Administrators handling the collapsed online wine exchange will know within the next week whether it will be able to sell the company as a going concern.

Uvine, which had offices in London, California and Australia, struggled to make money after being set up in the middle of the dot-com boom in 1999. Chairman Christopher Burr was declared bankrupt in June and his three fellow directors at Uvine decided not to plough more cash into the failing business.

Insolvency practitioner Graham Wolloff of Elwell Watchorn & Saxton told just-drinks today (10 October) that the company still owed creditors "in excess of GBP1m (US$1.85m)".

He said: "We are actively looking at whether we can come up with a rescue plan for the business but a buyer would have to take on a company with a black hole of over GBP1m - and those owed money clearly aren't happy."

Wolloff said there had been "a couple of dozen" expressions of interest in Uvine, "mainly from the industry". Interest, he said, ranged from "those who are just curious to those who are seriously interested in buying the company".

Wolloff added: "People think it would be good to have the (Uvine) platform to trade from and to have the database of clients. We should know more in the next 7-10 days but, of course, that doesn't automatically mean creditors are going to get their money back."

Burr could not be reached for comment as just-drinks went to press.