Atlas has storage within Vine International, one the UK's leading bonded temperature controlled warehouses.
The physical control of rare and valuable fine wine must be handled professionally – there are no short cuts. We therefore have Vine International, a specialist cellarage provider in a highly regarded facility. Vine is a specialist company, owned by Liv-ex, and operates from a temperature-controlled chamber within London City Bond in Tilbury. Not only does Vine possess a team experienced in handling fine wine, but their investment in systems affords us the necessary controls and checks we require to care for your stocks.
Every case is traceable and associated to your account by a Unique Identity Number.
Atlas requires a system of unique identification from Vine as it allows stock to be traceable at all times. Each individual case of wine is assigned a Unique Identity number (UID). This code is affixed to the physical case and can be viewed in your online account and is printed on all formal stock certificates.
3) Lien over Stock
Vine International has signed a legal letter recognising the distinction between Atlas’ stock and each client’s stock. This letter confirms that Vine has no rights over client stock.
At Vine, our company stock and individual client reserves are clearly identified in separate accounts to remove any doubts over ownership. Furthermore, Vine has signed a legal letter clarifying the segregation of accounts and acknowledging that they have no claim over identified client stock. Establishing clear ownership in segregated accounts provides the client with complete security in the unlikely event of anything ever happening to Atlas.
4) Condition of Stock
Condition checks and photographs are available on request and are passed on at cost.
Visual checks of all stock purchased by Atlas are carried out by the trained staff at Vine International as soon as stocks are transferred into our account. Although Atlas only sources stock of the finest condition, we are aware that clients may wish to have specific cases of rare, mature and/or expensive wine be opened and the individual bottles assessed and photographed before the case is re-sealed. This provides additional peace of mind to the client. We often suggest that clients, who are consolidating their stocks in our reserves, should take this precautionary step as this protects the client against poor condition or potentially fraudulent stock sourced outside of Atlas. Images and condition reports are carried out by Vine International and made available within 48 hours on each client’s online account. Charges for photographs and condition checks are relayed at cost.
Furthermore, photographs assist should you ever wish to sell. The prior availability of such detail can facilitate a faster trade as photographs are becoming a global industry standard – particularly when trading rare, mature and/or expensive stock.
Three different levels of stock audit are carried out by Vine International, Mazars (a general auditor)and Venners (an industry specific auditor).
Client reserves are audited by both by Vine International on a monthly basis and by our auditors, Mazars on annual basis. In addition to these ‘in house’ checks, we have gone a step further and commissioned a highly respected, independent auditing company, Venners, to check all stock on an annual basis. Venners is a well-established, trusted market leader in stocktake audits within our industry.
6) Client Stock in escrow
Atlas’ lawyers, Fox Williams, hold in escrow the data matching each client’s account to the wines held in their reserves.
Our Terms and Conditions establish the clear distinction between our stocks and the client’s stocks. We are one of the only merchants to have implemented such protective measures. Our Terms and Conditions clearly stipulate Atlas’ role as an agent, working with the storage provider on behalf of the client. On a monthly basis we send a detailed report to our lawyers, Fox Williams, which matches each client (their name, address, contact information and account number) to the reserves held on their behalf. This data is held in an escrow account by Fox Williams and can be drawn upon to identify ownership in the unlikely event that access is required outside of Atlas’ involvement.
7) Insolvency Practitioner's Letter of Comfort
Harrisons, an insolvency practitioner, has drawn up a report commenting on Atlas' customer care procedures.
It is in Harrison's opinion that ‘the safeguards and agreements in place were sufficient to ensure that customers of Atlas Fine Wines will be able to take full possession of their wines and these wines would not be available to any officeholder appointed under insolvency.’