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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Ashdown Group: Print Designer - High Wycombe - Permanent £28K

    £25000 - £28000 per annum + 24 days holiday, bonus, etc.: Ashdown Group: Print...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Travel Consultant

    £20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager

    £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager required for ...

    Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator

    £25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator A...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
    Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

    That's a bit rich

    The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
    Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference