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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Farr Vintners buys Magnum Fine Wines

Farr Vintners has today announced that they have bought long established Magnum Fine Wines Ltd, which was founded in 1985. Alan Rayne, who has been a director of the company since 1992 and its managing director for many years, has decided to retire, which is fair enough given that he was born in the great vintage of 1947.

Magnum has been a properly run wine investment company and had there been more Magnums the image of wine investment today would surely not be sharing the floor with carbon credits, coloured diamonds and the like.

Message from Stephen Browett, chairman of Farr Vintners  
'Farr Vintners is delighted to announce that we have purchased Magnum Fine Wines following Alan Rayne’s decision to retire from the wine trade. I have known Alan for nearly 30 years and feel very honoured that he has chosen to entrust Farr Vintners to look after his customers and their wine portfolios in the future. Alan is rightly proud of the business that he has built up and a key part of his decision to pass the company on to Farr Vintners was that he knows that his customers will continue to receive exemplary and professional service.  

Farr Vintners, like Magnum Fine Wines, holds all of its stocks and customer reserves in the outstanding underground cellars of Octavian Vaults. Magnum’s customers can rest assured that they will continue to have their precious wines stored in the world’s best wine storage facility.

Over the last 5 years alone, Farr Vintners, based in Battersea, South London, has sold nearly £600 million worth of fine wine and is now the world’s leading Fine Wine Wholesaler, storing well over a million bottles of wine on behalf of its customers, who are based in many countries all around the world.

Farr Vintners was the first UK wine merchant to open an office in the Far East when Farr Vintners Asia was established in Hong Kong nearly 20 years ago. Our sales teams in both London and Hong Kong will be very pleased to assist Magnum’s customers and offer genuinely informed and expert advice on all aspects of wine buying, selling and storage. The first contact for Magnum customers in the UK is Farr Vintners Director Tom Hudson ( and in Asia Jo Purcell, Managing Director of Farr Vintners Asia ( However Alan Rayne will be pleased to help and advise customers until he leaves the company at the end of September. 

Over the coming weeks we will be working hard to integrate Magnum Fine Wines’ customer information into our own system and once this is completed we will be able to offer customers access to their portfolios online as well as the wealth of information available to our existing customers. We will contact customers once this process is complete with further details.'


  1. Hi Jim

    I have been offered Eglise Clinet 2013 12 X 75CL En Primeur by The French Wine Exchange for £1420. I have contacted a number of different merchants and have found the case for £200 less. I also note that one of the directors, Joe Williams, was my portfolio manager at Vin-X, a company you have named and shamed on your blog.

    1. Anon. Yes - wine-searcher shows that prices start from £1200.

  2. I have also been offered Haut Brion 1990 at an inflated price. Do you know anything about the company in question?

  3. What price please? Were you cold called?

  4. I was. They knew I was a client of Vin x already which seemed strange. It was offered at £5000 a case plus a 15% brokerage fee

    1. Anon. As you will have found prices for the Haut Brion 1990 start at £4500. The quoted price (ex-fee) is high but perhaps not excessively so – depends upon what you were told and if there were comments about returns. Of course by the time you add on the 15% management fee the case has certainly come decidedly expensive.

      The French Wine Exchange Ltd website has echoes of many similar sites found over the past ten years or more. Long experience etc. but no details of the directors. Claims of free of capital gains, Mayfair serviced office.

      I certainly wouldn't want to pay the 15% management charge not least as I assume to offer portfolio management the wine would probably be a customer reserve account under the FWE umbrella. If there is one lesson to be learned from the Premier Cru Fine Wine Investment Ltd shambles, it is that owners of fine wine in bond should open their own accounts. Otherwise you have no control over your wine.

      The company was formed on the 4th April 2012. The only accounts filed up to 30th April 2013 shows liabilities of £28.1K and a net worth of - £5.6K. The share capital of £100 is equally split between the two directors – 28-year-old Joe Williams and 29-year-old Amir Nour-Eldin.

      I would want to deal with a more finanacially secure company.

  5. Offered returns of 15-20% on HB 1990 and 50% on Eglise Clinet 2013 after the 2012 performed so well. The portfolio manager advised me I would break out of the management fee in year one.

  6. Anon LWEX Ltd and The London Wine Exchange are two different companies, which one are you referring to please?

  7. Amended comment by anon:

    Dear Jim

    I was approached last year by a company called LWEX Ltd who sent me a prospectus claiming that the wine market could be by far the best investment I had seen in years.

    Initially I wasn't interested but after a few very persuasive discussions I decided to give the market a go.

    I believed until fairly recently that everything was going as planned as my contact at the company informed me that my wines were showing me a profit and based on the fact that my portfolio was increasing quite substantially in value I took a number of other recommendations.

    I have recently been doing further research on the market and I am now in a position where I am very much alarmed with what I have found.

    The company were recently listed as in liquidation but now it appears not ?

    Upon telephoning the bonded warehouse where my wines are reportedly held I was informed that they have no record of me ?

    Contact with my agent seems to have become non existent ?

    I found your website through my research into wine scams and would like to know as the company appear on your list of who not to buy from if you can give me any further details ?


    1. Anon. Apart from urging you to file a complaint through Action Fraud, there is little I can suggest. It looks as though LWEX Ltd are in the process of being struck off presumably for compliance as the annual return is overdue since March 2014.

  8. Hi Jim, do you know why Vin-x now have the same office address as Provenance Fine Wines? (140 Buckingham Palace Road). Are they merging?

  9. Anon. Thanks - sorry I don't know. Vin-X still has an office in Horsham in addition to the London office at 140. There are also plenty of other companies that use this address.

  10. Amended comment from anon: 'But not a coincidence, surely? Two members of the WIA and one moves into the other's address? I'm not suggesting anything is wrong with this, it would just be interesting to know if there is some sort of link-up here.'

  11. Guys, check this radio interview out with Peter Shakeshaft of Vin-X
    Hit the Wine tab..
    Need she say anymore!!!

    1. Please note clarification from BBC published a few hours after the programme:

      “In the course of an interview with Peter Shakeshaft of the Wine Investment Association, Winifred said that, despite claims in his press releases and website, he has no partnership with the National Fraud Investigation Bureau. That’s what the Bureau’s Director - Detective Superintendent Dave Clark - told us. Mr Shakeshaft countered that the Bureau had itself put out a press release still on its website confirming the partnership. He was right, it was there. It isn’t any longer. The National Fraud Investigation Bureau told us Superintendent Dave Clark’s statement– that there is no partnership - is accurate. The press release has been removed from the Bureau’s website.”

    2. Details of current partners with National Fraud Investigation Bureau –