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One more wine investment company told to cease trading

Another London-based wine investment company has been closed in the public interest.

Its closure follows the winding up of unscrupulous wine investment company Liquid Acquisitions at the beginning of this year – and a string of similar closures last year.

James Hewitt Associates, based in Bromley, was closed this morning after a petition was submitted to the High Court by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The UK’s Official Receiver has been appointed provisional liquidator. The hearing for winding up the company will take place on 30 October.

James Hewitt Associates sold Bordeaux wines as a ten-year investment – but at grossly inflated prices. Last November the company offered a case of Château Latour 1996 for £4,408 (€7032). At the same time, reputable wine merchant Farr Vintners was selling the wine at £1,900 (€3031) a case.

More recently, the company offered six bottles of Château Margaux 1997 for £1,312 (€2093) when a full case could be bought from a London broker for £760 (€1213).

‘Personally I would not think of 1997s as being a great investment,’ Stephen Mould of Sotheby’s’ wine department said. ‘We have found 1997s very difficult to move in auction.’

James Hewitt Associates was formed in June 2001 and began trading last autumn. It originally operated from the same office in South London that Liquid Acquisitions used. It later moved to Bromley.

Written by Jim Budd13 September 2002

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