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Tuesday 4 December 2012

Cult Wines Ltd rejects WIA

Cult Wines Ltd were invited to be one of the founder members of the WIA. In this statement the co-directors explain why for the moment they have rejected membership:

Statement provided from Tom Gearing & Philip Gearing – Co-Directors of Cult Wines Ltd:

The Wine Investment Association

Cult Wines Ltd would like to recognise the WIA and applaud the founding members for their efforts in launching the introduction of regulation into the fine wine market.

Cult Wines were initially invited to participate as founding members but felt however that there were two key areas that would need to be addressed before we could consider membership;

-          The issue of cold calling is currently approved by the WIA and whilst the members may adhere to certain guidelines we firmly believe that this practice should be not be acceptable under any circumstances.

-          We would prefer to see this type of regulation managed by a completely independent body supported by the members rather than a form of self-regulation.


Cult Wines Ltd are not alone in finding cold calling an unacceptable practice. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) bans cold calling to strangers for investments that come under its remit. Companies may cold call existing customers but only if they are anticipating a call. 

The Wine Investment Association cannot expect to be taken seriously until it bans cold calling to strangers and comes into line with the FSA rules and guidelines. See here.   


  1. Dear Cult Wines

    Pathetic. A lily-livered attempt to pre-ordain something resembling a half reasonable response when facing that awkward moment when you're asked why you're not a member.

    And why would you do this so publicly and finally when there's a consultation period open in which you could communicate your thoughts directly I wonder

    Presumably in an attempt to drum up support from other yellow bellied firms so that you don't end up isolated.

    Well, I for one hope you do. Habpve you considered that you're playing right into the hands of the dodgy companies, or those with something to hide? You're opening an opposition voice that will give the guys the perfect excuse to get off the hook.

    Strikes me that the WIA have made it very easy for firms to join of any shape or size, so there should be no excuse. Even Mr Budd seems impressed at the impartiality and independence of the whole thing, so why aren't you? Have you even read it?

    Perhaps this is just a shameless attempt to get some publicity on their coat tails.

    There are those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what the he'll happened. You appear to be in the last category.

    A Frustrated Observer

    1. Anon. Fair comment on the independence of WIA, although on reflection I wonder a little how thorough Mazars audit can be when it is included in the £1500 membership fee, which may not be the final amount.

      On cold calling the WIA has to be in line with the FSA.

  2. Sure, but the point stands - companies like Cult must of course comment and challenge, but to make such a sweeping and public judgement at this stage is pure self interest and self protection.

    Dodgy companies should be squirming in their seats at the prospect of the WIA. Cult are innadvertantly suporting their ability to keep doing what they're doing by providing a (vaguely) palatable excuse to abstain.

    If every single decent and honerable firm joins, the crooks will be outed.

    1. Maybe Cult Wines have something to hide ??

      I would like to see Cult go through the Audit process as laid down by Mazzars if they have nothing to hide !

      I agree pathetic ! Maybe Jim was right after all about Cult Wines !

    2. Anon. Whatever my issues have been with Cult Wines Ltd I have never suggested that they do not buy the wines their customers order. The audit by Mazars is designed to establish that orders are fulfilled and that customers/investors have good title to their wine.

    3. On cold calling the WIA has no need of a consultation period, they should immediately adopt the FSA's rules and guidelines and integrate them into their Code of Conduct.

      Until they do it will be understandable if 'decent and honorable' companies decline to join an investment association that reserves the right to cold call strangers.

  3. It strikes me that Cult Wines have absolutely NOT rejected the WIA Jim, as your sensational headline says. All they have done is misunderstand the concept of a consultation period. Their statement is, in fact, a perfectly reasonable comment on the code as it stands, and what they would like to see in it. Hardly a rejection, more a valid opinion...

    1. Anon. Thank you. My headline may be stark but I think accurate. Cult Wines Ltd were apparently invited to be founder members of the WIA, they declined. My post makes it clear that they have rejected membership for the moment but have not closed the door to membership in the future.

  4. Dear anonymous and anonymous,

    Thanks, its really nice to see some comments that are neither shrill, alarmist, or laced with outlandish conspiracy theories. The WIA may not be perfection, but its a step in the right direction and certainly better than the situation that exists currently.


    Anon ;)

    1. Anon. It is certainly a step in the right direction – a start but only a start. However, The Code of Conduct does need to be tightened and made more robust before the WIA is launched in February.

    2. Its Peter Shakeshaft here !

      Sometimes for some reason I find it difficult to post in my own name !

      My advice is ... lets all calm down a bit here ! The reason we have a consultation period is to do just that ,,,, consult!

      We all agree (even Jim) that something needs to be done and finally we are ! Firstly lets applaud that and now facing us is the important part for which we all have a responsibility and that is to mould the document into something that is worthy of all of us in the industry !!

      Those that have read the document and spoken to me have stated how well thought out the WIA proposal are. That is not to say all are 100 per cent behind every clause, they are not BUT to a man all are in agreement that we must not continue as we have in the past.

      Some clauses will take pill swollowing for some and a game raiser for others but agreement to a self regulatory body is a must !

      So dont forget 20th January is the date to submit your views and lets be as inclusive as possible, gain as many members as possible, create credibility for the market and change from within !

      Remember the WIA kitemark will be launched in the press as the 'gold standard' for the industry so we need to get it right and adhere to the rules ! THose that are not a member will be left behind and potentially lose business !!

      So its not about individuals or individual company's its about the collective so I beg you, please lets consult through proper dialogue and proper channels for the prize of a better deal for our customers is within our grasp!

      Kind Regards

      Peter Shakeshaft

  5. God, this thread is like a bunch of little girls shouting at each other in a playground: Shrill and meaningless.

  6. Peter Shakeshaft is typically arrogant, is this the same better deal he gave Wills clients.......Its still a voluntary organisation only!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Had it been Berry Brothers, Farr Vintners, Wilkinson Vintners I would be far more respectful and in agreement

    Auditing, even by Mazars can mean nothing, you only have to take a look at all the auditors that helped the banks in the city cover up problems. Auditors are not infallible and do not have x ray vision

    The only regulation would be governmental by someone like the FSA truly independent and no conflict of interest

  7. What? I have just tried logging on to Provenance Fine Wines website and it tells me their account is suspended -
    Are they in trouble???

    1. Anon. Before publishing your comment I phoned Provenance Fine Wines Ltd. I was assured that they are still trading and that their website company is updating some of the pages. Hence the the reason for the suspended message.

    2. The site is now back in action.


    have you heard of this company they are very persistent and take a real harassing approach I noticed that they are from Croydon and kent are they salesmen related to the land banking or some of the people from Bordeaux UK
    as I do not know how they got my details but they know a lot about me