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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Jim Budd

The Wine Corporation, briefly one the UK's leading mail order companies, has been bought by Bob Middlemiss of Paradigm Holdings/Orchestra International. The Wine Corporation was set up in September 1999 in Northampton. Under its first chairman, Giles Cadman, it advertised widely in the national press and had a 6 million turnover in 2001. In March 2001, under its new managing director, David Wilcock, the company started to downsize and made some 60 staff redundant. Turnover in 2002 dropped to 2.8 million. The recently filed accounts for 2001 and 2002 show a pre-tax loss of 8,584,043 for 2001 and 4,229,060 for 2002. Since the company was set up in September 1999, The Wine Corporation has racked up losses of 15.9 million. The business was supported by loans of 9.3 million from Worldwide Wine, its parent company based in the Cayman Islands. These loans were converted into 14,893 ordinary 1p shares in April 2002. Through his company, Architects of Wine, Middlemiss is currently offering new Italian wine contracts to American investors who previously had contracts with Seed International Ltd, a company based in the Cayman Islands and an early supporter of The Wine Corporation. The Italian wine contracts have a potential value of around e850 million.