The website works by charging participants for each bid they make, the winner being the bidder who places the lowest bid that is not repeated by any other participant. For example if 5 different bidders place a bid on 1p, 3 place a bid on 2p, and only one places a bid on 3p, then the 3p bidder would be declared the winner.

As Mr. Ainscough points out, though, you don’t have to use all the bids remaining to successfully win an auction ´Place some bids early and block buy. Once you have the lowest unique bid try to accumulate more unique bids so you have a contingency plan should you lose your initial lowest bid. Then keep a track of how it goes´.

With regards the bottle of Pontet Canet 1995 he won, Mr. Ainscough spent around £40 on bidding which ´represented an excellent buy´ when the retail value of the lot was £95.

As a special promotion, until 31st March, participants will receive 5 bonus credits for each £25 spent.

There are many lots to choose from including wines from Chateaux Latour, Margaux, Haut Brion, Mouton Rothschild, Gruaud Larose and Leoville Barton and Domaine de la Romanee Conti. As Mr. Ainscough points out it is best to ´choose the lots that offer the best ratio of market value to cost per bid´. Examples of auctions open at the moment would be:

A bottle of Gruaud Larose 2000, requiring another 99 bids to close has a retail price of £95, bidding costs 1 credit (£1) per bid.

A six bottle case of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2010 requiring another 80 bids and has a retail price of £150 with bidding costing 1.50 credits (£1.50) per bid.

A bottle of Chateau Haut Brion 1997 requiring another 103 bids to close has a retail price of £250 with bidding costing 2 credits (£2) per bid.

In all these examples the cost of the total number of bids remaining is less than the retail price of the wine.

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