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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.


  1. Dear Jim

    Received this by email

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  2. Dear Jim

    note the use of the word correspondence Correspondence Address:

    Classic Bordeaux Vintners,

    servers are based in the US
    ]Visit for more information about

    Domain name:

    Registrant Contact:
    Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc.
    Whois Agent ()

    PMB 368, 14150 NE 20th St - F1
    Bellevue, WA 98007

    Administrative Contact:
    Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc.
    Whois Agent (
    Fax: +1.4259744730
    PMB 368, 14150 NE 20th St - F1
    Bellevue, WA 98007

    Technical Contact:
    Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc.
    Whois Agent (
    Fax: +1.4259744730
    PMB 368, 14150 NE 20th St - F1
    Bellevue, WA 98007

    Status: Active

    Name Servers:

    Creation date: 25 May 2010 18:30:00
    Expiration date: 25 May 2011 13:30:00

    17 Ensign House,
    Admirals Way,
    Canary Wharf,
    E14 9XQ

    Call us on:

    +44 (0) 20 7863 7797

  3. Anon. Many thanks. Please see addition I have made to the post above.

  4. please jim clarify i dont know whether you are advocating this "claim" or not. Further more how the hell are they getting away with the guarantee and if they are then we should expect everyone in the industry to start this practice.

    Jim no need to put the below text on comment

    ps. I regularly comment on your website and i think you should have an open forum on the "code of conduct" so that everyone in the wine business can have their say even if they are marking wine up 40%. I know you can leave comments here but how about setting up a section for it

  5. Anon. If you mean am I advocating CB Vintners' 'guarantee'? Certainly not see addition to post.

    I'm reluctant to post a draft of the proposed code of conduct. Will certainly do so once there is an agreed text. The draft text rules out any claims of guaranteed returns.

  6. The company is based overseas, so they are not bound by UK law

  7. Ok but in order for firms to REALLY adopt this code I do think its best that you do publish something before it comes in rather than just "enforcing the code" let the SMALL firms have their say and not just the old boys in the market dictating what they believe is right after their 300 year run.

    I wonder if in their early history they put a mark up on the wine which exceeded 40%?? you don't have any ancestors that did this back then Jim " Jim Budd 1st" perhaps?

    All jokes aside will these merchants be held to the code of conduct?

    and if so unless this code of conduct is fair to all legitimate sellers even those like me who mark up 40% which I know you have a problem with even though you admit that we still make people and I quote you Jim "good profit" . Then who do the merchants expect to sell their wine to.

    Surely if a company doesn't sign up to the code of conduct then the merchant selling them the wine is as big a culprit as the company no?

  8. Yes they are registered in Delaware with a virtual office in the UK. See:

    Given that CB/ Classic Vintners are based overseas and claim a guaranteed return, these are two good reasons why I wouldn't buy wine from them.

  9. Anon. If you would like to email me I would be very happy to send you a copy. The draft code has gone out to a number of companies of varying size and has certainly gone to anyone who has asked for a copy.

    Perhaps you could could direct me to the 'good profit' quote please?

  10. Anon. The code proposed is voluntary and will essentially be based on trust. It is proposed that there will be a panel of three referees – independent of the trade – wo will consider any complaints.

    The draft code does not include any clause about not to supply.

  11. There needs to be a distinction between mark-up and profit. There is no doubt that if you take the average price from winesearcher or Liv-Ex mid-price and add 40% that's a markup which is not going to make anyone any money anytime soon. However if you sell at around the average prices, but make 70% then good luck to you.

    The big London merchants are not involved in wine investment, they are merchants who try and make as much selling wine as they can. If someone buys wine from them for investment, the merchant has made no warranties about investment, therefore the merchant cannot be held responsible if the person loses money.

    What needs to be tackled are the cold calling investment houses which make investment representations, but sell above retails.

  12. Dear Anonymous

    "What needs to be tackled are the cold calling investment houses which make investment representations, but sell above retails."

    I splitting hairs as their is no actual price a wine is sold for, it varies globally and from established Vintner to Broker even amongst the one Jim recommends

    Even the established ones will push prices up to see how elastic the market is!!!!unquantifiable

  13. also I agree with not making investment representations. However cold calling is ultimately the most direct way of letting people know about this amazing market, at a time when most traditional markets cant even match half the return that CERTAIN wines have achived.

  14. Anon. Cold calling is also the quickest way to annoy a good number of people and put a question mark over a firm's reputation.

    Were wine investment in the UK to be regulated then it is highly likely that cold calling would not be allowed.