United Kingdom

This introduction has been substantially updated from its 2005 original to take account of costs and conditions applicable in Aug 2010 but we would welcome any comments from those with experiences of these operators sent via the contact form.

The following is an updated version [June 2014] of the UK part of an international survey of professional wine storage services which was first published in 2003. Rates are for a conventional case of a dozen bottles of wine per year. No-one has increased them outrageously. (Bear in mind that Smith & Taylor offer a very different tailor-made service from anyone else, involving lockers of specific sizes and lots of personal add-ons, so is not directly comparable.) 

You can see that online access has become much more the norm, that relative newcomer Fine+Rare looks determined to provide some competition to the establishment, The Wine Society still offers very good prices if only for wines bought through the Society (a marked tendency in most merchants, mind you) and that overall Seckford still offers the best value in their Suffolk warehouse.

Storage detailsRate p/caseInsuranceFree DeliveryOnline

Arc Reserves

www.arcreserves.com 2 Purbeck Road, Cambridge, CB2 8PF 44 (0)1223 271835

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£9.60

Wines stored at Locke-King/EHD London No 1 Bond at a temperature of 10-12.5°C and 70% humidity. Can arrange the collection of wine from other warehouses for a fee. Reception fees of up to £3.50 (+ VAT) per case apply.

Armit

www.armit.co.uk 5 Royalty Studios, 105 Lancaster Road, London W11 1QF 44 (0)20 7908 0600

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£12.96 (Colerne Reserve), £10.80 (Vinothèque)

Dedicated, professional operation, taken over in 2008 by a Dutch company, taken very seriously with good experience of shipping internationally. Storage charges, unusually, by the litre rather than the case but the price shown above is the 9-litre case equivalent. £15 flat delivery charge to mainland UK addresses. They also offer a client wine-broking service, valuations and suggested drinking dates. Very user-friendly but not cheap, hence the introduction of the Vinothèque option at the beginning of 2010.Willing to store wine bought from other merchants and also able to insure mixed cases for £9 (+ VAT) per case. Receipt, handling and labelling charges apply. Very good individual feedback on wine collections, both value and maturity.

Atlas Fine Wines

www.atlasfinewines.com 10 Upper Bank Street, Canary Wharf, London E14 5NP +44 (0)20 3017 2299

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£11.80

Atlas are keen to impress with their stock management service which they say sets a new industry benchmark. Storage is outsourced to Liv-ex's logistics division Vine at LCB Tilbury.

Averys Wine Merchants

www.averys.com 4 High Street, Nailsea, Bristol BS48 1BT +44 (0)117 9214 146

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£9.60

Currently store over 10,000 cases for their customers in their Gloucester warehouse. Both duty-paid and bonded storage are available. Unmixed 12-bottle cases only.

Bancroft Wines

www.bancroftwines.com Woolyard, 54 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3UD +44 (0)20 7232 5470

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£9.54

Customers are invoiced in January, in advance and pro rata. Up to £2 per case (+ VAT) for wines bought elsewhere and consigned for storage. Delivery and condition reports charged at cost.

Berry Bros. & Rudd

www.bbr.com Hamilton Close, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6YB +44 (0)20 7022 8973

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£10.80

Have recently expanded their warehouse facilities in Basingstoke with temperature controlled at 10-12°C and 75% relative humidity. Reasonably but not brilliantly useful stock reports. They do give maturity guidance on individual wines although it may sometimes be better to look up individual wines on their website. Online account management includes a valuation service linked to Liv-ex and the ability to bid for wines stored by other BBR accountholders and offered for sale via their BBX broking service.

Big Yellow Self Storage Company

www.bigyellow.co.uk 71 Townmead Road, Fulham, London, SW6 2ST +44 (0) 20 7736 5020

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Based in what used to be the Fulham power station (classy looking, I am informed, and not yellow). The wine storage is two stories underground in fully climate-controlled conditions maintained at 10 to 13°C and at 50-70% humidity. Customers rent out private self-contained units - BYO racking, although they are working with a company to sell pre-racked units at a small premium) and pay weekly, monthly or annually. The smallest unit is 3 sq ft and stores 15 cases (12 x75cl) at £6 a week, with a 15% discount if paying annually in advance. I saw a photograph of this unit with racking in and worked out one could store about 100 bottles. The largest unit is 100 sq ft (about 500 cases, I worked out) and is £142.50 a week. Customers have full access to their wine seven days' a week from 5am to 11pm. The gated car park has PIN-code entry and security guards, and customers will use their personal PIN another three times before they can enter their own storage space. The dedicated wine manager receives deliveries from wine merchants or international shippers and will keep wine in the underground holding room until customers are able to get there and rack it away. Big Yellow is also able to provide automatically generated storage-condition reports detailing temperature changes, humidity, date of entry etc for customers wishing to sell their wines on. They have a specially designed tasting room, and welcome customers and wine merchants to use it for events and tastings.

Corney & Barrow

www.corneyandbarrow.com No 1 Thomas More Street, London E1W 1YZ +44 (0)20 7265 2400

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£15.58 (discounted for 5+ cases)

Storage is charged by 'unit' of 6x75cl bottles or equivalent, and rates improve the larger your cellar. An upgraded web reserves platform now offers tasting notes, drinking ranges, producer profiles and Liv-ex valuations. Storage is charged in arrears in June and there is no charge for receiving wines bought elsewhere.

Davy's Wine Merchants

www.davy.co.uk 161-165 Greenwich High Road, Greenwich, London SE10 8JA +44 (0)20 8858 9147

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£11.94

Offer duty-paid and in-bond storage, the former in their Victorian Greenwich cellars, the latter at LCB Tilbury. Discounted rates for Cellar Plan customers. Valuation service available on request.

Farr Vintners

www.farr-vintners.com 220 Queenstown Road, London SW8 4LP +44 (0)20 7821 2000

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£10.80

This fine wine trader is Octavian's biggest single customer and nearly 20 Octavian staff are dedicated to Farr Vintners exclusively. There are admin charges for such things as change of ownership and few frills but you can store both in bond and duty paid and Farr's logistics staff seem particularly on the ball. This is a no-frills service without specific advice on when to drink particular wines. Three months' free storage for wines bought through them.

Bordeaux Index

www.bordeauxindex.com 10 Hatton Garden, London EC1N 8AH +44 (0)20 7269 0703

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£10.80

Competitive rates and no extra charge for wine bought from other merchants. They'll store your wine even if you have never bought from them. Average storage temperature at Colerne is 13ºC with 80% humidity. Reduced rate for 6-bottle cases (£5.40). Customers are invoiced twice a year and receive information on drinking dates and investment potential, plus Robert Parker scores - also available on request at other times, free of charge. There's a minimum charge of six months.

Fine+Rare

www.frw.co.uk Woolyard, 54 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3UD +44 (0)20 7089 7400

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£10.22

F+R tells me that 'The Chamber is FINE+RARE’s storage solution, based within London City Bond, Tilbury. The Chamber is a self-contained, secure, solid walled 'chamber' sitting within the LCB warehouse with its own dedicated cellar team. This facility has been on offer since October 2009 providing a complete storage solution charging pro rata, accepting cases, bottles, bonded and duty paid wines as well as wines bought from other merchants. There is no minimum fee and the storage charging period runs from 1 Apr to 31 Mar. Condition reports are available at £3.80 ex VAT. On-line access is being developed.'

Farthinghoe Fine Wines

www.farthinghoefinewine.com The Old Rectory Stablehouse, Farthinghoe, Northamptonshire, NN13 5NZ +44 (0)1295 710018

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£13.50

Offer discounts of £0.50 per case for clients with over 450 litres total volume in storage and £0.75 for over 900 litres. The rental year runs from 1 January, normally charged three months in advance and nine months in arrears.

Handford Wines

www.handford.net 105 Old Brompton Road, London SW7 3LE +44 (0)20 7589 6113

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£9.84 per year

Handford store their wines in bond at LCB Tilbury. Delivery costs £15 but wines can be collected from their South Kensington shop free of charge. Handford charge in arrears and only for time the case has actually spent in storage - so where other storage facilities charge up front and for the entire year even when the case is removed partway through, Handford only charges for the actual time stored.

Justerini & Brooks

www.justerinis.com 61 St James's Street, London SW1A 1LZ +44 (0)20 7484 6400

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£11.00

Operates under the name of a subsidiary company, Cellarers (Wines) Ltd. Wines purchased from suppliers other than Justerini & Brooks may be stored and they only charge a small one-off admin fee of £4.27 (+ VAT) per case. They offer bonded and duty-paid storage. This is the safe-as-houses fine wine subsidiary of Diageo. Six bottles are charged as 12 and customers are invoiced in arrears and pro rata in June. Delivery is charged at £18. The website gives access to view your reserves, get a valuation and place for sale 'broking wines'.). Each year clients receive a statement of their wines, listing their holdings by region, as well as a vintage guide offering general advice as to whether to drink or keep. Clients are also encouraged to contact Justerini's for more specific and personal advice on their stored wines if they require it.

Laithwaite's

www.laithwaites.co.uk New Aquitaine House, Exeter Way, Theale, Reading, Berkshire, RG7 4PL +44 (0)3330 148 202

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£9.60

Offer customer storage (shared with their sister company Avery's) in Gloucester, for unmixed 12-bottle cases only. The humidity is kept at 65% and the temperature within a 1°C range of 13°C. Only cases purchased from Laithwaite's Wine or the Sunday Times Wine Club can be stored, with all cases being insured to replacement value. Cases can be stored in-bond or duty-paid and a broking service is offered for those customers who wish to dispose of their wines at any point.

Lay & Wheeler

www.laywheeler.com Holton Park, Holton St Mary, Suffolk CO7 6NN +44 (0)1473 313 233

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£12.84 (£9.72 if paying by direct debit)

Family-owned Colchester wine merchant with over 30 years' experience of storing fine wines which was acquired by the Majestic wine warehouse chain in 2009. At one stage they owned the Vinothèque bonded warehouse but sold it to LCB, though their customers' wines are still stored there. They provide quarterly market valuations and a regular review of drinking dates. No minimum charge or portfolio fee. Wines purchased elsewhere can be stored without additional admin charges.

LHK Fine Wines

www.lhkfinewines.com Unit A, Molasses House, Clove Hitch Quay, Plantation Wharf, London SW11 3TN +44 (0)20 7993 0930

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£10.20

Established Sept 2009. Happy to store wine bought from other merchants at no extra charge, even if the customer has never bought from them. Storage is calculated by the week, so customers only pay for the exact time their wine is in storage. Charged 6 months in arrears. £10 + VAT flat delivery charge to London and £15 + VAT flat delivery charge to mainland UK. Free transfers to any other UK bonded warehouse. Online access currently in development and they will provide critics' scores, drinking dates, etc on request.

LCB (formerly known as London City Bond)

www.lcb.co.uk Schooner House, Tilbury Freeport, Essex RM18 7NN +44 (0)1375 853 700

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£24.00

This large warehousing company operates many sites around London but the ones dedicated to individuals' fine wine are at Tilbury and Burton-on-Trent, with a new facility shortly to open at Dinton in Wiltshire.

Locke-King Valuts

www.ehdlondon.com c/o EHD London No 1 Bond Limited, Unit A, Vickers Drive North, Brooklands Industrial Park, Weybridge KT13 0YU +44 (0) 1932 334300

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£15.55

EHD is the fine wine storage facility of the approved bonded warehouse EHD London No 1 Bond, established by brothers Michael and Stuart Phelps in 2000. The Vaults are located 30 minutes from Central London in a series of 17 interconnecting underground tunnels, formerly Second World War air-raid shelters. The operation is managed by a dedicated fine wine team and benefits from the resources of the main EHD offices and warehouse on the Brooklands site which currently stores in excess of 400,000 cases in above-ground conditions. Locke-King provide constant temperatures of 12 °C and a humidity range of 60-70%. Rates are applied annually from 1 Jan with fees per month charged before then. Exact rates vary according to the quantity and value of cases, dropping to £12 (inc VAT) if between 101-200 cases are stored. Comprehensive conditioning reports are available upon request and the company also offers a national and international delivery service.

Nexus

www.nexuswine.co.uk 1 The Green, Marlborough, Wiltshire SN8 1AL +44 (0)1672 513028

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£13.44

Founded by Mark Bevan (ex Armit), Nexus makes it much easier for those who buy their wines from more than one merchant but want to store it all in one place and have one source of information on their wines - including the option of tracking the wine's progress from the producer to the bonded warehouse. You just give Nexus the details of your purchase and they liaise with the merchant. The receiving charge of £4.50 + VAT per case is reduced to £3 + VAT if you are buying wine from one of a number of 'affiliated' companies - currently Haynes Hanson & Clark, HS Liquid Assets, Clarion Wines, MARC Fine Wines and Oliver Wines but the list is likely to grow. There is £50 joining fee for initial deposits of less than 50 cases but the more cases you store with them the cheaper the annual fee. Merchants' assessments of maturity etc are passed on via Nexus, though they can provide independent information for a small fee. There's plenty of flexibility in terms of delivery, if you are willing to pay a little more. They are unique (they say) in offering a pro-rata credit for rental already paid when withdrawing the stock.

Octavian

www.octavian.co.uk Eastlays, Gastard, Corsham, Wiltshire SN13 9PP +44 (0)1225 810735

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Hyper-efficient, particularly good at the nitpicking detail required by H M Customs & Excise but for private individuals the paperwork is cumbersome and the fees are very high. You are charged at every turn and there's the same initial fee to set up an account whether you have one or five cases. Since this is basically a disused limestone quarry, anyone visiting the cellars has to wear special equipment. (See long article about Octavian) The place is certainly very secure and expandable (the size of 18 football pitches in total, I think). Temperature (constant 13 °C) and humidity are computer controlled. You can store in bond or duty paid and Octavian offer next-day delivery within the M25 as well as collection from any location in the UK. Free valuations and drinking dates on request. However, it's cheaper and easier to store with a merchant who uses Octavian, the most bureaucratic of the warehouses (and probably therefore the one with the least problems with HM Customs & Excise).

Private Cellar

www.privatecellar.co.uk Kentford Lodge, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7QS +44 (0)1353 721 999

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£11.70

Est. 2005. Service operated by Private Cellar Reserves Ltd, a separate non-trading company set up to provide a storage and insurance solution for Private Cellar clients. Landing charge for wines purchased elsewhere: £4.75 per case (+ VAT). Rental year runs from 1st April to 31st March and charges are rendered annually in arrears, or when the wine is delivered. Photographs of stock stored provided for £5 per case (+ VAT). Delivery charged at cost.

Private Reserves

http://www.privatereservesltd.com/ Grange Farmhouse, Holdenby, Northampton NN6 8DJ +44 (0)1604 770 759

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£12.36

Run by Laura Goedhuis, wife of London wine merchant Johnny Goedhuis, with great dedication to a wine collector's needs, including an online service. Delivery is charged at cost from Octavian where the wines are stored. They will store wines bought elsewhere for an admin charge of up to £6.30 a case and offer half-price storage for six-bottle cases. First-class individual feedback on each wine giving independent assessments of quality and monitoring of maturity that will include emailing customers to tell them it's time to drink something. Monthly updates on wine valuations (via Liv-ex). Bravo!

Seckford Wines

www.seckfordwines.co.uk Dock Lane, Melton, Ipswich, Suffolk IP12 1PE +44 (0)1394 446622

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£7.80

An unusual, and very good-value service operated from a private bond in Suffolk owned by wine merchants Seckford which means that customers have to buy a case of wine (any wine) from Seckford's wine merchant arm before they may take advantage of this bonded warehouse built as recently as 1997. Managing collections is a speciality with them charging a 10% commission on subsequent sales. Their online access to individual customers' accounts offers detailed advice on individual wines and electronic images of individual bottles. They will store wine bought elsewhere and have some duty-paid storage too. Delivery to London is next day and costs at least £10. Temperature averages 12 °C and relative humidity is around 60%.

Smith + Taylor

www.smithandtaylor.com 1c Broughton Street, London SW8 3QJ +44 (0)20 7627 5070

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Very personal service for duty-paid reserves on the American locker model. They offer volumes of 8, 15, 30 or 60 cases. In-bond storage is offered courtesy of Brandfords in Manchester and duty-paid storage is at Chelsea Bridge in London. Their six-monthly reports come in unparalleled detail on extremely thick paper, detailing exactly from whom the wine was bought and its drinking status as appraised by a Master of Wine.Owner Sebastian Riley-Smith is particularly proud of sealing all wooden cases with a steel band, and of labelling each with the name of the owner. I had visions of this being a little winey nest in Battersea which Sloanes could raid in the middle of a dinner party but it is open only 9-5, Monday to Friday. But if you want a long talk about wine while picking some up, this is your place. I'm told they do not have a set charge for their bespoke storage service as it varies according to the size of the consignment, term in store, value of the bottles in question, number of lines within a case, number of withdrawals each year and how the wine is packed. They do not, however, charge for receiving, processing or delivering wines from their Chelsea Bridge cellars and rates quoted privately include insurance. They also design and build beautiful made-to-measure hardwood wine storage in private homes. And they even offer 'Nursery' cellarage for that one case awaiting its owner's coming of age.

Uncorked

www.uncorked.co.uk Exchange Arcade, Broadgate, London EC2M 3WA +44 (0)20 7638 5998

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£14.40

Customers are invoiced annually in arrears on a per month basis, starting at £1 per case per month (+ VAT). If more than 5 cases are stored, the cost drops to £0.80 per case per month (+VAT); if more than 19 are stored, it drops to £0.75 per case per month.

The Wine Society

www.thewinesociety.com Gunnels Wood Road, Stevenage, Herts SG1 2BT +44 (0)1438 741177

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£9.12

This wine-buying cooperative offers some of the best value and is certainly wine-minded but you have to be a member and the wines have to have been bought from them. However they do deliver for free in the UK, you can store mixed dozens, and there is no minimum charge - the latter an unusual advantage particularly for those just starting to build up their collection of fine wine. They also allow mixed withdrawals from your portfolio such that you can request delivery of a 12-bottle case made up of three bottles each of four different wines. Constant average temperature of 13°C, humidity 65%. All storage is duty-paid. Suggested drinking dates for individual wines provided annually and on request.