Fine wine profile: Bid for Wine

Bid for Wine, the UK’s first exclusively online fine wine auctioneer, offers a wide and interesting selection of wines, while undercutting many of the traditional auction houses. Gabriel Savage meets the founder and managing director Lionel Nierop.

lionel-nierop.jpgSome ideas chime so well with the times that it’s easy to lose sight of the entrepreneurial boldness and hard graft involved in breaking with convention.

Bid for Wine, the UK’s first exclusively online fine wine auctioneer, is busy carving itself a useful niche as an alternative to the traditional “bricks and mortar” auction and broker powerhouses.

Set up in October 2008, the business is fronted by managing director Lionel Nierop, former member of the Cambridge University blind tasting team and ex-management consultant.

However, the idea and financial backing which led to the creation of Bid for Wine can be credited in no small part to Tom Cannavan’s web forum, www.wine-pages.com .

It was here that Nierop connected with Spenser Hilliard, a London barrister, wine lover and – even more helpfully – licensing specialist.

Together the pair saw an opportunity to combine their expertise and energy to forge a new, improved channel for fine wine trading.

On the inspiration behind the Bid for Wine business model, Nierop explains: “We were frustrated with normal auction houses; the amount they charge you to buy seems counterintuitive and there’s the slowness too.” The quest to resolve these issues resulted in a venture which marries the lofty world of fine wine with the accessibility and simplicity of eBay.

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