CURRENT RELEASE/ COMMERCIAL WINES
For current commercial release wine, we will accept the return of, and give a refund for, any unopened and undamaged bottles, no questions asked. We do however request that you inform us immediately after purchase of your intention to return a wine and that it be kept in good storage conditions appropriate for wine in the meantime.
SECONDARY MARKET WINES (Where we are selling wine that is aged, vintage stock, either as principal or as agent). We run background checks to determine the provenance of the wines. Normally, the wine was originally purchased by third parties on release direct from the winery and/or from leading retailers. It has been stored in professional climate control ever since. All reasonable attempts have been made by us to ensure the good provenance and condition of this secondary market wine. Please note, however, that the best handling and storage in the world cannot prevent faults from entering at bottling time or a wine losing its quality due to its age. Similarly, bottle variation will occur as the wines mature, which is natural in the maturation of any organic product like wine. We do everything we humanly can to minimise the risk of selling sub-optimal wines but some risk will always remain which is totally beyond our control. Accordingly, we cannot guarantee the wine in the bottle. If it proves to be unsatisfactory, we have no right of recourse to the seller or the winery, and accordingly WE WILL NOT ACCEPT ANY RETURN OR REFUND of the cost of the wine. If any of the above is not clear, please just don't buy the wine. The ongoing success of the secondary market/ vintage sector is dependent upon our ability to maximise customer satisfaction and we do everything we can to achieve that outcome. If we have any doubts whatsoever about a wine, we simply won't sell it. Whilst the above should be common knowledge to anyone who understands the wine market and the process and complexities involved in wine maturation, we sometimes find ourselves confronted with difficult customer relationship issues due to a lack of understanding of secondary market and/or older wines. We cannot grant free put options on such wines and trust that our customers will understand the reasonableness of our position. Again, if any of this is unclear or cause for concern, please do not buy the wine. We assume individuals make free, intelligent decisions when they purchase wines and buying any older wine involves a risk that the wine will not be perfect. We want all our customers to be happy, However there are some that there is just no pleasing. Customer wanted to return some 45 year old bottles of French first growth because one ;nothing like the 2008.
Example 2 Customer bought some 14 year old merlots. Provenance unquestionable, presentation impeccable, labels perfect. Well known wine critics' notes on the wines indicated that the maturity window should be 12-18 years. Customer wanted to return the wines as the cork in one bottle was dry and wine was not "fresh enough". There is just no way that we can check the cork before we sell a wine, unless we simultaneously put in a new cork. It is also impossible to tell if a wine is "Corked" (i.e. has suffered TCA taint at time of bottling) without first opening it and trying it. Whilst wine faults are universally agreed and objective, wine appreciation and personal taste is very subjective. We cannot pre determine what a buyer wants in terms of freshness profile (whatever that means) in a 14 year old merlot. If asked, we would suggest a younger wine generally if someone were looking for. The wine was in fact not corked. It had no trace of TCA taint. A dry or even wet or leaking cork does not mean that a wine has TCA taint (a musty wet cardboard smell that is unmistakeable once detected).
Example 3 Customer bought 6 bottles 12 year old shiraz. First 5 were described as very good, the last one as excellent. Customer asked for refund on the first 5 as they were not as good as the last bottle. Bottle variation is inevitable in wines as they age. We cannot prevent that or change the course of Nature.
Example 4 Customer bought some 8 year old shiraz and decided without opening one that they were likely to be "off" ; so asked us to take them back. The buyer was expressly aware of our no returns policy on such wines but kept denying all such knowledge of our policy. We resold the wines elsewhere. They were perfect.