Provenance Guarantee


We acquire fine and rare wine from well-maintained private cellars and reputable wholesalers after provenance is verified by our team of acquisitions professionals. Before purchasing a private collection, we travel to meet the collector and inspect storage conditions to verify provenance. As a result, we guarantee the provenance of all wines that we sell. If you open a wine purchased from us within six months of the purchase date and the wine shows signs of damage due to improper storage, we ask that you re-cork the bottle with the remaining wine inside and contact us immediately.

Bottle Conditions

Each bottle of rare and back vintage wine is unique. When a new collection arrives, we inspect each bottle by hand to assure the overall condition of the cellar meets our strict standards. When an individual bottle has a cosmetic blemish or other condition, our cellar team provides that notation. If no condition is cataloged, that bottle is deemed to be in excellent condition for its age.

Our staff collectively draws on decades of experience when inspecting the rare bottles we procure. When we cannot authenticate an especially rare and valuable wine, that bottle is immediately returned to the source from which it was acquired.

Following are the terms and abbreviations we use when describing bottle conditions:

Label Title Description
BSL Bin Stained Label labels (especially ones that were originally packaged in wood cases) frequently get dingy, dusty, or have markings from their surroundings
BWC Broken Wax Capsule portions of wax capsule have broken off, very common with some wines closed with brittle wax
CO Capsule Oxidation white markings and/or dusty capsule. The term tarnished capsule may also be used to indicate slight oxidation of the exterior of the capsule. Very common with some wines.
CT Capsule Tears mainly from wooden case racking
CC Corroded Capsule flaking, peeling, or disintegration of the capsule
CWC Chipped Wax Capsule very common with some wines closed with brittle wax
CCV Cut Capsule to Reveal Vintage bottom half of capsule is cut with a razor to inspect cork through glass - often to ensure authenticity. This is a standard practice with older bottles during the authentication process.
DSL Damp Stained Label water markings resulting in gray outlines, often the result of high humidity in the cellar
EC Exposed Cork top of cork is visible, due to hole in capsule or chipped wax
ML Molded Labels signs of mold on label, often associated with a humid cellar
NC Nicked Capsule small notch out of the capsule, usually on the top rim of the bottle
NL Nicked Label small notches, usually circular
OV Obscured Vintage vintage may become obscured due to label tears, staining, or the neck label falling off. However, vintage has been confirmed
SL Scuffed Label surface markings
SB Signed Bottle signature on glass or label, often from winemaker or owner
TL Torn Label through the label to the glass
TTL Tattered Label a combination of label scuffs, tears, nicks and staining
TSL Tissue Stained Label some wineries wrap their bottles with colored tissue, which can stain label underneath
WL Wrinkled Label labels can peel or wrinkle, often the result of storage in a humid cellar
WC Wrinkled/Loose Capsule capsule is bunched and sometimes loose on bottle neck
WOL Writing on Label cannot be identified as a winemaker/owner signature

Ullage is the natural process by which the fill level in a bottle will drop over time. While a recent vintage wine with a low fill should be cause for concern, a bottle at 15+ years of age should be expected to have a less than perfect fill.

Wines with traditional Bordeaux bottle shape:

Label Title Description
VTS Very Top Shoulder common for wine 10+ years old. Excellent for bottles 20+ years old
TS Top Shoulder normal level for wines 15+ years of age. Excellent for bottles 30+ years old
HS High Shoulder acceptable level for wines 20+ years of age
MS Mid Shoulder not abnormal for wines 40+ years of age.
LS Low Shoulder rarely brought to market, exceptional situations
Bordeaux Bottle

Wines with traditional Burgundy bottle shape:

Label Title Description
3cm 3cm good fill for wines 15+ years of age. Excellent for wines 25+ years of age
4cm 4cm acceptable for wines 25+ years of age, cause for concern for wines less than 15 years old
5cm 5cm not abnormal for wines over 50 years of age
6cm 6cm rarely brought to market, exceptional situations
Burgundy Bottle
Label Title Description
OWC Original Wood Case collectible wood box issued by winery with bottles

The following bottle conditions lead our cellar team to take extra care during inspection and evaluation.

Label Title Description
DC Depressed Cork level of the cork is excessively below the top rim of bottle
RC Raised Cork level of the cork is above the top rim of the bottle
SOS Signs of Seepage when wine has escaped through the cork and out from under the capsule
WSL Wine Stained Label refers two situations; first a bottle has seepage that ran down the neck and over the label, second a bottle broke and splashed nearby bottles