The Wine Investment Association has teamed up with the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau to provide better protection for the wine industry and increase consumer confidence.
The move comes on the back of millions of pounds being invested annually by individuals and organisations in what, until now, has been an unregulated wine market, and has lead to a steady increase in cases of wine investment fraud, malpractice and misrepresentation.
The partnership will also help regulate such practices which includes people being duped into buying wine or vineyards that bear little resemblance to what is shown on the prospectus, or don’t even exist.
In response, the NFIB and the WIA are now working together to establish a new regulatory framework for industry members, overseen by an external auditor.
Peter Shakeshaft, director of the WIA, said: “WIA provides industry guidance to companies that trade in fine wine with the aim of protecting their customers and the integrity of the industry. Those companies that have successfully completed the independent audit process commissioned by the association will bear the WIA logo, offering consumers a ‘safety kitemark’ to trust.”
He added: “We welcome our association with the NFIB and their support in addressing the issues the industry faces, and look forward to growing our community of trusted providers.”
Chairman of the WIA, Hugo Rose MW, said there’s now a kitemark of trust that allows private investors to understand at a glance that WIA companies have been independently audited. The City of London Police will encourage all merchants involved in selling fine wine to make sure their clients become members at the earliest opportunity.”
Director of the NFIB, Det Supt Dave Clarke, said: “Fraudsters will always follow the money, with wine investment just the latest in a long line of investment opportunities that are being exploited and corrupted to the detriment of the industry.
“The NFIB sees an auditable framework of self regulation as a real and positive step towards maintaining and increasing consumer confidence, and assisting us to highlight those who do not operate to the necessary high standards.”