Wine Name:

Saturday, 31 October 2020

Shopping and staying local and safe during McCovid

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As we head into the last two months of this strange year there is no sign of us 'turning the corner' in the fight against Covid-19 as the deadly joker in the White House likes to claim. Instead, looking at Europe, many countries are seeing a second wave with much higher daily infection rates than those during the first wave. Thankfully death rates are considerably lower than they were earlier in the year – at least for the moment. Hopefully this is because we have learnt to treat those with severe cases of the virus more effectively.

Covid in Europe – daily figures in selected countries
Table 1: 1st wave – maximum daily new infections + maximum number of deaths during one day.
Table 2: 2nd wave – new infections on 25th October + maximum number of deaths during one day.

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Table 1: 1st wave – maximum daily new infections + maximum number of deaths during one day.
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Table 2: 2nd wave – new infections on 25th October + maximum number of deaths during one day.

These two tables show no sign of life getting back to what we used to consider normal. Only Norway and Sweden (just) have a lower rate of infections in the 2nd Wave than in the first. Instead we are seeing new restrictions being widely introduced. Zooming in' Christmas and New Year celebrations look to beckon......

We are now back in the Scottish Highlands, which like the rest of Scotland with the exception of the Central Belt, now has the following rules for hotels, pubs and restaurants and general socialising:

Nationwide (excepting central belt areas):

  • pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes may only open indoors between 6am and 6pm, with no sales of alcohol
  • pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes may open outdoors until 10pm, with sales of alcohol (where licensed)
  • takeaways (including from pubs and restaurants) can continue
  • evening meals may be served in accommodation for residents only but no alcohol can be served
  • current meeting rules, maximum of six people from two households, continue to apply
  • specific life events, such as weddings and funerals, may continue with alcohol being served, with current meeting rules for these events (20 person limit in regulated premises only)

The rules for the Central Belt between Edinburgh and Glasgow, easily the most populous Scottish region are stricter. Here pubs, restaurants and bars are closed but can continue to offer takeaway meals. Cafés can open for a limited period but can't sell alcohol.

These rules will apply until 2nd November when a a Five Tier system will be introduced – it's three in England. Scottish independence beckons......
Already the rules are complicated – I suspect that the various Covid-19 rules, regulations and restrictions will provide a rich vein for TV quiz shows for decades to come......

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Glen Hotel, Newtonmore
Covid rules OK in practice
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Early Saturday evening we had a drink at the Glen Hotel in Newtonmore – sitting outside in the tent structure, which fortunately includes a heater. Once we had signed in on-line we could order drinks. We couldn't go inside as we were not resident, so had to remain outside seated at a table and ring a bell for service. The Glen is still doing takeaways. However, we couldn't have eaten any takeaway meal under the tent as it is part of licensed premises but if we were staying there overnight we could have ordered a meal and eaten it under the tent with an alcoholic drink. Residents can eat inside but have to enjoy their meal without alcohol. The Glen is serving lunch – inside and also outside for those that want an alcoholic drink with their meal.

Alfresco dining over the winter is not ideal in the Scottish Highlands. However the Scots are a hardy race – they have to be.....

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A cry to support local businesses during the Covid pandemic

Some local options in Newtonmore area:

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It is quite easy to find locally made beer as there is a brewery – Cairngorm Brewery Company – in nearby Aviemore. On Saturday night we enjoyed a pint of their Trade Winds. Usually the Glen has a good selection of cask beers but because of the Covid restrictions they are only stocking one as cask beers have a limited life.

The nearest best known whisky distillery is 10 miles away – Dalwhinnie – one of Diageo's classic malts, which can't really be counted as a small artisan producer......

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Nearby Kingussie has an excellent butcher – Donald Gilmour. As well as the normal range of meats, he has very good venison, black pudding – a speciality – and steak pies. Normally at this time of year he would have game – grouse, pheasant etc. but because of the Covid restrictions there have been no shoots so no game for the moment.

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A recent addition in Kingussie has been this specialist cheese shop (above) with a good cheese selection along with a limited range of wines and other treats.

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There have been some Covid winners among them this mobile fish van run by George delivering wonderful fresh fish from Portsoy. After many years working for another firm George set up on his own last year and has done very well from the Covid pandemic as people are happy to buy from a supplier that comes to their home.

There is, however, an important caveat to the call to support small producers and local shops – in the UK you need a certain income to be able to afford to buy from specialist food shops rather a supermarket, especially from a discounter like Aldi or Lidl. Unfortunately Covid has forced more UK families into food poverty and stopping kids from starving during the holidays has rightly become a major crisis for the Johnson 'government' following their refusal to finance meal vouchers for hungry kids in England during school holidays. 

This post was originally published on Les 5 du Vin. 

From Monday 2nd November the Highlands of Scotland will be in Tier 1. Five Tiers (0-4) come into force on Monday. In Tier 0 life is close to normal . 

Level 1: rules
'Under level one rules no in-home socialising is permitted, with limited exceptions. Groups of six from a maximum of two households are able to gather in indoor and outdoor public settings.

The sale of food and alcohol is permitted in indoor and outdoor venues, though a 10.30pm curfew is in place for all hospitality settings.

Hotels, B&Bs, self-catering, caravan and camp sites are allowed to operate under these restrictions so long as socialising and hospitality rules are adhered to. 

Those living in a level one setting are advised against non-essential travel to/from level 3 or higher areas in Scotland and equivalents in the rest of the UK, with limited exceptions.

Car sharing should be avoided where possible while face coverings are compulsory on public transport. 

Close contact services such as hairdressers and barbers will be allowed to operate in level one. Mobile close contact services can also operate at this level.

In level one stadia can reopen with restricted numbers and small events in indoor settings can take place. Outdoor events with restricted numbers can also take place. 

Weddings, and civil partnerships and funerals are all subject to 20 person limits.

All sports and exercise is permitted with the exception of indoor contact sports between adults.

Public services can open and support services such as counselling are permitted.' 


The big change for pubs and restaurants in Level 1 is that they will be able to sell alcohol instead and it won't have to be limited to having to have a meal to buy a drink. 


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Fall guy


Friday, 23 October 2020

Warning scam cloned site: Fidelity International

 Scam Alert


Yesterday I received the email below from someone (JR) who had been emailed by 'Linda Parker' (almost certainly not her real name), an 'administrator' in the supposed 'Financial Investigations Unit, FILS Administration & Investigations' of 'Fidelity International'.

'May or may not interest you

This is an email I received - I called them and they say they are the financial investigation arm of Fidelity International investigating losses by their clients into fraudulent wine transactions. I do hold wine and they were able to cite details of some transactions I did contemplate 8 or 9 years ago. I was fairly guarded with them but they did come across as slightly unprofessional and potentially fraudulent. They did enquire about how I might intend to sell my holdings which raised alarm bells. When I look at the domain name they are using, it is newly registered (7 October) through Wix which doesn’t seem something a multinational like Fidelity would do.

I suspect these guys have got hold of some data relating to genuine wine investors/portfolios and are now contacting those investors with scare stories and then are offering to market/buy their wine.  There is a chance I am wrong and this is genuine but seems unlikely to me.

Good website by the way.


Email from Linda Parker: 

Begin forwarded message:

From: Linda Parkinson <>
Date: 21 October 2020 at **:**:04 BST

                                       PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL
                        Do not circulate information contained in this email.
                   This email contains information Solely for the named persons and no other.


Ref:  CW-341-POL

We are currently upholding a financial investigation of a highly sensitive nature, we are not investigating yourself but we hold information that we would like to discuss with you at your earliest convenience.

Due to the nature of our enquiries we do apologize for being quite limited in this email.

Yours Sincerely

Linda Parker.


Phone: +44 203 740 4635
Financial Investigations Unit.
FILS Administration & Investigations


JR was right to be suspicious. Linda Parker and the Financial Investigations Unit,
FILS Administration & Investigations is a scam – pretending to be part of Fidelity International. Checking on the phone number given by Linda Parker using the Who called me site shows that the number is rated as 'dangerous'. 

I suspect that this scam is a combination of advanced fee fraud and making JR's wine disappear through a putative wine deal that would rapidly go sour once any wine had been transferred to the fraudsters. 

As JR found out their website was only registered on 7th October 2020:  


 Following JR notifying WIX, the web hosting company, the site has disappeared: 



Fidelity appears to have been a target of scamsters for a while – not just wine but also cash ISAs offering an attractive rate of return. See warning from FCA in 2019:


Warning by FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) on 23rd July 2019.


Details of clone site 23.7.2019:

Back in July 2019 the scam contact was an 'Edward Harley'. 

Details of the real Fidelity Group (authorised by the FCA):  


Tips from Fidelity on avoiding scams. Their telephone numbers are: 017323-61144 or 0333-3003350.   




Thursday, 1 October 2020

Metropolitan Bond – another scam clone of the legitimate London City Bond site

NB: There are no miraculous stashes of wine left
bust European Fine Wines.

'I can confirm that all the wine purchased by the Company has been sold and I am not aware of any wine held in bonded warehouses or overseas.'
From the liquidator's latest report filed at Companies House on 8th September 2020


Here follows the latest White Knight attempt to extract money from creditors of European Fine Wines. It is a scam:


Following on from Barkingside Premier Storage cloning the legitimate London City Bond website, a new clone bonded warehouse site – Metropolitan Bond – was registered on 28th August 2020.



Again as was the case with Barkingside the Metropolitan Bond website is a direct copy of the LCB site. 

'About' from the LCB site

Metropolitan Bond
Same words, same people:
Ben Jones and Alf Allington
A rip off copy



Metropolitan Bond claims to be based at 83 Baker Street in the West End of London. Anyone knowing anything about bonded warehouses would know that this is ridiculous. Bonded warehouses need a substantial space, especially one that sets out the Key Facts above – again a direct rip-off from the LCB site. Unsurprisingly 83 Baker Street is a virtual office/serviced office – not a bonded warehouse....

It looks like the clowns who put together the Metropolitan Bond website were in such a rush that they just copied their previous website Barkingside Premier Storage. Unfortunately they neglected to replace Barkingside Premier Storage with Metropolitan Bond in the section on Insurance: 


Metropolitan site: 'At one time Barkingside did offer...'
'This led Barkingside Premier Storage...'

 Metropolitan site: 'It is therefore important to note
that Barkingside Premier Storage....

Barkingside site: 'It is therefore important to note
that Barkingside Premier Storage....


LCB site (the original source):
'It is therefore important to note
that LCB....'

Letter (29th September 2020) to an European Fine Wines client from Scott Killick, Storage Manager at Metropolitan Bond: 

Scott Killick:
We are writing to you today in reference to a number of complaints highlighting the growing frustration surrounding 'European Fine Wines'. We understand a large percentage of clients have been patiently awaiting an update in regard to their assets, currently being stored with us under the 'European Fine Wines' company account.

For almost 36 months we have been working and collaborating with relevant parties to provide clients with a solution. We have now reached a point where clients can expect to have some level of insight in regard to their investment. In addition to the court delays, our main concern was allocating the wines that have been paid for but not officially assigned to clients. Through an extensive and thorough investigation, we have now managed to allocate a large bulk of clients' wines, which were initially frozen and seized within our administrator accounts. We can now confirm that the courts have given us the go ahead to officially release these wines from the bonded account in which they are currently being held.'
Killick's fantasy narrative continues for several more paragraphs.. What a shame that Killick has spent nearly 36 months on this project. Instead he ought to have contacted the liquidator who could have put him straight:

Note from the Liquidator's latest report:


Important statement and clarification:

From the Liquidator's report (above) for period 25.6.19/ 24.6.20 
Note (17th August 2020) to all known members and creditors: 

'I have been made aware that a number of investors have been approached by parties purporting to have located customer's wine in storage, or acting either on behalf of or in succession to Abbott Fielding in an attempt to extract money with the promise of the release of wine they have located or sale of the wine to a buyer. Please  be aware I will never ask creditors to pay any money to release wine or the payment of a dividend. I also have no intention in appointing a 3rd party to act on my behalf to release the wine of funds.

I can confirm that all the wine purchased by the Company has been sold and I am not aware of any wine held in bonded warehouses or overseas.'

I have emailed Scott Killick (probably not his real name) and sent him a copy of the liquidator's latest report and drawn his attention to Page 4 of the report – see above. I have also invited him to comment on this post.

Metropolitan Bond - same words,
same people: Ben Jones and Alf