17th April, 2013 by Rupert Millar
A new wine auction website that refers to itself as the “eBay” of the wine trade has launched to allow merchants to anonymously sell off excess stock.
GrapePip, started by Caspar and Victoria Bowes, who also own Bowes Wine, have designed the site as a means for wine merchants to clear excess stock without having to resort to hefty discounts in their own catalogues.
As the website explained: “All wine merchants hold wines they would rather convert into cash. GrapePip is where these wines are offered in a centralised, interactive marketplace.”
The wines are sold through a time-limited auction, very similar to e-bay. Only merchants can put wine on to sell but the site is open to everyone as long as they register. All vendors’ identities will remain anonymous.
None of the wines have ever been sold before and all have been properly cellared. GrapePip charges a 10% commission plus VAT per sale to the vendor and 5% plus VAT to the buyer.
Certain wines with press tasting notes will have those descriptions added to their profile. Those that do not will have a short note written for them by wine writer Simon Woods.
The location of each lot is included in the notes. To move the wine from one warehouse to another or to a buyer’s address will incur additional charges but moving the wine from one account to another within the same warehouse is free.
Currently only 10 French wines and one Austrian wine are available to buy. The French wines are all Rhône and Burgundy, including a case of 2008 Rebourgeon-Mure Pommard premier cru Clos des Arvelets for £170 (one week left to bid), another case of 2008 Puligny-Montrachet Les Purcelles for £321 and a case of 2009 René Rostaing Côte-Rôtie Ampodium for £310.
The Austrian wine is a case of 2009 FX Pichler Riesling Steinertal Smaragd for £220.
Although the selection is currently quite limited, provision has been made to include wines from Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Switzerland and Uruguay as well as Chile, Germany and Italy.