For those new to the logistical steps involved with the movement and sale of wines, this is a short article to help understand the intricacies.

The wine market and its surrounding infrastructure constitutes a unique and potentially opaque microcosm to interact within. Therefore familiarising yourself with the steps is very important to feeling comfortable throughout your dealings. It should be noted that the following explanation is applicable to BiBO and BiBO clients, not all merchants.

Once a price has been agreed upon with an account manager here at BiBO, the first action will be to issue paperwork. In the case of a cash deal, the client will receive a Purchase Order or PO. This is a proof of purchase document that entitles the owner/seller to the agreed upon sum of money once the subsequent logistical process has been concluded. If a brokered deal is created, the owner/seller will receive a brokered agreement. A contract stating the relationship and terms of the brokered agenda between the client and BiBO. Both sets of paperwork received will include a release instruction with accompanying transfer BR numbers. This is particularly pertinent to clients that may require their wines to be transferred from another storage facility. Clients will be required to action the release with their current storage provider to allow for the BiBO logistics team to begin the transfer process. The BR numbers are the equivalent of each wine’s passport, unique identifiers to allow for tracking throughout the transfer. These numbers are shared with both third party storage providers and HMRC, consequently providing security and traceability for the BiBO logistics team and seller alike.

Once the release instruction has been given by the client, the BiBO logistics team can begin arranging the internal or external movement of the wine(s). If the wines are hosted within the London City Bond network, an internal transfer can be initiated. This movement from one LCB site to Vinotheque is typically quickly and easily actioned with an estimated timeline of 1 week. If the wines are hosted by another Bonded warehouse outside of the LCB group, a collection or delivery will need to be created. This step varies in speed based upon the corresponding storage provider’s speed of action with some faster than others, 1-2 weeks. Finally, should wines need to be picked up from a residential address, this will be arranged directly with the customer. A member of our third party specialist courier service will be sent with a refrigerated vehicle to pick up and transfer the wines safely. The proximity of the address to our Vinotheque storage facility will impact the speed at which this is actioned, however typically 1 week to 10 days.

Once the wine has arrived at Vinotheque it must pass through two key steps before arriving with our own cellar staff. The first of these is Landing, which is completed by the LCB staff. This is the initial processing on arrival to the site, where the stock is signed in and the application of rotation numbers, internal identification codes, for tracking is done. Once through this step, the wines are audited by HMRC. This step is the simple identification by the government service of the tax state of the wine, completed to ensure wines do not transfer from one tax state to another. For more information on the difference between the two tax states follow this link. As both of these steps are completed by third parties BiBO cannot impact the speed at which they are completed. At any given time the volume of wines landing with the two teams can fluctuate and therefore a firm timeline cannot be given. However we would advise 1-2 weeks as a reasonable estimation.

From here the wines need to be condition reported by one of cellar team members. This is to ensure that the wines are in the condition agreed upon at the point of sale. One of our team will take high resolution photos of the case, bottles, capsules and labels. If at this stage there is a discrepancy with the condition of the wine and its suggested state at the point of agreement, an account manager will get in touch to discuss possible actions. These can include a rework of the price, a change of sales method or a return of the wine to the customer at no cost to the seller. With the condition and provenance now verified the logistics process is now complete and the sale can be initiated. Once again depending on capacity, we would allow for 1 week to 10 days for completion of this final step. For cash sellers they will be notified of this and paid the next working day. For brokered deals the client will be notified that the stock is now being actively offered by our sales team.

The logistical processing surrounding wine is at its core designed to protect the seller. Throughout the entire process, all wines are insured by BiBO to replacement value, but also at any one time multiple parties are aware of a wine’s location and planned movement. While this multi-layered protection can at times cause slight delays during peak moments of the year, it is worthwhile to protect the parties involved and the integrity of the wine. At any stage of a seller’s journey BiBO account managers will be contactable for an update on the wine’s progress.