Anthony Rose: The aim is to give the man in the street the chance to exchange wine, eBay-style, over the internet

It's always been the case that you cannot buy and sell wine on eBay because you need a licence. Recently though, there's been a spate of new web-based initiatives, offering the opportunity to buy or sell wines without going through the cumbersome procedure of the auction house or traditional wine broker. How to price your wine or what to pay? Helpfully, there are also sites giving you the market price of your wine or a wine you're thinking of buying.

After meeting Spenser Hilliard, a licensing-law barrister, and businessman Keith Prothero through Tom Cannavan's wine-pages.com forum, techie wunderkind Lionel Nierop (ex-Cambridge University wine-tasting team) set up bidforwine.com. The aim, says Nierop, is "to give the man and woman in the street the chance to exchange wine, eBay- style, over the internet". Not the most auspicious time to set up such a business perhaps, but bidforwine's been holding its own.

One sale produced £31,000, but even a single bottle can be bought and sold. "A bottle of 1999 Château Margaux went for £171, close to the market rate. The seller was happy and the buyer got a discount on the market price," says Nierop. The seller, who consigns the wine, paid a £1.75 listings fee plus 14 per cent commission (a sliding scale tapering to 5.5 per cent after £2,500) with no charge to the buyer.

Newcomers to the private- customer online scene include Richard Dawes Fine Wine, and Bordeaux Index, the latter's "Live Trade" publishing bid-offer spreads on 60 top wines for registered customers. The London wine merchant Berry Brothers & Rudd recently announced its intention to allow its customers to trade their private reserves with each other. Now, America's Vinfolio Marketplace, due to go live this month, allows anyone to add their wine to a virtual inventory of almost 12 million bottles, valued at $2 billion.

Unlike existing online wine sites like Snooth, which connects consumers with wine merchants and producers to help them compare prices, Marketplace's aim is facilitating sales between collectors who can't do it on their own without a licence. Its MD, Stephen Bachmann, claims it's "faster, cheaper and more flexible" than existing online auctions. "The marketplace turns these collectors into suppliers to one another."

This new direct trade has been given a boost by the price transparency of sites telling you the market price of any given wine. Wine-searcher.com offers a limited free service (more comprehensive to subscribers), and wineprices. com has a free up-to-date online resource for wine auction and retail prices. Fine & Rare Wines has recently come up with a scheme for an instant online valuation of market prices from its database, allowing customers to offer wines for sale through Fine & Rare.

If you're looking for a wine that's too mature to be stocked by a retailer in shops or not high-end enough for auctions or brokers, one of the price sites should help you gauge what to bid. Click again and your bid will be sent automatically to sellers of the wine you're looking for. Or, if you've switched your allegiance from Bordeaux to Burgundy, you now have a convenient way to start again. The buyer pays no premium and the seller's wine is checked to ensure the wine's in good condition. All part of the expanding wine services on the net.

anthonyrosewine.com

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Bid Writer

    £25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Guru Careers: Membership Administrator

    £23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...

    Day In a Page

    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific
    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    Dame Colette Bowe - interview
    When do the creative juices dry up?

    When do the creative juices dry up?

    David Lodge thinks he knows
    The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

    Fashion's Cher moment

    Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
    Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

    Health fears over school cancer jab

    Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
    Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

    Weather warning

    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
    LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

    High hopes for LSD

    Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
    German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

    Saving Private Brandt

    A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral