Buying Wine: FAQs

  • OWC = Original Wooden Case
  • OCC = Original Cardboard Case
  • In-Bond = These lots are stored under bond and at the time of sale have not had UK Duty or VAT paid on them. Buyers of lots marked IN BOND may choose to have them transferred to their own bonded account, collected by a third party for shipment overseas or if they wish to have the wines delivered they must pay Duty at the prevailing rate and UK VAT on the hammer price of the lot. So, if you buy the lot, you will need to pay UK Duty and VAT in order to remove the wine from the bonded warehouse. 
  • Duty Paid = UK Duty has already been paid on this Lot
  • UK VAT (Value Added Tax) is imposed by law on all items affixed with an asterisk (*) or double asterisk (**) in the catalogue. Value Added Tax is charged at the appropriate rate prevailing by law at the date of sale and is payable by buyers of relevant Lots on top of the price bid in the auction.


  • Live (in the room) – come to our auction room at 67 Pall Mall, London, enjoy a glass of bubbly while thinking about how much you want to buy your favourite lots
  • Live Online (via Bacchus Live) – register to bid in advance on our own Live Bidding platform, from which you can watch the auction live stream, and hit the ‘bid’ button to take part
  • Live Online (via other live auction platforms, e.g. You will be charged an additional 3%+VAT (or more) buyers commission on these purchases, which is a fee levied by the platform itself
  • Commission Bids – tell us in advance your maximum bids for your favourite lots either through Bacchus Live or via email. We will bid on your behalf up to this figure
  • Phone bidding – tell us in advance the lots you are interested in buying, and we’ll call you up just before the lot is auctioned: our in-room team will bid for you and you make all the decisions

We pride ourselves in taking the time to inspect and aim to verify the authenticity of every lot we sell. If we suspect a bottle could be fake, then we respectfully refuse to sell it. You should however, inspect all our high resolution photographs yourself to ensure you are happy with the product you are buying. If something slips through the net (which it hasn’t yet), then please refer to our Terms & Conditions for returns process. 


Cork taint is a chemical fault that occurs randomly in some wine. It cannot be detected without opening the bottle, which is not possible to do when selling wine at auction. If there is no external sign of cork taint so we cannot indemnify against it. Goods sold at auction are sold under the premise of ‘caveat emptor’ i.e. the principle that the buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of goods before a purchase is made. If we believe a wine to be possibly oxidised we will say so in the lot detail and levels will also be noted. All our wines are professionally photographed so you can see colour, fill level and overall condition. No refunds can be given for any wine which ultimately turns out to be corked or has some undetectable wine fault. 

This does happen occasionally. It is a case of first-come, first-served, so whichever commission bid was received by us earliest, is the bid that we will prioritise. If you wish to bid in advance, get your bids in early.

You will receive a notification from us by email that you have won one or more lots in the auction. You will be given an invoice to pay in full via bank transfer. If you would like our help in arranging delivery of the wine via EHD, please let us know and we can confirm delivery charges. Once we have received your payment in full (please do this within 7 days of the auction), we will release the wine for collection, delivery or onward storage. Please note, we do not do the delivery ourselves, we simplify the process for you so that you only have one bill to pay. All delivery queries should be referred to EHD.

In order to keep buyer’s commission at a low rate for you, we do not accept personal credit or debit cards for payments for auction purchases . This is due to the card charges that are levied on us when processing card payments, for the whole value of the lot. We can accept credit card payments from business or non-EU customers, subject to additional card processing fees being paid, and we can also accept business cards, again subject to the processing fee. Please note this fee is what is charged to us by the provider and nothing more.

As an example, a £1000 lot would cost £1150 inc VAT for you to buy. Paying by UK/EU business debit or credit card attracts an approx. 1.5% service charge for us which is payable on the whole amount put through, £17.70. That in real terms represents 14.6% of our margin which, as a business that believes in fair charging, seems to us to be far too much.

Not at all. In reality, despite the major international generalist auction houses having big names, they also have big charges for buyers. Don’t be misled by occasional low ‘estimates’ placed on wine – the wine finds it’s right value at auction – it’s just a trick some auctioneers like to use to try to show what high hammer prices they achieve for their vendors over and above their low estimates. Due to our reach, marketing, fair seller’s commission and trusted reputation as a specialist in the wine industry, we can attract the same qualities of wine, but pass on savings to you the buyer. Our buyer’s commission rate is 12.5%+VAT . Compare that to Christies (22.5%+VAT), Bonhams (22%+VAT) or Sotheby’s (21%+VAT). Currently, a £1000 winning  bid on a lot with Bacchus Wine Auctions will cost you £1150 with commission and VAT included. At the other auction houses, if you were to bid the same £1000 winning bid, on the same item, you could be paying up to £1270 for exactly the same thing.

We are specialists, not generalists. Wines and spirits is our passion, and our expertise. You can trust that the wine you buy through Bacchus Wine Auctions will have been personally checked, photographed in high resolution, described accurately and valued fairly.