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London wine merchant Cellaret collapses

London fine wine merchant The Cellaret will be put into liquidation next week.

The Cellaret was set up in May 2004. It bought two other companies, the Wine Portfolio and Wine Direct at the beginning of 2006.

Selling en primeur to private clients was an important part of The Cellaret’s business and decanter.com understands the company sold a significant amount of Bordeaux 2005. It is not known whether all of the money paid by private clients for en primeur Bordeaux was passed onto the négociants in Bordeaux.

However, Cellaret director Ray Dutton told decanter.com that all en primeur purchases would be safeguarded.

‘Anyone who has bought en primeurs have had their wines safeguarded and will be able to take delivery as normal next year,’ he said.

It is, however, too early to know either the total loss or how many trade and private creditors there are.

In October 2006 The Cellaret intended to raise over £4m to ‘to negotiate new relationships with suppliers, significantly increase our stocks of fine wine for trading and expand our current sales force and customer service offering,’ directors said.

However, the funds were not sufficient to provide working capital,’ Susan Phillips, CEO of Enterprise Corporate Finance Limited, the company which raised the equity, told decanter.com. ‘The directors of The Cellaret Ltd have decided that it was not viable to continue and to place the company in liquidation.’

The Cellaret is the third fine wine company offering Bordeaux en primeur to collapse in the past 13 months. It follows Mayfair Cellars, which went into liquidation in April 2006, and uvine in September 2006.

There at a creditors’ meeting will be held at the offices of the MacDonald Partnership, Level 25, Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, London EC2N 1HQ at 2pm.

Written by Jim Budd

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