Recent years have seen a growth in fine wine purchase but the potentially attractive returns have also sadly attracted some fraudsters, particularly in relation to en primeur - wines available for purchase prior to bottling and release onto the market.
The WSTA guide, available online at http://www.investinginfinewines.co.uk/, provides tips to help consumers ensure they don't become victims of fraud. They include:
" Choose a reputable wine merchant, checking their trading history, track record and address
" Verify your order by comparing prices, checking provenance, condition of storage, packaging and delivery. Remember, reliable en primeur traders don't sell before producers have announced their prices
" Look after your investment, ensuring wine is securely stored in the right conditions and fully covered by insurance
" Understand the small print, including tax on investment, commission and handling fees and the paperwork you'll receive covering your purchase
The WSTA cautions consumers to be wary of any businesses using hard-sell tactics such as offering guaranteed profits or fast returns. Fine wine should be seen as a medium to long term investment and as with all investments the value can go down as well as up.
Anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of fraud when buying fine wine should contact the WSTA Fraud Prevention Unit firstname.lastname@example.org or report it to Action Fraud http://www.actionfraud.org.uk/report_fraud.
WSTA Chief Executive Jeremy Beadles said:
"Buying fine wine is a pleasure and can be a profitable one but as with any type of investment it makes sense to take some precautions before you part with your cash.
"Our website guide provides some simple tips to follow to ensure you don't get caught out. Making some basic checks about the company you're dealing with and its track record is a good place to start."