A new investment guide highlighting the pitfalls and dangers of wine investment has been launched by the UK Wine and Spirit Trade Association.
If you’re investing in fine wine, check your merchant‘s history
Investing in Fine Wines – subtitled ‘Don’t be a Victim of Fraud’ – aims to help wine buyers make the right checks before they part with their money, the WSTA says.
‘Recent years have seen a growth in fine wine purchase but the potentially attractive returns have also sadly attracted some fraudsters, particularly in relation to en primeur – wines available for purchase prior to bottling and release onto the market,’ spokesman Gavin Partington said.
The guide aims to arm potential investors with the right questions to ask before they buy wine as an investment.
It advises consumers above all to choose a reputable wine merchant, checking its trading history, track record and address; verify orders by comparing prices, checking provenance, condition of storage, packaging and delivery.
You should look after your investment, ‘ensuring wine is securely stored in the right conditions and fully covered by insurance’, the guide goes on. ‘Understand the small print, including tax on investment, commission and handling fees and the paperwork you’ll receive covering your purchase.’
Crucially, the guide cautions against any business ‘using hard-sell tactics such as offering guaranteed profits or fast returns’.
Over the past few years Decanter.com has covered a series of prosecutions of fraudulent fine wine companies.
In one of dozens of similar cases, in July this year, Paul Craven and Oseghale Hayble, directors of Bordeaux Wine Trading Ltd, were sentenced to six and five years for selling £1.2m of non-existent Bordeaux en primeur.
The guide is timely, and offer good advice, Stephen Browett, chairman of London merchant Farr Vintners said.
‘The key thing is, know your merchant. They should be well-established and above all profitable. Remember that you never physically take delivery of the wines you invest in so being able to trust your wine merchant is vital.’
Written by Adam Lechmere