Auction Phraseology


A bid is the offer of an amount you are prepared to pay for a lot. If no higher bids are received, you will win the lot.

In order to make bidding as simple as possible, Bid for Wine will automatically bid for you up to your maximum bid, so there is no need to keep entering bids.


A lot is one unit of items offered for sale. E.g. A single bottle, a case or a mixed case.
See also Single Lot Auction and Multi Lot Auction

Direct Auction

direct auctions are the default type of auction on Bid for Wine. They allow a user to create an auction themselves and manage the sale. They are the lowest cost way of selling your wine and offer you the maximum control when selling your wine.

Consignment Auction

Consignment Auctions involve Bid for Wine selling your wine for you. They should be used by users who are not satisfied that they are legally able to sell their wine via Direct Auctions and are suitable for users who do not wish to manage their auctions themselves.

Once a Consignment Auction has been created, we will ask you to send your wine to our Bonded Warehouse where it will be kept whilst being sold. Once the wine has arrived and been inspected we will start the auction, and, once the lot sells, transfer the proceeds to you less our commission and fees and arrange delivery to the buyer.

Feature Auction

A Feature Auction is a special type of auction created by the Bid for Wine administrators from time to time. Feature Auctions have specific themes and only wines meeting the theme can be submitted.

When a Feature Auction is open for the submission of lots, this will be announced on the homepage. At the close of submissions, a complete list of lots will be emailed to users who have registered their interest in the types of wines included in the feature auction. This ensures your lots receive maximum publicity and have the best possible chance of selling.

Unlike direct auctions, the start and finish date of a Feature Auction is set by the site administrators though unless the wine has been consigned to Bid for Wine, the seller retains responsibility for collecting payment for their auction and arranging delivery of the wines.


Ullage refers to the level of the wine in the bottle, which can be indicative of how the wine has been stored. It is normally described by the terms below, except where the wine in question is bottled in Burgundy style bottles when ullage is measured in centimetres:

Bordeaux Style Bottles

Ullage for a Bordeaux style bottle
Into Neck (IN):
Considered a 'perfect' fill level for any wine, though not all producers will even fill a bottle this high.
Base of Neck (BN):
This is an excellent fill level and suggests that a wine has been very well stored.
Very Top Shoulder (VTS):
This suggests a slight evaporation or leakage from the bottle. A fill level of 'VTS' would be usual for a wine around 10 years old.
Top Shoulder (TS):
Common fill level for wines of 15-20 years of age. This would suggest good storage throughout the lifetime of the wine.
High Shoulder (HS):
A common level for wines over 20 years of age. This may suggest some loss or evaporation from the bottle. Colour should also be considered as an indicator of the state of the wine.
Mid Shoulder (MS):
This can be indicative of poor storage of a wine, though may not be a cause for concern if a bottle is over 30-40 years old. In younger wines it may suggest that the wine is not drinkable.
Low Shoulder or Below (LS):
Indicative of poor storage. Normally suggests that a wine is not drinkable.

Ullage for Burgundy Style Bottles

Ullage for a Burgundy style bottle
Considered an excellent to very good level for any bottle
A good level for wines between 15 -30 years of age
5cm & over:
Not unusual for wines over 30 years of age. At this level it is probable that the wine will have suffered some oxidation and may be undrinkable.

Single Lot Auction

A single lot auction is an auction containing only one lot of the item for sale. E.g.

1x Bottle Lafite 1982 or
1x Case Lafite 1982 or
1x A mixed case of 3 bottles containing Lafite 1982, 1986, 1990

Multi Lot Auction

A multi lot auction is appropriate where you have more than one of an item and wish to offer each of these items for sale separately. Each lot must be identical. E.g.

3 lots x 1 Bottle Lafite 1982 or

3 lots x A mixed case of 3 bottles - 1 each of Lafite 1982, 1986 & 1990

Maximum Bid

Your maximum bid is the most that you are prepared to pay for a lot. If another user enters a bid which is below your maximum bid, Bid for Wine will submit another bid on your behalf to try and win the lot for you. The following should be noted:

  • You may increase your maximum bid by submitting a new higher bid at any time during the auction but your maximum bid cannot be decreased.
  • Some sellers may charge for delivery in addition to your maximum bid. This will normally be indicated in the details of an auction.
  • You may pay less than your maximum bid but will never pay more (though, if a lot is in bond and you choose to remove it from bond, tax and duty will be payable - whenever possible you will be shown estimates of these when you bid).
  • For VAT registered users, the maximum bid value will exclude VAT (if payable on a lot) as VAT can be reclaimed should the item be purchased for resale.

Starting Price

The Starting Price is the price at which the auction will open and defines the minimum value that a user can bid for an item. If this is not specified, bidding will open at £1.

It is advisable to set the Starting Price lower than the reserve price, as making the reserve price the minimum bid may put off potential bidders by making a lot look expensive.

Reserve Price

The reserve price is the minimum amount you are prepared to sell your wine for. If there are no bids above the reserve price, your wine will not be sold.

All references on the site to 'reserve price' refer to the lot, not to each bottle in the lot. If you are selling 3 bottles in a lot and you want a minimum of £100 for each, the reserve price should be set at £300.

Advice on setting reserve prices can be found in under 'Should I set a reserve price or starting price on my lot?' in our 'help selling' section.

Buy Now Price

Where a 'Buy Now' price is set, the lot can be purchased immediately by paying the price shown.

All references on the site to 'buy now price' refer to the lot, not to each bottle in the lot. If you are selling 3 bottles in a lot and you wish to sell them for £100 each, the buy now price should be set at £300.

Buy Now or Highest Offer

Where sales have a 'highest offer' price in addition to a 'Buy Now' price, potential buyers can buy the lot immediately or make the seller an offer which they can accept, reject or meet with a counter offer.

All offers by potential buyers are a legally binding commitment to buy the wine and are valid for 48 hours. Sellers do not have to accept any offers but may respond with a counter offer which will be valid for 48 hours or until the lot is sold, whichever is sooner.

In Bond

Wines 'in bond' are typically stored in specialist warehouses and cellars. They will not have had VAT or duty paid on them - this becomes payable when the wine is removed from bond. In bond storage is ideal for investment grade wines and is a good way of guaranteeing that a wine has been well stored. See also Duty, Duty Paid.


Duty becomes payable on all wines and spirits if they are removed from a Bonded Premises. Once duty has been paid on an item, it will be described as 'Duty Paid' or 'DP'. It falls into the following bands:

Category Rate per bottle Rate per case (6) Rate per case (12)
Still Wine under 15% £1.46 £8.76 £17.52
Fortified Wine (Port, Sherry etc) & Wine over 15% £1.94 £11.64 £23.28
Sparkling Wine £1.87 £11.22 £22.44

Duty Paid

Duty Paid means that all duty has been paid on a lot and will not be payable again.


Bid for Wine charges sellers a commission for selling their wine. It is calculated per lot on the Hammer Price. Commission is charged at the following rates:

Regular Auctions:
Band Value Commission Rate
£1.00-£200.00 10%
£200.01-£1500.00 7.5%
£1500.01-£2500.00 6.6%
Over £2500 5.5%
Consignment Auctions
Band Value Commission Rate
Commission charged at a flat rate of 14%

Hammer Price

The hammer price is the amount that a buyer bids for a wine and the sum on which commission charges will be based. Duty, VAT, Buyer's Premium and delivery may be payable in addition to the hammer price.

Buyer's Premium

A Buyer's Premium is levied on all lots purchased from consignment auctions (other than where the lot is sold via a 'Buy Now' type listing). This premium will be charged at a rate of 15%+VAT (18% total) of the hammer price or such rate as is advertised for the sale in question. For example, where a lot sells for £100, the total payable to Bid for Wine will be £118.00.

Number of Lots To Bid For

Where an auction contains more than one lot, you are able to specify how many lots you wish to bid for (between one and the maximum number of lots available.

How many of these lots you will win depends on your maximum bid and the maximum bids of other users. Lots are allocated to buyers in the order of highest bids. All buyers will pay the same price though. This price is the highest bid of the losing bidder(s) in the auction plus one increment.

Once you have placed a bid, it is not possible bid again for a smaller number of lots.

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