It seems that the folks at Premier Cru didn’t hear Orson Welles’ famous line in a Paul Masson ad from the 1970s: “We will sell no wine before its time.”
The high-end wine business has filed for bankruptcy amid multiple complaints from clients that it would take their money for wine futures but not deliver anything in return, according to a Bay Area News Group report Monday.
(Wine futures are vintage selections that are aging and not yet bottled. Collectors tend to flock to them due to their inexpensive price tags.)
In its filing last week, the Berkeley, California-based wine company said it owes clients over $70 million but has only $7 million in assets. Its filing lists nearly 1,000 names of customers who are owed wine or money; plus, the group estimates it has up to 10,000 creditors.
After Premier Cru pays administrative expenses, “no funds will be available to unsecured creditors,” the Bay Area New Group story said.
The news organization quotes one Florida client who is owed over $50,000 in undelivered wine. “I wish I was in California and had a baseball bat …” said Ron Talocka about the sitution.
Last month, clients filed 13 lawsuits totaling over $5 million against Premier Cru, accusing owner John Fox of running a wine pyramid scheme. The firm’s clients include billionaire collectors William Koch and Jeff Greene, according to CNBC.