Wine Name:

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. 





  1. Dear Jim
    Without meaning to be offensive is Leigh Cramer suffering from Verbal Diarrhoea

    We all know litigation is extremely expensive and hardly worthwhile. So why does he make idle threats and boasts such. I have found that those that shout the loudest have most to hide

    You can buy old companies off the shelf so what, a real company will take your remarks with a pinch of sugar and if they are not doing anything wrong would not be bothered about it and carry on with business as usual

    Bromley Kent is full of wine bandits we all know that as well as lanbanking bandits

  2. Anon. Whatever my pledge has always been to correct anything thing that is shown to be untrue or inaccurate.

  3. haha Verbal Diarrhoea

  4. It is very simple and inexpensive to issue a defamation claim in the UK.

    All you need to do is prove that one client in the UK read the article. Listing a firm on a website dedicated to ousting fraud will cause loss and damage to that company, no question about it. It is nonsense to suggest that a reputable firm would ignore Jims website, they would litigate quickly and severely. The web and blogs are a powerful forum and one, which very definitely influence consumer choice.

    Personally I believe Jim is wrong to list the firms on his website that he would buy wine from. There is sharp practice in the wine trade and some of the firms listed are at the forefront of it. For instance who is supplying wine to the “dodgy” firms? the London wine trade of course!. Many of the firms listed are the ones driving up the base price by selling to “dodgy” firms and happily banking the profits .

    If I was a defrauded investor I would be looking to reclaim my money from the firm, which ultimately received it, fraud is easy to prove, just follow the money and go and get it back. Further if one of the firms received money from any of the “dodgy” firms they are complicit at best and co-conspirators at worst. Lets hope a really big case gets under way and some of the directors of the big London brokers get cross-examined. Enabling fraud is a serious offense in the financial services industry. If you don’t believe me follow Madoff, the liquidators are going after money from everyone who received it; it will call go into a pot and then be distributed.

    One thing for certain though, every firm Jim has ever got his teeth into has proven to be a fraud or certainly very dodgy, so come on Mr. Cramer, prove you are innocent and issue against Mr. Budd, if you don’t you are tacitly admitting you cannot defend your business and its practices.

  5. I should make it clear that I haven't suggested that Mr Cramer's business is fraudulent. I have made a series of suggestions that would help the Premier Wine Company to distinguish itself from those other companies who Leigh Cramer alleges have used material from his company's website without permission. I'm hoping to hear from Leigh Cramer whether he will be adopting these suggestions.

  6. Dera JIn what is you definition of wine fraud?????

    sold wines not yet recieved
    sold wines with a commission/ markup

    Is there a definitive price a wine is sold at or is it a case of buyer beware??? because the price is fluid and not set in stone!

    I weould like to hear your definition of fraud, or a re you mixing fraud and sharp practices on pricing as one and the same which they are not!!!

  7. Anon. I'm afraid JIn is away, so Jim is replying.

    I thought I had made it clear above that I have made no claim or suggestion that this company is acting fraudulently.

    Do you mean wine fraud or wine investment fraud? If you mean the latter I would refer you to the verdict in December of guilty on Benedict M over International Wine Commodities Ltd and Templar Vintners Ltd.

  8. Dear Jim

    I see you have a sarcastic personality? anon above asked a reasonable question to which you have evaded the answer
    so what is your definition of wine fraud and your definition of investment wine fraud
    I would be interested

  9. Anon. Thanks for your comment.

    Firstly I think it reasonable to expect the previous anon to take the trouble to spell my name correctly.

    Secondly the question is a large one. Wine fraud is covers counterfeit bottles, malpractice over labelling and in the winemaking etc. All quite separate from wine investment fraud.

    In any definition it is entirely reasonable to refer to past case history where people have been convicted of fraud over drinks investment. Sometimes that has involved promises of excessive and unfounded profits even though the Champagne or casks of whisky were purchased in these cases, as well as claimed expertise that the defendants did not possess. Sometimes, as in the latest case, it is even more clear-cut as in the Templar Vintners case where the wine ordered by clients was not bought.

    I'm certainly not seeking to evade the question but I'm not going to give either of you a simplistic sound-bite.

  10. Anon: 'ex land banking sales manager'

    Whoever this refers to anon I would certainly welcome further details. Thanks.

  11. Fraud is very easy to allege but extremely difficult to prove. In order for fraud to be proved the prosecution must be able to show intent to defraud. In the case of Templar not buying the wine was pretty easy to prove intent.

    If a company is able prove why they chose a markup, that they bought the wine and disclosed everything to begin with, it may be sharp practice, but it is not fraud. That's why Jim does not want to explain fraud, because in most of the cases it is not fraud, it is just selling over priced wine to people stupid enough to part with hard earned cash, in to something they know nothing about.

  12. While largely in agreement with anon here, the crucial words here are 'disclosed everything to begin with'. Selling over-priced wine as an investment while pretending that it is a great deal and not disclosing that it can be purchased much more quickly elsewhere, might be one element in a fraud case when linked to exaggerated promises of high returns.

    This was the case in the actions brought by the SFO against whiksy and Champagne fraudsters. Much easier of course to prove that casks of whisky was a poor/non hope investment than Lafite!

    Once again a reminder that I'm not claiming/alleging that companies that I would not buy for are fraudulent.

  13. DEAR JIM

  14. Thanks anon.


  15. Leah Lixx: Could you please send me details of the court case. Many thanks. Jim

  16. Are The Premier wine company No 1 West street BROMLEY and 2 Park Road BROMLEY the same company.I have tride contacting the frist without success.