Watch out: wine investment scam cold calling


Watch out: wine investment scam cold calling

Just a quick alert. Beware of anyone cold calling selling wine as an investment. I know this sounds like obvious advice, but some people seem to ignore it.

Lionel Nierop, who runs Bid For Wine, told me that he’s discovered that a scam company had been cold calling consumers, selling wine as an investment while pretending to represent Bid For Wine (who don’t use any telephone sales techniques). This is quite scary for someone like Lionel, because if consumers paid for wine, and then it failed to materialize, he’d be left to pick up the pieces.

Jancis Robinson has written on the topic here.  And Jim Budd has bravely published a list of companies he wouldn’t buy wine from here.

Be careful who you buy your wine from.

95 Comments on Watch out: wine investment scam cold calling
wine journalist and flavour obsessive

95 thoughts on “Watch out: wine investment scam cold calling

  1. i have been cold called by a company called vintage vines trying to get me to invest in their fine wines. i tried to find a little info on them but their website ( is ‘under construction’, they are a fairly new company and very persistant in getting me to invest.
    any advice?

  2. I have been contacted by the same people and 6 months on, the website is still under construction. My tel no. is ex-directory and I am registered on the TPS but these people do not seem to care about that. It seems obvious to me that this is a scam. They have sent me a literature pack which seems very good but I have passed it to my MP as I feel something should be done at the highest level re. these scams and persistent telephone nuisances.

  3. I was as well David (contacted this month – early Dec. 2012). It’s certainly plausible concept and very well presented – but I’m not biting. There was another similar one recently which offered green energy bonuses – they weren’t as pushy as the fine wines lot though.

    Spam – and its telephonic derivatives it seems – is evolving…

  4. Has anyone dealt with a company by the name of Prestige Wine Collection? I transferred my stock of wine held at LCB for them to sell and reinvest in May 2013. Since August I’ve being trying to contact them. They still have a web site but there is no reply from any phone calls or emails post sent to them has been returned and I’m told they have moved out of their office. I’ve also sent post to their director which I found in the Companies in the UK web site this was returned informing me he had moved.
    I would not invest in wine again you need be very careful who you deal with.
    I had a portfolio of £30,000 of wine held at LCB in my name that I had built up over the last three years which is a lot to lose.

  5. I also got caught out by pwc John. I transferred £20,000 worth from LCB in Feb 13 and haven’t heard from them since. I reported them to the fraud squad and sent debt collectors but no avail. I too would never invest in wine again!

  6. Mike I have also reported it to fraud squad and also Trading Standards, Croydon. Did you deal with someone by the name of Dave Smith at PWC.

  7. I got a call from a company yesterday about investing in fine wines. The guy knew everything about me, name, full address, home and mobile tel numbers. He says he is sending me an information pack and will phone me again in a couple of weeks time to discuss my investment. To him it wasn’t a matter of will I? it was how much?

    Anyway, I opened a new account with Santander last week as I am retiring at the start of May and I will be having a large lump sum payment made into my account so I wanted the best interest paying account I could get.

    I’ve more than just a funny feeling the 2 were connected.

  8. I’ve been having persistent, nuisance phone calls from a fine wine company trying to sell me wine which will increase in value when the FIFA World Cups start in Brazil. After telling the guy to F*** off the guy asked me to hear him out. He told me he was sending me some literature through the mail about it. I said OK then just to clear him off.Yesterday these clowns sent me an invoice for £12,000 telling me I’m involved in a legally, verbal,binding agreement to pay for this wine by Friday 25th April 2014.

    They then had the cheek for someone to ring up from their accounts department asking for payment. He was told to F*** off as well.

  9. I work in a serviced office in 5 Harbour Exchange, London and there is a group of young lads (late teens) working in the same building cold calling people selling the opportunity to invest in wine. I believe they may be called London Wine Exchange but not 100% certain. They make dozens of calls every day and definitely sound very shady.

  10. These guys call themselves Premier Cru Vintners. The last telephone call I received from them, on Friday 25th April 2014, a guy calling himself Spencer Walnut, (LOL), rang demanding payment and threatening me with the bailiffs on the following Monday if I didn’t pay £12,000 there and then.Well I’m still waiting for the bailiffs to turn up.

  11. We just had a very very ignorant man on the phone by the name of Trevor Campbell. He told us to shut our mouths and listen to him and because I never spoke to him he told my wife it was none of her business who he was and a load of other dogs abuse. Reason behind it was because we chose not to invest in the probably dodgy schemes.

  12. Yesterday I was contacted by phone by wine investment company, who said they would send me literature about their services and that next week someone would contact me about investment opportunities. I explained we’ve just bought a house and I run a business, into which I have invested all my money, but today I was contacted again by a ‘senior advisor’, who recommended a wine for me and then proceeded to get me to buy into it. I told him politely at first that I had no spare money, to which he answered “But it’s only £600!”. I told him firmly that, at present, I didn’t have that much spare. He then said to me, “Take it from your ISA”, after which I told him that I did not like being pressurised into something I couldn’t afford. I cut the call off abruptly – but sadly I was so livid I’ve forgotten what the company was called… however, I do have the caller’s name….

  13. called by these bogus today, as soon as I realised they wanted money I cut off the call. Dial 1471, caller withheld their number, if they were genuine they’d have a number you could call them back on. Absolutely FED UP with all these dead numbers and cold callers, all bogus, all numbers withheld! So sad for all the people who get conned by them, smarmy, creepy lot……………..

  14. I was cold called 4 times by the “London Wine Exchange” in the September of 2014. The 1st time was 10-15 minuets of corporate spin. I thought it sounded dodgy and to good to be true, so I refused. They sent me a company publicity magazine the next week. A few days later I was hit by 3 cold corporate calls harassing me in to agreeing to buy. I said I was not interested and slammed down the receiver.

  15. The “London Wine Exchange” guy who tried to pressure me in September 2014 was called “Joseph”.

  16. I also got cold called over land ‘banking’, wheat, deodorant, high-end car and diamond investments last May/June. I think the bloke trying to sell me the dodgy cars was “Joseph” from the “London Wine Exchange”.

  17. I have been contacted by cold call, by B.C Fredericks. Same scam as everyone else, I told them to send me some info, The same day I got the paperwork I received another call from a senior negotiator. I have told them to call back today of which I will accuse them of being bogus , their website does not open, and they have filed no returns at companies house , although they are registered as a retail outlet offering deals of , Two meals for price of one etc. …. The saga continues.

  18. I’ve been contasted by Prime Trading5 offering vintage wines. Are these people ligit and can they be trusted.Already paid £100 deposit.

  19. Guys as someone that’s worked years in Investments (Legitimate), just ask them one simple question.

    Where is the Wine stored? As I wish to have it relocated to my own property before finalising any transfer or full transfer of funds.

    Sit back and watch the excuses roll in, thank me later.

  20. Has anybody had any correspondence with a Richard Spence regarding the sale of there wine, as a colleague of mine feels he might of been scammed out of his wine,

  21. My friend who has had a stroke and is not capable of making a conscious decision was targeted by imperial wines and purchased at least £30k worth of wine which has taken all of her savings – she is 64 yrs of age. Somhow, which I’m trying to find out prestige wines have been able to obtain the wine – if it ever existed – i have tried to telephone them without success This leaves me no option but to contact the fraud squad on my friends behalf but sadly I think she may have lost her money to some very unscrupulous gangsters

  22. Cold called by a crowd called D & J Vintners. Usual scam BS, tel. no. with-held, going to send me a pack, recently established company, blah, blah, blah. Anyone else had a similar call……….

  23. I, too, can share some of the misery of deception by dealing with these fly-boys. I hold a portfolio of wines some of which was bought for me by the London Wine Shop. When I first started I had some confidence in them and even though in hindsight I made poorly considered purchases at inflated prices, I was given some reassurance about the company buying back my wines and that they would would look after sales – and I assumed use the same tactics to sell my wine as they had done with me when I bought it. Moreover, part of the bs was that they had access to markets “world-wide” and could always place wines if I ever needed to raise cash – “regard it as a bank” was one of the comments! In any event I bought the wines as a long-term investment perhaps to leave as an heirloom and had no real thought of selling and the wines at least were held in an account with LCB in my name. Cut to a few months ago – many confusing messages at selling for a profit if I transferred wines to them only to learn that there had been a data theft and that someone was contacting disgruntled customers who of course might have swallowed the bait. So now there is (I hope) a full-scale fraud investigation not to mention the security of holding personal data. And sales – well I tried it with them but the dealer with whom I spoke was a new boy and the prices they thought they could achieve were pitiful (for me !). I would do better selling on ebay, but certainly through a reputable vintner. One of the features of the London Wine Shop is that there is a lot of mouth but nothing ever gets written and apparently they don’t use email!!! In addition the staff change frequently and as one barrow-boy leaves, so he is replaced by another. Even the (sole) director moves on every year to 18months . It is impossible to track anyone down. I am not saying that they may not be a legitimate business but my advice is to stay well clear. And from my point of view there is no fool like an old fool!I would be interested to hear from anyone who has had similar experiences with them.

  24. I was contacted in 2010 by the The London wine shop and was a total fool buying wine from this company.after asking the questions how there wine was so expensive and they told me other brokers would not have in stock, they were quoting old prices and it would not be in A1 condition. The London wine shop would get it from the source. Like I say I was a fool and bought cases from them, most of the time under pressure until this year when I got my eyes opened. They did say that they would buy back the wine at the same price I payed for it if it did not make a profit, but nothing in black and white to say this. Various sale staff have contacted me over the years to buy wine, but in October 2014 I was contacted by Colin Alexander to sell some of my wine in the Chinese new year but he advise me to buy another case Cheval Blanc 2006 to make it look more attractive and this would give me my money back.On one case he quoted me a price £6500 for the Lafite 2004 which I bought for more. The next day I was contacted by Ralph Taylor he was trying to sell me a case of Lafite 2009 for £8800 and he was saying the last Hong Kong auction it was selling for £40000 I as not interested in it but he sent me paper work with a sheet of prices of the Hong Kong auction prices and the case that was in my stock, Lafite 2004 was £19000 but they were only quoting me £6500. I phoned them about this and emailed them also. The answer I got on the phone I think was do you want us to sell your wine and they did not reply to my email. As it came into the the Chinese I had no contact from the LWS and the Cheval Blanc was not in my account. I contacted The LWS and got a Neil Barrows, the bottom, line I was needing the money back for the Cheval Blanc because I had only bought this on there advise as part of the deal. Again I emailed them and mailed a letter under recorded delivery again they did not answer my email and the mail came back to me undelivered. It takes sometimes days for anyone to pick up the phone and it is always Neil Barrows. I knew I was not going to get my money back and he was playing for time until the Cheval blanc arrived into my account [June]. I did ask to speak to a manager he could not give me a name or phone number. Now I have a case of wine which I do no want.
    In July I was contacted by Jamie Warren saying he was the accounts manager for The LWS and they had been advised by there lawyers to buy back the wine from there customers at the price at which they had sold it to there customers, which would be great. The bottom line he wanted me to transfer my stock into a so called LWS account without any money changing hands and I would loose control of the stock. When he phoned me I said I was not doing this and we could go down the lawyer route or the bond could give him a condition report. He was not having this and I had missed a chance.
    When The LWS shop returned my phone call I told Neil Barrows about this and was told Jamie Warren had nothing to do with the LWS and data had be taken and I should of receive a letter from them, I did not receive any letter. He told me the police are looking into it. I did send a email asking him for the case number but still waiting for a reply. I did contact trading standers and they told me that Jamie Warren use to be a director at The London wine shop.

  25. On 13 October 2015, the Official Receiver was appointed Provisional Liquidator of Prestige Fine Wine Limited on the application of the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. The Secretary of State presented a petition to wind up the company on public interest grounds on 12 October 2015 and this is due to be heard in the High Court of Justice on 16 December 2015.

    Customers who have paid money to the Company for the purchase of wine should email their contact details and amount invested to

  26. Hi if anyone has had dealings with this wine company or any other fine wine company that has shut down please call Jamie Marchant on 020 3384 6236.

  27. As an update, I did have contact with London City Bond regarding the fraudulent request to transfer some of my wines to an account purported to be that of the London Wine Shop (LWS) . The matter was reported to the police and I put in a report to Action Fraud. I had even found the registered address of the perpetrator! I do not know if any further action was taken and it is impossible to get feed-back. I sent recorded delivery letters to LWS but these were returned and the address on their web-site is a mail box in a building near London Bridge. I would be interested to learn the experiences of others and whether there are enough of us to take this further?

  28. Has anyone had any dealings with Gordon and Thompson Consultancy Ltd. This company appears to be a wine bandit!. I was contacted by them regarding selling wine.

  29. I was cold called by ‘Dow and Jones’ with a very persistent man who had a very practiced script. I’m not a person likely to invest in wines in any event and it concerns me that they are contacting a lot of people in a very persuasive way and will no doubt catch a few unwary and vulnerable types. I received a glossy brochure that really said nothing with the promise of a return call. Thanks to Jim Budd’s helpful list, I won’t be buying from them!

  30. Gordon and Thompson – anyone who’s had dealing with this company please pipe up. They’ve stolen my property, and are now attempting to close the business. I’ve reported this to Action Fraud, but they appear to be completely useless, unless you’re a fraudster, then I guess they do a good job.

  31. Hi

    As someone that works in the wine trade for a reputable company (listed on Jim Budd’s trusted companies blog, a must-read for anyone considering wine investment: – Bordeaux Wine Investments – – I get increasingly frustrated by a) the number of complaints there are about wine investment and b) the number of people who are drawn in to invesmtnet with these scam companies.

    The advice – do your homework!

    Investment in wine, when done properly and with due diligence is a wonderful alternative investment vehicle, and can be brilliantly fun too!

    Any company who guarantees results must be avoided at all costs. There are no guarantees, and this should be your first warning sign. Any company who cold calls you frequently, and comes across as pushy is likely to be less than genuine, and again, should be avoided. There are plenty of decent companies out there who will share information with you on which wines to look at and why. Buying the wrong wines, or from the wrong company can lead to huge or total losses.

    Questions you should ask:
    1) How long have they been established?
    2) What is their address – is it a PO box or a serviced office? If so, potential scam
    3) Where do they store their wines? You don’t want to take delivery at home, as this can decrease the value of the wine, but you want to know where they store, and maybe check with the nominated storage company that the company you are dealing with does indeed store there?
    4) Check the prices of the wines you are being quoted against others on the internet – if they seem much higher than other companies, they likely are!
    5) Check the company details – there are various places on the web you can do this, either at Companies House, or DueDil for starters.

    In summary – don’t give your money to anyone you have even the slightest doubt about, or without doing some research first. Investment in wine can indeed be rewarding, but it is vital to work with a merchant or company you can trust, who ideally has some years trading behind them.

    I hope this helps, if even a few people, avoid losing money!

  32. Re Gordon and Thompson, if anyone has any information relating to this company, please share here. Yes, I am one of those that have fallen into a trap, but that shouldn’t mean we allow the guilty to get away with it – it does no good for the legitimate business.

  33. Re Gordon and Thompson – I’ve been scammed by this so called company. I’ve also reported the fraud but like you have heard nothing back. I’ve got some info but keep hitting the Data Protection Act (Thieves Charter).

  34. Thanks, Alex. Do you mind taking this off-line so we can exchange information? Would rather not say too much here. Any others, please let me know – the more of us there are, the better our case. MODERATOR – could you give Alex my email address please?

  35. Alex, Google ‘ebay rover p6 early rear light’ Ask a question on the item that’s in Braintree – that’s me.

  36. Hi
    I’ve been cold called by a very persistent company called Dow & Jones who want me to invest a minimum of £2100 in fine wines, which are to be held by a company called Locke-King Vaults (which in itself sounds dodgy).
    Their representative (Spencer) has called me 3 times in 3 days badgering me to send money so that the transaction can go ahead.
    I’m very wary of this type of thing as it sounds too good to be true. Any advice would be appreciated. Should I consider it or write it off as a the scam I think it is?
    Russell Doughty

  37. Russell, in my experience, I’d only deal with an organisation that’s recommended by someone that you know. Don’t forget that these guys aren’t regulated by any financial authority, and again, in my experience, the laws of this land are making it very easy for the crooks to get away with it, and very difficult (and expensive) for the victim to do anything about it.

  38. Update. The London Wine Shop Ltd – (reg 06980606) went into compulsory liquidation in January 2016 and was wound up by Court Order following a petition by Mark Dartford on 26 Jan 2016. The last Director was Richard O’Shea. I presume their assets were seized and went to the Crown? This company not to be confused with The London Wine Shop (UK) 09165490 which existed between 2014-2015 and was dissolved. Interestingly, I have recently been contacted by who obviously knew of my portfolio and earlier dealings and made a fairly generous offer to buy my wines – but this was another scam – the company dissolved on 29 March 2016 – even so they were still trying to get me to trade with them today (April fool!!). The director is listed as Lans Sesay who I think was also involved with the fraudulent attempt to steal wine last year as the IP address to the web site ( – note the extra “s”) was registered in his name. Be careful out there – I still have a portfolio of wines but it is locked away in perpetuity and maybe one day will be worth a fortune!!

  39. I have just had a call from Dow and Jones wine investors several months after deciding all does not seem correct with them. I had a very persistent man telling me the gains to be made in the market and he would not accept that i was going to put my money elsewhere and questioned my actions i had to be rude and tell him i thought they were con artists and i was going to hang up.

    Only to be told to F**k off C**t

  40. Another outfit to watch out for – this one is trying to scam people who already hold wines by offering to sell them in auctions in the Far East. I’ve just narrowly avoided getting taken in by them, and have reported them to the City of London Police.

    They call themselves “Auction House Services”. Note that there is a legitimate company of this name, who don’t appear to have any connection with them, and if you do a credit check, it’s the results for the legitimate firm you’ll get back (the scammers even use the legitimate firm’s Companies House registration number on their letterhead)

    They’ll ask you for a listing of the wines you hold, then come back with a valuation about 30-50% above UK valuations – which they explain by the Far East Market being better at the moment.

    You’ll then be issued a quote letter – grammar and spelling all over the place, and in which the actual numbers probably doesn’t add up.

    They’ll ask you to transfer 10% of the value of the wine as auctioneer’s fees – in my case supposedly to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong, which mysteriously banks at a Barclays branch in Leicester.

    The chap fronting the scam calls himself Joe (or Joseph) Green. He’s got a distinctly public-school accent.

  41. I have been contacted by VCL Vintners Ltd and their deal sounds good but how do I find out if this is a scam or not?

  42. I just received a call from a very pushy man from a company called Rosevelts. He said that I would definitely get a 12% return on my investment but would have to invest at least £5,000. He said my investment would be protected by an insurance policy and then started asking me whether I had money to invest. When I told him I did not want to receive a brochure in the post but would prefer to look at the website the line went dead. Their website looks bona fide but I was put off by the salesman. He was asking me inane questions such as I have ever heard of a wine region called Bordeaux or the Rothschilds.

  43. Like Michael, I have been contacted numerous times this week by a man called Albert from Rosevelt’s Ltd. with what sounds like a very similar pitch. I was also contacted a month or so ago, also by Albert, but did not go ahead at that time. This time I investigated further; Rosevelt’s Ltd has been registered at Companies House since March 2015 and has one director and shareholder, whose trade was described as ‘Watch Trader’ in various on line sources. When challenged regarding the age of the company and thus track record, Albert referred me to another company for references, Wines Premier Cru Ltd. Although registered at Companies House for a longer period, some eight or so years, that is still a one director with sole shareholding company whose financial accounts recorded at Companies House were less than impressive, with, from my perspective at any rate, not insignificant debt. I am going to stay well clear!

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