Wine storage charges – a warning

Here's a sad tale from fellow wine writer and Rhône specialist John Livingstone-Learmonth.

'I have just received my invoice for placing six magnums of 1998 Châteauneuf-du-Pape in Octavian, Wiltshire. Sent direct from the importer, so I haven't seen them. Imagine my surprise when invoiced for six cases, at a little under £8 a year per case (ex VAT).

Of course, this must be because the mags come in their own wooden boxes, loose, not in a case. But they are called a "case", because someone has to handle them individually or similar nonsense.

The storage rip-off of 6 x 75cl bottle cases (more and more of this in the Northern Rhone as allocations get filled up) being charged at full 12 x 75cl cases rates is bad enough. That's a pernicious doubling of cost.

But this "case" of six magnums, admittedly delicious, stands me in at £55.62 inc VAT per year's storage. Wow! Adjectives fail me.

I'll yank them out and keep them at home, natch. But I'll have to pay more handling charges, etc, to extricate.'

Be wary of putting wine you haven't seen into storage. And as more and more high-end wines are put into boxes of six rather than 12 (which at least means they can be spread more widely), storage charges per bottle are on the increase. And every time one of these boxes of six changes hands, the price reflects these higher charges, even as far as auction reserve prices – one more inflationary element in the wine chain.