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Monday, 22 March 2010

The curious case of Mouton-Rothschild – Cult Wines Ltd and SP Worldwide

I have a decidedly curious tale to tell.

On Friday 5th I received the following message from BZ:

'I have been contacted unsolicited recently by a company called SP World wide purporting to offer an investment in Mouton Rothschild 2008. On checking them out I note that they are registered in Spain and not the UK and the wine would be stored at "Cult Wines Ltd" in Kingston Upon Thames. I have also checked out Cult Wines and they appear to be a recently UK registered outfit (Company no. 6350591).

Today I have received an invoice direct from Cult Wines for one case of 12 at £3656.25 although I have never agreed to purchase!

I am sending the invoice back to Cult Wines saying that I have not agreed to any purchase and I want immediate cancellation.

Your opinion and whether you have heard of these people would be appreciated

I understand from BZ that although he agreed to the salesman from SP Worldwide sending him information he had made it clear that he was not interested in buying any wine from the company. BZ wrote to Cult Wines Ltd on 5th March informing them that he had not ordered the wine, would not making any payment and was returning the invoice.

Followers of this blog will aware that I have had some contact with the Gearings, who run Cult Wines Ltd. I emailed Oliver Gearing asking what the relationship was between Cult Wines Ltd and SP Worldwide and why would Cult Wines Ltd issue an invoice on their behalf? I attached a copy of the invoice removing BZ's name and address.

I received the following response from Oliver Gearing:

'I'm afraid that is extremely distressing and is an obvious attempt to once again cause trouble for our reputation. I and no one at Cult Wines has sent  this, so I assume that someone has taken 70% of what we send out, doctored an invoice page and caused us some more trouble with yourself.

There is no contract, agreement, verbal or written, payments or signatures signed to anything to do with whoever these people are and I will sue anyone who says we do including this so called company. If you print doctored documents on your website about us and cause us more harm you will simply be playing into the hands of jealous competitors who are annoyed by our web presense on, our connections and prices.

I hope that you understand we do not go around handing out invoices to whoever feels like working with us!

Don't you think its a bit suspicous that they included new fields on the invoice that make no sense?'

I undertand from BZ that within a few minutes of me emailing OG, Cult Wines Ltd attempted to phone him. The following day (6th March) SP Worldwide phoned BZ on some five occasions trying without success to contact him. Cult Wines also called again leaving this message:

"Hello BZ this is Cult Wines we would like to speak to you about information which has been forwarded to us by a journalist called Jim Budd, which we believe was sent to you by an agent which we work with. We would like to talk to you before we enter into a legal dispute and would appreciate if you could call us back on 020 85474127 - thank you"
On 9th March BZ received a letter (sent 8th March) from Aarash Ghatineh of Cult Wines Ltd. 'I am very concerned to hear that you received this invoice which was not authorised or sent by anyone at Cult Wine Ltd.' BZ was assured that 'We do not charge 25% sales tax and the price for Mouton Rothschild 2008 is 2,925 a case. This includes storage and insurance.''I hope you understand that we will be following the matter up with the company mentioned and we never has any order reserved for you or by anyone else.'

The envelope containing the 8th March letter from Cult Wines Ltd and the one containing the invoice (4th March) allegedly not sent by Cult Wines Ltd were both franked by the same franking machine.

I asked Oliver Gearing about this and received the following reply:

'With  regards to the franking the answer is quite simple, we work inside an office containing over 150 different businesses or so I believe. Anyone could have sent that within this building. I am certainly not implicating anyone though.' 
As I said a rather curious tale.


  1. these people are clearly happy, Jim you should find out if they are genuine or not, am sure Cult Wines would let you write to them.

    FRIDAY, MARCH 26, 2010

    Cult Wines
    Cult Wines

    I have been a client of Cult wines Ltd for 3 years and have been extremely impressed with the results of my investment portfolio. I have surpassed my goals in terms of performance and I have learnt a lot about trading in the wine world. My support from account manager Aarash has been fantastic and I look forward to a long future with the company.

    -Mr T Lewis

    Having has an interest in fine wine for most of my adult life I can say that both the investment side of Cult Wines and the merchant delivery service has been inpeccable and I have aquired some trully great wines such as Petrus and the rarer years of Lafite Rothschild. The regular updates have also been very helpful. My cellar is looking highly attractive. Many Thanks to Oliver & the team.

    -Mr J Walker

    I started with a small portfolio 2 years ago with Cult Wines having had some experience with other merchants and their choices of stock. I have built a considerable portfolio now made up of first growths from Bordeaux and I continue to see regular profit from my short term options. Leaving my portfolio for the future generations of my family, I can safely say that Cult wines is a fantastic investment and merchant service.

    -Mr T Carling

    The two brothers that run Cult wines have become well liked names around my office, having promoted the investment service to most of my colleagues. The choice of wine and fantastic profit levels made even during these hard economic times have been excellent and I would promote the service to anyone who is need of better returns. Thanks to Oliver & Thomas Gearing

    -Mr C Edwards

    "I have used Cult Wines for the last two years, their service is excellent and it's always a pleasure to talk with the staff. With regular emails keeping me up to date with market performance and latest offers I always know how my investment is performing. With no hesitation I would recommend Cult Wines as a fine wine broker, I look forward to building my portfolio in the near future."

    -Mrs J Brooking

  2. they look like happy customers. I know that they work very closely with Ditton Wine Traders, and Mark Shuringa has nothing but high praises for them. Ditton is one of your recommended brokers and I believe they are working partners with them.

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  5. Anon – I don't have a list of recommended brokers or merchants – rather it is a list of people I would consider buying investment grade wine from but it should certainly be down to any putative customer to make up their own mind.

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  7. Any chance of trying before you buy a case or more?

  8. Unlikely I would have thought but you should check with Cult Wines.