What Do We Do?
We provide an online auction marketplace for the buying and selling of wine.
The site is open to use by private individuals and wine businesses.
The site is free to use by Buyers. We make a small charge to Sellers using our platform, comprised of two elements: a volume-based subscription charge and a small percentage commission on each individual sale. Our fees are extremely competitive for all users, and especially so for regular Sellers who can benefit further from our tiered subscription scheme.
Our online auction system provides market-leading flexibility, giving Sellers full control over starting price, auction duration, bidding increment, reserve price (or not), and an optional Buy Now price. Unlike other online wine auction platforms, there are no supplementary charges for any of these features.
Another useful feature of Cellartrade is the ability to set exact start times and finish times for each auction - this includes pre-listing of auctions to start at a future date & time of your choosing.
Buying wine through our platform is easy and fun, whether using a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone - thanks to our modern responsive website design with large photographic images of all auction lots.
Who Are We?
Cellartrade is wholly owned and run by husband & wife team Paul & Sue Armstrong.
Launched in August 2017, Cellartrade aims to bring a new level of user-friendliness and cost-effectiveness to the existing UK online wine auction market - a market that benefitted from much innovation in the early 2000s but seems to have stagnated somewhat in the 2010s.
Paul brings nearly 30 years experience in the IT industry, mostly with BT, but latterly as a freelance website developer. As a winelover, he was also an early (customer) adopter of online wine auction sites, starting with Wine Bid around the year 2000, moving on to Bid for Wine and various online-enabled traditional wine auction houses since then.
Sue brings over 20 years experience in finance, marketing & customer service roles, gained from a range of Corporates, SMEs and charities. She is also a keen winelover, but thankfully without the geekiness of her other half.
With Cellartrade, our aim is to provide a Peer-to-Peer Wine Auction Platform that offers a step-change in ease-of-use, flexibility and cost-effectiveness. In short, the sort of platform we would want to use as customers ourselves.
(Indeed, we do hope to use it ourselves to help manage down our own personal cellar, which has got somewhat out of control as a result of over-enthusiastic buying over the years!)
Flexible Online Auctions
Our flexible platform offers total Seller control of auction durations, exact start/finish times and optional starting prices, reserve prices and Buy Now prices.
If you've used other online auction sites such as eBay before, then the principles should be familiar because Cellartrade is effectively a specialist "eBay for fine wines".
For newcomers to online auctions, there is of course a bit of a learning curve to get through. But don't worry, our detailed Step-by-Step Guide for New Buyers and Step-by-Step Guide for New Sellers will get you quickly up to speed.
If you've previously bought or sold wine through the website of a traditional auction house (eg. Sothebys, Christie's, Bonhams) then you need to be aware that Cellartrade operates on a very different basis. We provide a peer-to-peer selling platform, where buyers and sellers deal directly with each other, rather than through the "middleman" of the Auction House. As a result, seller fees are much lower, and buyer fees are non-existent.
Commission Rate Comparisons
Please note: the commission rate comparisons below were correct as of Aug 1st 2017, but are of course subject to change at any time by individual auction houses, merchants and brokers.
Traditional Auction Houses
Traditional Auction Houses
Commission rates at these venerable old institutions comprise a double whammy of Buyer Premiums (typically 18-25% including VAT) and Seller Fees (typically 10-15% but negotiable downwards for major clients). Overall transaction commission rates levied on wines sold this way will typically be in the 30-40% range, for all but the most important clients.
Traditional Wine Merchant Broking Services
Many of the larger Retail Wine Merchants offer a broking service to their private clients, advertising wines on their behalf in return for a typical handling fee of 10% of the retail price. Although much lower than auction house fees, there will often be restrictions on the type and quantities of wine accepted, and of course the wines may not sell anyway!
New Wave Online Broking Services
A number of online wine markets facilitate anonymous peer-to-peer trading with overall transaction commission rates in the range 7 - 12% . The two most prominent players are Wine Owners and Cavex. The major focus of these platforms is on whole cases of investment grade wines stored In Bond. They are less well suited to other types of wine trading: eg. rare, mature and unusual wines in smaller quantities.
Direct Peer-to-Peer Online Wine Auctions
Cellartrade's overall transaction commission rates range from 4 - 10% , with the lowest rate of 4% offered to regular sellers for ALL of their auctions, irrespective of the value of each individual lot that they sell. By comparison, the only other UK based platform of this type charges total transaction commission rates in the range 9 - 16%, depending on the value of each individual lot sold.