London City Bond

Key facts
430 expert operations staff
300 dedicated delivery vehicles
1,500 drinks trade customers
6,500 private fine wine clients from 70 countries
23,000 nationwide deliveries each week
180,000 product lines
2,000,000 ft2 HMRC tax-approved warehousing
8,000,000 cases stock holding

With a dedicated team working under a security manager, LCB’s measures are unrivalled. Each warehouse is protected by integrated physical and electronic surveillance systems. All have fire and intruder alarms and are subject to continual off-site monitoring using Red Care GSM communication technology to a central station. Data is backed up several times a day and held in a separate, secure location.

LCB’s warehouses and IT systems are approved by HMRC, meeting the strictest conditions required for ‘under bond’ or duty paid storage, as required. Customers’ stocks are generally held in a location of their choice, and relevant to the type of service they require. All locations offer the same facilities for order picking – from an individual bottle to a full load of 26 pallets, which is then combined with our widely acclaimed national delivery network.

Liv-ex Logistics
The Liv-ex warehouse, based within London City Bond, is available for members to store wine. Wine stored in the warehouse can be traded seamlessly on Liv-ex, often without the need to be moved or checked again. Transfer of ownership can be instant.

Maximising wine values
As the fine wine market has developed in recent years, and prices have risen, perfect provenance has become an increasingly critical factor in ensuring wines reach their maximum value at the point of exit.

This is illustrated by the success of recent ex-cellar chateau auctions, where wines across all vintages have achieved 50-100% more than their market value thanks to their proven immaculate origins. Therefore, it is crucial for investors to do all they can from the point of purchase to maximise the eventual sale value of their wines.

Storing fine wine in bond
The easiest way to prove unquestionable provenance is to store fine wine in wooden cases in bond (IB) in a bonded warehouse such as London City Bond or Octavian Vaults. Such bonded warehouses provide the optimum environment for fine wine storage, by carefully regulating temperature, humidity, and other microclimatic factors.

Bonded warehouses have often built up a trusted reputation over centuries in the UK and are also subject to strict rules, the result being an audit trail for every case stored in bond, which provides you with a solid method for tracing provenance. In addition, wines stored IB are not liable for VAT as they are considered ‘in transit’.

A case of IB wine may change hands multiple times without ever leaving the bonded warehouse which removes the risk of damage and disruption. As owner of IB wine you will hold certificates which prove your ownership of the wine as a physical asset- a significant advantage over non-physical assets such as equities which hold no inherent value, other than the paper they are printed on.

Annual storage costs IB are between £10-25 pounds to ensure this perfect provenance. Wine storage prices vary greatly depending on the location.

If you have wines in bond already, please contact us to see if we can arrange a better price.

Original Wooden Casing (OWC)
Wines stored in their original wooden casing (OWC) hold most market desirability and garner the best prices. Non-OWC cases sometimes are found in cardboard cases, or in original cases with replacement lids.

Duty paid cases
Wines that have been removed from bond, and thus have had the Excise Duty and VAT paid on them (DP), will generally command a lesser price than those which have never been removed from bond. From a buyer’s perspective, IB cases are far more desirable than DP cases as they can offer immaculate provenance

US strip label stock
Wines that have been imported into the US have an importation sticker placed on them by the relevant importing firm. Wines bearing this sticker have reduced desirability as they have obviously spent a significant period in freight, often without any significant assurances as to the environment in which they have been stored or records of their movements.

Soiled/damaged stock
With cases of wine that are of a significant age, a certain degree of soiling or damage to labels is to be expected. Wine bottle labels yellow or wrinkle naturally over time whilst being stored at optimum temperature and humidity. Thus, if provenance is impeccable, soiling of this kind in aged bottles should not detract from value.

When purchasing fresh stock, one should ensure that labels and capsules are in mint condition, that wine levels are into the bottle neck (with some exceptions for certain wines in certain vintages), and that bottles come in OWC.

A number of the most desirable wine brands have been taking measures to battle the counterfeit trade that has sprung up as prices for their wines have soared. The Prooftag system has been adopted by some producers, including all the wines of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild (beginning with the 2009 vintage), a technology on all bottles that means that they can be traced and validated upon request.