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Collapsed UK firm Premier Cru transfers wine customers to Cult Wines

Stricken Premier Cru Wine Investments Ltd has offered its customers transfers to rival investment firm Cult Wines, which has proposed using the Bordeaux 2013 vintage to fill any shortfalls in buyers' accounts.

Premier Cru Wine Investments Ltd, founded in 1995 and one of the UK’s oldest established wine investment companies, has ceased trading, largely due to one of the directors having a serious illness.

On 31 July, Premier Cru directors informed customers that their portfolios can be transferred to Cult Wines Ltd. Customers were given details of their current stock in bond, as well as any en primeur wines awaiting delivery.

Some clients were also informed that there is a ‘shortfall’ in their portfolios. One investor has reported that some of his wines were sent to Asia at the end of May/early June without his knowledge or permission.

While the full extent of shortfalls is not known, Cult Wines has offered to top up accounts with Bordeaux 2013 en primeur wines as compensation, although the missing wines are thought to come from more acclaimed vintages like 2009.

Customers must state by 14 August whether they plan to move to Cult Wines, which will charge a 5% management fee on accounts for the first two years. After that, the fee will revert to 1.75%, which was the fee charged by Premier Cru.

Some investors are upset that they appear to have little option but accept Cult Wines’ offer.

When contacted by Decanter.com, Cult Wines said legal issues prevented it from commenting in detail.

‘We are legally bound to keep the terms of the agreement confidential and we are responding to all queries from customers on a one-to-one basis,’ said Cult Wines director Tom Gearing. He urged customers to make contact if unsure of their position.

(Editing by Chris Mercer)

Written by Jim Budd

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