Wine Name:

Sunday 27 February 2011

1855 (, 1855.con): nearly 500 cases for 300,000 €!

Château Beychevelle: 2005s and 2007s outstanding

The extraordinary tally of Bordeaux en primeurs not delivered by 1855 to its clients continues to mount and becomes ever more jaw-dropping. Nearly 6000 bottles remain to be delivered for a value of close on 300,000€.

As of today, the tally of wines known to have been ordered, paid for but not delivered has reached 5930 bottles (494 cases) for an estimated value 295,883. The value is the cost to buy calculated by taking the cheapest price credible price from UK merchants on wine-searcher. 

Vintage breakdown

2002           1 bottle             39.93€

2003       118 bottles     10,330.77€

2004       353 bottles     10,808.35€

2005     3734 bottles    170,372.96€ (+ 4 bottles Flor de Pingus 275€)

2006     1131 bottles      49,341.05€

2007       589 bottles      54,755.08€

Although it is clear that 1855 ( got into big problems with the 2005 en primeurs, these figures show that the difficulties had already started with the 2003 and 2004 vintages. Fabien Hyon's (COO of 1855) explanation that the failure by 1855 to deliver the ordered en primeurs is down to the economic crisis of 2008 looks increasingly unlikely. 

Hyon said that only 5% of the en primeurs ordered had yet to be delivered. Not knowing the total value of the en primeur orders placed for the vintages 2002-2007, it is impossible to know whether Hyon's figure is correct. However, 1855's total turnover is around 10 million euros and en primeur is only part of their business, so 5% may be an underestimate.  

Do 1855 have the resources to supply both the undelivered en primeurs from 2002-2007 as well as the 2008s, whiuch are due in June? 

1855 is a member of Fevad (la Fédération des entreprises de vente à distance).

From 1855's press release of 31st January 2011 announcing that they had become a member of La Fevad

'La Fevad accorde depuis toujours la plus grande importance à la promotion de règles fondées sur des valeurs de transparence et de respect du consommateur. Ces règles garantissent l`éthique de la profession et permettent de renforcer la confiance des consommateurs, dans l`intérêt de l`ensemble de la profession.'

'Toute entreprise membre de la Fevad s`engage à respecter les principes généraux et les règles prévus par les codes et chartes de la Fevad, tant dans l`esprit que dans la lettre.

"Le fait pour 1855 d`être devenu membre à part entière de la Fevad et signataire de ses codes et chartes est une nouvelle illustration de notre engagement à bâtir une qualité de service de référence » selon Fabien Hyon, Directeur général de 1855."

Contact Presse
Lucie Delaruelle
Responsable Communication, 1855
Tél. : +33 (0) 1 42 61 06 55 - Email :


Friday 25 February 2011

Voluntary code for wine investment

Readers of Jancis Robinson's site will have seen yesterday a request in her 'Free for all' section for a graphic designer to design a logo for a voluntary code for wine investment.  Jancis' request produced a number of promising responses.

A voluntary code for wine investment is currently being developed with a number of companies who either offer wine investment or who sells 'investment grade' wine. This code is intended reflect existing good practice. It is hoped that agreement can be reached in time for the code to be launched before the 2010 en primeur campaign starts. 

Although it is too early to publish the draft code or to list those companies that have indicated support in principle, any company who would like to see the draft can email me. A number of journalists/writers are supporters of the code in principle pending the agreed text.


Thanks for your two comments below about CB Vintners. Following your mention of here is a piece by Tony Levene on a phone call from a wine scammer. The page also has a video with Tony explaining why he has a blog about scams and why he is called 'The Scam Magnet'. 

NB (28th February 2011)
Guaranteed returnsCompanies selling investments that are regulated by the FSA are not allowed to make claims of guaranteed returns. If  wine investment was regulated the sort of claims claims made by CB Vintners below would not be allowed.

Albany Portfolio Management: price checker

Albany Portfolio Management, who are linked to Albany Vintners, has a useful price checker on their site. This price checker is a slimmed down version of the excellent, which some people can find confusing because it does provide so much information. APM's version calculates an average price for any wine on wine-searcher, so giving an indication what you can expect to pay for a wine. To make sure the results are not skewed the 10% cheapest and 10% most expensive prices are excluded.


Monday 14 February 2011

1855 (, 1855.con): latest update

 Château Gazin (Pomerol): some 2005s and 2006s still outstanding

 The current tally of wines not so far delivered by now stands at: 4782 bottles (398.5 cases) with an estimated value of 239,130€.

There was some good news in early February when a customer received their 12 bottles of 2007. However, this has been far outweighed by details of one very substantial order that remains outstanding.

I continue to keep a tally so please email me the details on

1855 has recently become a member of FEVAD – fédération du e-commerce et de la vente à distance.

From FEVAD's charter:

La Fevad accorde depuis toujours la plus grand importance à la promotion de règles fondées sur des valeurs de transparence et de respect du consommateur. Ces régles garantissent l’éthique de la profession et permettent de renforcer la confiance des consommateurs, dans l'intérêt de l'ensemble de la profession.'

Sunday 13 February 2011

The Premier Wine Company: a clarification received

'I have received the following message from Leigh Cramer of The Premier Wine Company, which I'm very happy to post particularly in respect to the other companies with similar wording on their websites – see here

Dear Mr Budd,

I write with reference to your recent blog. Firstly, I would like to state that there is no correlation or business relationship with The Premier Wine Company and the following companies:

Mortimer House
Fine Wine Solutions
Beaumont Vintners

There was a major staffing change in The Premier Wine Company as well as a director departing and we were the victims of the unauthorised usage of our intellectual copyright amongst other problems- which we are pursuing through the relevant channels. Hence, our website and brochure bear similarities to the above, but not with our blessing. Our company is doing very well and we have a fantastic track record with our suppliers and clients, many of which we are sure would give very positive testimonials. You cannot tar us with the same brush as others. Please do not try to defame our company by suggesting that we are anything other than legitimate or we may consider legal action if it is proven that we have made a loss as a direct result of your comments.

Yes, we do appreciate that there are fraudulent or misleading companies out there, but we most certainly are not. Yes we do charge a small premium for our portfolio management services, which has proven to earn our clients money. Many companies listed in your  ‘companies you might buy from’ charge an exit commission.

What is more?- 10% on entry of say £10,000 or 10% on £20,000 on exit. Clients buy in, but they could be trapped and don’t know how to get out or it may cost them a fortune to exit. Last year I personally purchased Lafite Rothschild 2008 from a company for £7,100 each- they are now trading anywhere between £15,000 and £17,500 from companies that you recommend....I recently went back to the very same company that sold it to me to trade out of my wine and they offered me under £11,000- disgraceful! If I was unable to trade out using our own client base what would the exit strategy be??

Yes we are relatively new compared to some companies that have had the market for themselves for so long, but it is nonsense and anti fair trade not to allow competition into the market, which is quite clearly a benefit to the whole commercial wine trade.

I would love to drink my Lafite. We all like to dream that people want to buy wine for drinking, just like we buy homes to live in, but reality is that the majority want to make a profit. Look at Andrew Lloyd-Webber...surely he did not purchase his large wine collection for his own indulgence yet he sold at auction for a huge profit!? You have to accept that many people are viewing the fine wine market as an investment when more traditional means have been destroyed by the current financial climate.

Yours Sincerely,

Leigh Cramer

The Premier Wine Company
1st Floor, No1 West Street,
Bromley, Kent, BR1 1RE
Tel: +44 (0) 560 368 1174


My comments:
Leigh Cramer is incorrect to say that I'm against wine investment. It exists and clearly in the current economic climate a limited number of wines have certainly out-performed other more traditional forms of investment.

Of course brokers and fine wine merchants charge a commission when selling wine. I have never suggested they do not. As wine investment is generally a medium to long term investment it makes sense to pay commission when you want to sell. Otherwise it is perfectly possible that paying commission on purchase will also mean paying a commission at the time of sale as the company the wine was purchased from could have ceased trading when the client wants to sell. 

Unfortunately wine investment, with the exception of wine funds, is not regulated. Nor is there an industry code of conduct that would provide some guidance to potential investors. Leigh Cramer's experience of a number of other companies using very similar wording to that of The Premier Wine Company illustrates the problem. 

it is nonsense and anti fair trade not to allow competition into the market'. I'm not sure who Leigh Cramer has in mind here. I'm certainly not against new, reputable companies setting up. Indeed some of today's leading wine broking companies have a relatively short history: Bordeaux Index Ltd, for instance, was incorporated in 1996. It is, however, entirely fair to expect a company to establish a track record before being considered as a possible recommendation as a company from whom to buy en primeur.

'unauthorised usage of our intellectual copyright'
Looking at The Premier Wine Company's website I suggest there are several quick ways of distinguishing this site from other companies that Leigh Cramer alleges have used used their text without permission:
• Details of when the company started trading
• Brief bios and contact details of the company's directors
• Price list
• Amend the tax advice.
'Our compliance dept keep a close...' Not all fine wine is considered a 'wasting asset' by Customs & Revenue and may be subject to capital gains. Fine wine may also be subject to inheritance tax.

• Undertake not to use cold calls.

'Please do not try to defame our company by suggesting that we are anything other than legitimate or we may consider legal action if it is proven that we have made a loss as a direct result of your comments.'I have always undertaken to change/amend anything on this blog or if it is shown to be inaccurate or untrue. 




Tuesday 8 February 2011

Seale Wines Ltd – a reminder

A reminder to clients of Seale Wines Ltd that I'm happy to pass their details onto the section in the Metropolitan Police who are investigating this company. You can be assured that your personal details will not be published.  

BBC London Inside Out – wine investment scams

This is now on the BBC iplayer.

I'm delighted to see fraudulent and dubious wine investment companies under the media spotlight and I thought the report was well done. However, my suggestion that the police are not doing enough needs clarification.  

The programme said I thought the 'police were not doing enough'. They didn't use a direct quote and while this is fair comment overall I did say that I was pleased to see current investigations by The Met, City of London police and the investigations by Hertfordshire police.

It was interesting that the anonymous interviewee claimed that Kai Seale was only the front man for Seale Wines Ltd and that it was actually run by someone else. If this is correct who was actually running the company and how many other companies does this shadowy person run?


Following the Inside Out programme I have been contacted by Jeremy Marshall of Irwin Mitchell (details here):

'I am a litigation partner in Irwin Mitchell.  If you have not had any lawyers contacting you already, it is likely that you will do so to suggest that you may want to let the victims know that a bit of collective redress may be possible.  Two immediate issues arise - firstly, there may well be a cause of action against the director as well as against the company and, secondly, there may be issues to confront re a stay of civil proceedings pending criminal.  It is possible to seek judgments against both potential targets, bankrupt/liquidate them and ask office holders to investigate their affairs.  It should also be possible at a relatively early stage to get an order against defendants to disclose assets.  Depending on those assets, a third party funder may support a claim.  I would suggest a representative claim (where all claimants have to have the same interest).  There is also the possibility of a compensation order in future criminal proceedings.

If anyone wants to email me (Jeremy Marshall ) I would happily talk to people.'


I'm very happy to pass on Jeremy Marshall's message for information. Obviously anyone considering this legal avenue will want to decide for themselves whether this will be to their advantage or not.  

The Bordeaux Wine Trading Company

I have received a number of comments and enquiries about last year's trial and have reported that Benedict Moruthoane was found guilty and jailed for 7.5 years for his part in The International Wine Commodities and Templar Vintners fraud. 

With respect to the Bordeaux Wine Trading Company there is to be a retrial in June. As I have no wish to publish anything that might prejudice this trial, I have decided that I will not publish any further comments at this time.     

Friday 4 February 2011

Kai Seale - Seale Wines Ltd – arrest made + BBC programme

Early this morning the Metropolitan police arrested Kai Seale, the sole director of Seale Wines Ltd, as part of their investigation into the company. He was interviewed and bailed pending further enquiries. 

BBC London Inside Out's edition on Monday 7th February 7.30pm will feature dubious wine investment companies. Inside Out have spent six months investigating such schemes and they will be the first feature on Monday's programme, which will be screened in the London area.  Seale Wines Ltd are one of the companies covered. Apparently Sky viewers can pick up the regional variations. From Tuesday the programme will be available on thr BBC iplayer.    


Wednesday 2 February 2011

Very early April fool: 1855 joins Fevad (fédération du e-commerce et de la vente à distance)

 Château Brainaire-Ducru (St Julien): some 2004 and 2005s not delivered 

Incredibly it was announced on Monday that 1855 ( had become a member of Fevad (fédération du e-commerce et de la vente à distance). Some things just take your breath away – is this this really serious or has April 1st come early this year?

Fevad is supposed to give an assurance that e-buyers are dealing with reputable companies. Instead they have accepted 1855 ( that increasingly gives the appearance of being a fraudulent ponzi scheme failing in a substantial number of instances to deliver the en primeurs that their customers have ordered and paid for usually including the transport and tax when the wine is allegedly ready to be delivered.

The latest tally of undelivered en primeurs is 2810 bottles (234 caisses) worth an estimated 165,000€ for vintages from 2002 to 2007! Furthermore it won't be long before we discover whether there are similar problems with 2008 en primeurs.

The press announcement: 

'1855 est devenu membre de la Fevad, la Fédération des entreprises de vente à distance. La Fevad a pour pour mission de fédérer et représenter l'ensemble des acteurs du e-commerce et de la vente à distance, d'accompagner les entreprises et de promouvoir le développement du secteur.

La Fevad compte parmi ses membres les grandes enseignes de vente à distance, les principaux spécialistes de la vente sur internet (pure-players) ainsi que de très nombreux sites de e-commerce issus d'enseignes du commerce de détail, de la presse ou du luxe.

From Fevad mission statement (

La Fevad accorde depuis toujours la plus grand importance à la promotion de règles fondées sur des valeurs de transparence et de respect du consommateur. Ces régles garantissent l’éthique de la profession et permettent de renforcer la confiance des consommateurs, dans l'intérêt de l'ensemble de la profession.

La Fevad dispose d'un code professionnel, mis à jour régulièrement pour s’adapter aux évolutions technologiques et législatives, ainsi que d'une Charte de Qualité adoptée en 1996 et complétée en juin 2000. En 2005, la Fevad a adopté la charte de l’e-mailing élaborée dans le cadre de l’UFMD et approuvée officiellement par la Cnil. En 2006, elle a publié la Charte de Confiance des plates-formes de vente entre internautes signé par le Ministre du Commerce et les 5 plus grandes plateformes concernées.

Toute entreprise membre de la Fevad s’engage à respecter les principes généraux et les règles prévus par les codes et chartes de la Fevad, tant dans l’esprit que dans la lettre.'

Fom the professional code – an undertaking that the company has acccess to stocks of the items it is selling. Clearly this is not the case frequently not the case in respect to 1855's sales of en primeur.

'43. Disponibilité des articles
Les entreprises veillerontà indiquer de manière apparente que leurs offres ne sont valables que dans la limite des stocks disponibles,sauf si elles sonten mesure d'honorer la totalité des commandes. Pour le débutde la période de validité des offres de vente, les entreprises veillerontà disposer de stocks en rapport avec leurs prévisions.'

I urge all those still awaiting for their en primeurs and any other wins ordered from 1855 ( to complain to Fevad. I'm ready to let any journalist wishing to cover the 1855 scam have a copy of the file showing the quantity of wines outstanding.

If Fevad is a serious organisation, it is incredible that they appear not to have checked out 1855 ( properly before accepting their membership.