholic drinks'. According to the company's website 'the team and their partners have an extensive background of import and export, a vast knowledge within the distribution sector.'     

The London Vines Ltd, which offered wine investments, seems to have recently disappeared leaving some of its clients short of the wines they bought. The company used cold calls and very aggressive sales tactics to sell overpriced wines often targeting the elderly. See here and here. Investors concerned about their investments with The London Vines Ltd may well want to contact Barry Gamble at ESW on 020-7998 0525. 

investdrinks has been informed that 'the London Vines Ltd set very strict parameters before potential leads could be called. A third party marketing company would call the customer twice before The London Vines Ltd paid for a lead. Most of these leads would be aged between 35 and 55 years, actively investing and they were all seeking alternative investment markets. Once these parameters were met The London Vines would call the potential customer to offer them a brochure. The allegation that the wines were overpriced is not the case, in fact, for a period of time they were one of the cheapest on the market.'

If I was English sparkling wine producer I would be extremely wary about doing any business with ESW Exports (UK) Ltd or GPW Global Distribution Ltd. Nor would I want to gamble the good reputation of my brand with any association with either GPW Global Distribution Ltd and ESW Exports (UK) Ltd

GPW Global Distribution Ltd   

Update: 6pm 6.8.2013
*: the list of English sparkling wines was removed from the ESW site shortly after this post went live. The GPW site was also amended with the mention of and link to ESW removed.

Compare and contrast: 

ESW Mk2: 'Our sparkling wines' has disappeared leaving whisky 

GPW Mk2: only coconut water and lager remain, ESW Exports has gone

A response from Barry Gamble: 
Last Friday I emailed Barry Gamble to ask what the current status of The London Vines Ltd is and whether all of the wines ordered by its clients had been purchased. As I received no reply I sent an email to his address at ESW Exports Ltd. This time I received a reply (6.8.13):

'I am in receipt of your email dated Friday 2nd August 2013.

I have also been made aware that you have posted a blog concerning ESW and GPW, giving out ESW details for London Vines clients to call. You are hereby instructed to immediately remove that blog as well as your previous blogs mentioning my name as it is clear that your intention is to destroy my reputation in whatever way you can.

I confirm that my solicitor will be sending a formal letter before action to you tomorrow on this matter setting out my position fully.

Yours sincerely,

Barry Gamble'

I would have thought that Gamble would have thanked me for assisting concerned investors, who have sunk life savings with The London Vines Ltd, to contact him, so that he could reassure them that their wines had indeed been purchased. This would appear not to be the case.
Gamble has promised me a letter from his solicitor 'setting out my position fully'. Gamble was the founding director of The London Vines Ltd – being appointed on 26th January 2010 – resigning on 09th April 2013. 

Update: 7th August 2013: Barry Gamble doesn't work here:
Message received from TP, a concerned wine investor with The London Wines Ltd:  
'I have just spoken to a person on the number you provided who was very irate saying that Barry Gamble did not work there and he was not ESW Exports (UK) Ltd. He asked who provided the number and mentioned you name. He asked for my name which I refused to do as if Gamble does not work there then it is of no business of his. He gave the impression that he had been getting a lot of calls?

As a "heads up" he did mention that he would see you in court over this and I just put the phone down.'

All very curious as Barry Gamble has also been the point of contact for several English sparkling wine producers, even as late as last Friday. Gamble has also visited their vineyards introducing himself as a director of ESW Exports (UK) Ltd.

Please contact us:
Contact: Mr Barry Gamble

Detail from above taken from the International Beverage Network

Is Barry Gamble so desperate not to take calls from concerned clients of The London Vines Ltd that staff at ESW Exports (UK) Ltd have been instructed to deny that Gamble has any connection with ESW Exports (UK) Ltd? Or is it true that Barry Gamble has indeed no connection with ESW Exports (UK) Ltd and instead has been passing himself off as a director of the company. If it is the latter possibility, then I assume that Anthony Richardson will want to see Gamble 'in court over this'.    

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Farr Vintners buys Magnum Fine Wines

Farr Vintners has today announced that they have bought long established Magnum Fine Wines Ltd, which was founded in 1985. Alan Rayne, who has been a director of the company since 1992 and its managing director for many years, has decided to retire, which is fair enough given that he was born in the great vintage of 1947.

Magnum has been a properly run wine investment company and had there been more Magnums the image of wine investment today would surely not be sharing the floor with carbon credits, coloured diamonds and the like.

Message from Stephen Browett, chairman of Farr Vintners  
'Farr Vintners is delighted to announce that we have purchased Magnum Fine Wines following Alan Rayne’s decision to retire from the wine trade. I have known Alan for nearly 30 years and feel very honoured that he has chosen to entrust Farr Vintners to look after his customers and their wine portfolios in the future. Alan is rightly proud of the business that he has built up and a key part of his decision to pass the company on to Farr Vintners was that he knows that his customers will continue to receive exemplary and professional service.  

Farr Vintners, like Magnum Fine Wines, holds all of its stocks and customer reserves in the outstanding underground cellars of Octavian Vaults. Magnum’s customers can rest assured that they will continue to have their precious wines stored in the world’s best wine storage facility.

Over the last 5 years alone, Farr Vintners, based in Battersea, South London, has sold nearly £600 million worth of fine wine and is now the world’s leading Fine Wine Wholesaler, storing well over a million bottles of wine on behalf of its customers, who are based in many countries all around the world.

Farr Vintners was the first UK wine merchant to open an office in the Far East when Farr Vintners Asia was established in Hong Kong nearly 20 years ago. Our sales teams in both London and Hong Kong will be very pleased to assist Magnum’s customers and offer genuinely informed and expert advice on all aspects of wine buying, selling and storage. The first contact for Magnum customers in the UK is Farr Vintners Director Tom Hudson ( and in Asia Jo Purcell, Managing Director of Farr Vintners Asia ( However Alan Rayne will be pleased to help and advise customers until he leaves the company at the end of September. 

Over the coming weeks we will be working hard to integrate Magnum Fine Wines’ customer information into our own system and once this is completed we will be able to offer customers access to their portfolios online as well as the wealth of information available to our existing customers. We will contact customers once this process is complete with further details.'

Twelve-By-Seventy-Five Ltd: not for me thanks!

This is yet another recently formed wine investment company: Twelve-By-Seventy-Five Ltd was set up on 24th January 2014. Its two present directors – 27-year-old Sultan Mahmood Rashid and 29-year-old Riccardo Tullio De'nardis were appointed on 8th April 2014.  

'We are experienced wine merchants & brokers'
'We have firmly established contacts with French négociants'

For a company formed in January 2014 they have gained experience and contacts with remarkable speed...  
'Fine wine is an excellent alternative investments.
'The fine wine is booming picking the right wines 
gives significant opportunities for incredible tax-free returns.' 

Fine wine, especially Bordeaux, is not booming as prices have been dropping since 2011. 

Incorrect claims of fine wine investment is free from capital gains tax.
No mention of inheritance tax  

 'Its official Classification (Appellation d'Controlee) 
dates back to 1855 at Napoleon 3rd's request.'

Twelve-By-Seventy-Five Ltd confuse Appellation Contrôlée (started in 1936) with the 1855 classification. 

'We store our wine in London City Bond's (LCB) 
bonded warehouse: Vinothèque in Barking' 

Rather alarming – LCB's Vinothèque is in Burton-on-Trent around 150 miles north-west of Barking! 

 How much are the storage charges? Our strong relationship 
with London City Bond (LCB) gives us 
highly competitive storage rates with two options: 

'highly competitive rates'!

Sultan Mahmood Rashid and Riccardo Tullio De'nardis claim a 'strong relationship with London City Bond' but Twelve-By-Seventy-Five Ltd has no company account at LCB. The 'highly competitive storage rates' claimed by Twelve-By-Seventy-Five are LCB's standard rates from private customers:

LCB's standard charges for private account holders 

The last thing the fine wine trade needs is another 'wine investment' company making false claims. I'll certainly avoid Sultan Mahmood Rashid and Riccardo Tullio De'nardis new Twelve-By-Seventy-Five Ltd, which I hope will be both short-lived and unsuccessful.