2 Min Reading

Wine Inspection Guidelines

At JF Tobias, we follow precise wine inspection guidelines to ensure the bottles our clients’ purchase are of the highest quality. This is why we will always ask for our bonded warehouse to produce a condition report for each wine we buy. At JF Tobias, we believe it adds much more transparency to the fine wine market, and allows everyone to buy and sell with confidence. 

For the same reasons of transparency, we have also outlined our Wine Inspection Guidelines below, so that you know exactly the type of things we will be checking. Understandably, there are some degrees of wear-and-tear to be expected from older bottles. Therefore, these guidelines are by no means exhaustive but are the minimum requirements for the acceptable level of quality and condition. 

The following quality standards are assessed for all wines sold through JF Tobias:

    Label Condition

Whether the label is torn or discoloured. These can be anything from minor, small tears, to much larger tears that obscure the wine label itself. Whether the label shows any sign of scuffing, or scratches. Whether the label is the correct colour and does not look faded, or the wrong colour. All of these defects may suggest poor storage, that can adversely affect the wine itself.

    Bottle Fill Level

Whether the wine is above shoulder height on the bottle. Whilst some evaporation occurs naturally, anything below shoulder height might indicate that the wine has not been stored properly, which may adversely affect quality.

    Cork Condition

Whether the cork is either protruding or sunk. Both of these may indicate poor storage.

    Capsule Condition

Whether the cap is still in place, and is not torn or damaged.

    Bottle condition

Whether the bottle itself is in good condition, and not showing any cracks or hairline fractures.

    Liquid clarity

Whether the liquid is of an expected colour. Whilst it can be expected to change colour naturally as it ages, in the extreme, it can suggest a fault with the wine.

    OWC/OCC condition

The condition of the original wooden casing, or original cardboard casing. Natural wear is to be expected on the case or cardboard, but any heavy damage or mould can affect its marketability.

    Import labels

Some import labels reveal the narrative of a given wines journey around the world. Unfortunately, in some international markets, the proper storage of fine wine cannot be guaranteed, and import labels are a good way for us to know where the wines have been in the world. Import strips can adversely affect marketability.


Whether a bottle has leaked, or is leaking, staining the label, other bottles, and the casing.


Condition issues such as those outlined above are thankfully very rare, especially when the wines have been held in a bonded warehouse, like London City Bond’s state-of-the-art facility, Vinotheque. So whilst not all wine merchants will ask for a condition report to be produced, at JF Tobias, we believe it is an easy way to make the fine wine market much more transparent. If you aren’t sure as to the condition of your wines, please get in touch, and a member of the team will be happy to assist.

The Author

Kaylyn Chandran