Frequently Asked Questions
- Who can Buy & Sell wine on Cellartrade?
- Is Cellartrade licensed to manage wine auctions?
- Please identify & explain all fees associated with Buying on Cellartrade?
- Please identify & explain all fees associated with Selling on Cellartrade?
- Is it safe buying wine on Cellartrade?
- Does Cellartrade vet new Sellers?
- How is auction payment & wine delivery managed?
- How does Cellartrade collect its commission fees?
- What advice would you offer new Buyers?
- What advice would you offer new Sellers?
- Which Seller Subscription Pack is right for me?
- Can I upgrade my Subscription Pack later on?
- What if I want to sell wines both as a private individual and on behalf of a wine business?
Who can buy & sell wine on Cellartrade?
Our platform is open to both private individuals and wine businesses. You will need to register an account with us prior to bidding or creating any auctions.
If you only wish to buy, then registration is free, quick and simple. Once registered, you can log in to the website at any time to place your bids.
If you wish to sell wines (either immediately or later on), then you will need to extend your registration by providing further personal details, choosing one of our 5 Subscription Packs, and paying for it by credit/debit card. We aim to activate all new selling accounts within 24 hours of payment.
The sale of alcohol in the UK is subject to strict legal controls. Before signing up for any of our Subscription Packs, please visit our Legal Policies page to review the guidance information provided there.
Is Cellartrade licensed to operate wine auctions?
Yes, we are licensed to arrange the wholesale sale of controlled liquors between businesses in the wine trade. Our AWRS registration number is XSAW00000108822.
Private Sellers without the appropriate alcohol licenses need to satisfy themselves that their sales comply with one or more of the exemptions listed in the Government's Guidance.
Please identify & explain all fees associated with Buying on Cellartrade?
Cellartrade charges no fees to buyers (we charge fees to sellers only).
Buyers do however usually pay additional charges directly to Sellers, above and beyond the winning auction bid itself. Such charges will be explained in the Seller's individual terms & conditions page on this website. You should review and understand these charges before placing your bid. Charge categories may include:
Courier Delivery charge (sometimes with a free self-collection option, sometimes with an option to consolidate the shipping of multiple auction lots so as to reduce the effective cost per bottle)
Wine Duty (for wines that need to be released from professional In Bond storage prior to delivery)
VAT (for wines sold by wine businesses rather than private individuals)
In Bond Transfer Fees (for administration of ownership record changes for wine transfers to a new owner account)
Please identify & explain all fees associated with Selling on Cellartrade?
Cellartrade levies two types of fees on Sellers, in a tiered fee structure that rewards regular sellers with the lowest auction commission rates.
The first fee type is a Seller Subscription Pack. This authorises a Seller to list a certain number of auction listings within a certain period of time. It is paid for in advance.
The second fee type is an Auction Commission Fee, representing a small fixed percentage of the Hammer Price of each successful auction run by the Seller. It is paid for in arrears, by monthly invoice.
We currently offer a choice of 5 Seller Subscription Packs - BASIC, BRONZE, SILVER, GOLD and PLATINUM - to suit the needs of beginners, light, medium, heavy and professional users respectively.
A BASIC Subscription costs just £1. It authorises up to 10 auction listings within 6 months. The corresponding Commission Fee per successful auction is set at 10%.
A BRONZE Subscription costs £20. It authorises up to 50 auction listings within 12 months. The corresponding Commission Fee per successful auction is set at 8%.
A SILVER Subscription costs £40. It authorises up to 200 auction listings within 24 months. The corresponding Commission Fee per successful auction is set at 6%.
A GOLD Subscription costs £160. It authorises up to 2,000 auction listings within 36 months. The corresponding Commission Fee per successful auction is set at 4%.
A PLATINUM Subscription costs £1,200. It authorises up to 10,000 auction listings within 48 months. The corresponding Commission Fee per successful auction is set at 0% (ie. totally commission-free).
Is it safe buying wine on Cellartrade?
Nothing in life is risk free, and there is of course some potential for disappointment associated with buying wine through a peer-to-peer auction platform.
However, it can reasonably be argued that buying through our online platform is intrinsically safer than buying wine from more traditional Auction Houses for two main reasons:
- We operate a Seller feedback system so that Buyers can check out other users' prior experience of buying from a particular Seller.
- Our platform enables diligent Sellers to provide more detailed information and higher quality bottle photography than is typically provided by traditional Auction House brochures & websites. It is therefore much easier to carefully check the ullage, label condition and capsule condition of bottles prior to bidding.
Does Cellartrade vet new Sellers?
We do not operate any proactive vetting of new Sellers. We do however keep a careful eye on all auction listing activities and we reserve the right to make further background checks and enquiries where we have any potential concerns about the activities of a particular Seller. If we are not satisfied with results of our background checks and enquiries, then we reserve at our sole discretion the absolute right to terminate any Seller account at any time.
How is auction payment and wine delivery managed?
Payment and delivery is arranged directly between the Seller and the Buyer. Cellartrade does however provide an integrated communications and logging framework which lets Buyers & Sellers track transaction progress through to completion, and thereafter archives the details for future reference.
The Seller's Terms & Conditions page will explain the specific payment options and delivery options that they offer.
The most popular payment option is a direct bank transfer to the Seller, but some Sellers will also accept payment via Cheque, Paypal, Cash on collection etc.
The most popular delivery option is via Courier Delivery service from one of the many Carriers available (Parcelforce, APC, UKMail, myHermes etc).
Diligent Sellers will also provide further supporting information, including details of their protective packaging materials, likely delivery timescales, and their policy regarding consolidation of multiple auction lots to reduce overall shipping costs.
How does Cellartrade collect its commission fees?
At the start of each calendar month Cellartrade sends an invoice covering all successful auctions for the previous month, using the appropriate commission rate for the Seller's current Subscription pack (10% for BASIC, 8% for BRONZE, 6% for SILVER, 4% for GOLD).
Payment terms are strictly 14 days, via direct bank transfer to our Business Bank Account. Non-payment will result in temporary suspension of the Seller's new auction listing capability until payment is successfully received.
What advice would you offer new Buyers?
Three simple tips really.
- Check individual Seller T&Cs to make sure you fully understand any additional charges payable on top of the hammer price.
- Use Winesearcher (or preferably Winesearcher Pro) to help benchmark the current retail market value of the auction lot and decide on a sensible maximum bid.
- Check out prior Seller Reviews from other Buyers to get a feel for the reputation of the Seller in this marketplace. Lack of reviews isn't necessarily a problem - after all, every new Seller has to start somewhere - but some caution is advised and you might want to get in touch with the Seller to make further enquiries prior to bidding.
Once you've learnt the ropes with these three simple tips, bidding should then be fun!
Bidders can use a range of strategies. The two most extreme "scientific" approaches are outlined below, but many bidders will use a less systematic approach according to their mood.
The "minimum hassle" bidder engages just once with the website, making a firm decision on his maximum bid and entering it straight away. This is a very rational approach, because Cellartrade uses a so-called Automatic Proxy Bidding system which always allows a user to win the auction at the lowest possible price. Another advantage of this approach is that in the event of a tied maximum bid, the first bidder gets priority and wins the auction. Finally, of course, bidding early guarantees that you don't take the risk of forgetting (or being unable) to return to the Cellartrade website as the auction reaches its close.
The "bargain hunter" bids low and late, hoping thereby to snap up some great wine bargains. This is also a very rational approach (especially for auctions with no Reserve Price) if you have the time to watch each auction as it approaches its close. However, bidders should note that Cellartrade uses a so-called Anti-Sniping System which extends the auction close time by a further two minutes if you place a bid in the final two minutes of the auction. This ensures that all bidders get a fair chance to submit a final bid, and helps guarantee the best possible price for the Seller.
What advice would you offer new Sellers?
Three simple guidelines should get you off to a flying start.
- Do make the effort to provide a good quality well-lit photo of the actual bottle(s) being sold. A picture paints a thousand words.
- Be as specific as possible about the history and storage of the bottles (whether optimum or not). Vague wording will rightly put off potential bidders.
- Organise your packaging and shipping arrangements before activating your first auctions. Document these arrangements in your Seller Profile T&Cs page to demonstrate a thorough and professional approach to your sales. This also avoids the risk of unforeseen delays and problems in dispatching your first auction wines, which could result in poor Seller Reviews and hampered future sales.
When setting up individual auctions, there are a few simple auction format settings to be attended to. You need to choose a Starting Bid value and a Bidding Increment. We generally recommend a Starting Bid value of £1 and a Bidding Increment set at around 5% of your anticipated hammer price (for example, if you expect your auction lot to fetch a hammer price of £100, a Bidding Increment of £5 would be appropriate. For a lot that you hope will realise £50, we would recommend a Bidding Increment of either £2 or £3).
In addition to these mandatory settings, there are two further optional settings you can set if you wish: a Reserve Price and a Buy It Now Price. A Reserve Price represents the absolute minimum hammer price at which you are prepared to sell the wine. If bids do not reach this level then the auction will fail and the lot will not be sold. A Buy It Now Price does what it says and lets bidders elect to make an immediate fixed price purchase, thereby ending the auction. In general we would recommend that you use these features sparingly, as experience suggests that auctions usually achieve the best price by allowing open competition between bidders to take its course. However, as a new seller, they can offer you a bit of a 'safety net' as you learn the ropes of online auctions.
Which Seller Subscription Pack is right for me?
We offer a choice of four Subscription Packs, designated BASIC, BRONZE, SILVER, GOLD and PLATINUM. Which one you choose should be guided by your anticipated volume of auctions.
If you are beginner, just experimenting for the first time, then the BASIC Subscription lets you get started with a minimum upfront investment of just £1. It expires after you have listed 10 auctions, or 6 months have elapsed (whichever happens first). Each successful auction that you run will attract a commission fee of 10% of the hammer price achieved.
If you expect to run a larger number of auctions, then you should choose between our BRONZE, SILVER or GOLD Subscription Packs, depending on your anticipated auction volumes and values. A BRONZE Subscription costs £20 and authorises up to 50 auctions over a 12 month period. A SILVER Subscription costs £40 and authorises up to 200 auctions over a 24 month period. A GOLD Subscription costs £160 and authorises up to 2000 auctions over a 36 month period. The key advantage of the higher level Subscriptions is the lower commission fee per auction, which will quickly recoup your initial Subscription fee. In this way we reward the most regular Sellers with the lowest auction commission fees.
Professional sellers should seriously consider a PLATINUM Subscription Pack, which offers totally commission-free auction listings over a 48 month period, in return for a one-off subscription fee of £1,200.
Can I upgrade my Subscription Pack later on?
At any one time you can only have one active Subscription. To upgrade to a higher level Subscription , first cancel your current Subscription and then order and pay for a new Subscription. We are unable to provide any partial refunds on Subscriptions that are cancelled early.
What if I want to sell wines both as a private individual and on behalf of a VAT registered wine business?
Since each Seller account has a single set of Vendor T&Cs associated with it, in this situation you will need to open two separate accounts with distinct user names and email addresses for each account. You can then set separate and distinct T&Cs and VAT status for your private sales and for your business sales.