A Matter of Trust
There's one less retailer I’d buy old wine from in Melbourne that I trusted completely. To my horror, Vintage Cellars has parted ways with the custodian of its secondary market guru, John Newton, who owned countless relationships with private wine collectors and onsellers, who would never place a bottle in his shop for sale unless it had a perfect label and level for its age, and who could tell you its entire history from day one. He gave me 100% confidence and I never, ever had the need to take a wine back to him. Pure gold.
Take a risky approach to buying back vintage wine and it’s worse than a lucky dip. Provenance is everything, which Darren and his team here at CellarSpace know as well as anyone around. You just have to know that the back vintage Grange or Penfolds Special Bin wine you’re about to bid for was not cellared under a bed or kept on display in a living room. Expensive mistakes are easily made.
Which brings me to MW Wines, one of the sole remaining purveyors of back vintage wines in Melbourne that I am entirely comfortable with. I’ve spent a huge amount of other people’s money at MW Wines – that’s a fact. From stocking a remarkable cellar at Lizard Island, to taking special bottles for the guests at El Questro Homestead and to sourcing dozens of rare, perfectly cellared and sensibly priced wines for the corporate events I regularly host, I have bought high, low and in the middle from this merchant.
Recently I visited MW’s annual Raid the Cellar tasting. Was it a collection of wines they were over-stocked with and keen to move on? No. How about a range of bin-ends that were taking up valuable storage space? Not on your life. Instead, arranged in front of either a staff member or the owner, Nick Stamford, were collections of wines by style and variety that were on tasting simply because the team loved them and wanted to share their passion. And they were there to tell you why and to listen to your reaction.
That’s what wine merchants used to do. I’m delighted that MW Wines is listing an ever-increasing range of well-chosen wine from Worlds Old and New at CellarSpace. It adds depth and variety to our collective offering and sets the standard for that essential component of buying old and rare wine: trust. Don’t buy wine without it.