Author Topic: The Wine Society Any good ?  (Read 6426 times)

The Wine Society Any good ?
« on: January 28, 2013, 08:42:10 pm »
http://www.thewinesociety.com/   A members co-operative offering good quality wine at reasonable prices for a lifetime membership of £40.

Is anyone here a member, and if so are they any good ?
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Re: The Wine Society Any good ?
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2013, 08:57:47 pm »
Hmmm ... checked out the sorts of wines we buy from the Sunday Times Wine Club (no membership fee) and their prices seem very comparable - though its well-nigh impossible to gauge quality from descriptions. Ten years ago the STWC used to charge a membership fee but seemed to give up - we ... ahem ... overlooked paying it at the end of our introductory period and their blurb seemed to stop mentioning a membership fee a short while afterwards. The STWC spent quite a few years pushing a monthly scheme for fine wines (bit like a book club) but we resisted that blandishment. We just buy off the two-monthly catalogue or randomly on-line when the cellar cupboard under kitchen crockery gets empty. 

Re: The Wine Society Any good ?
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2013, 01:11:46 am »
Bought my folks a membership for Xmas a couple of years ago, and they seem very happy with it - don't think they've had any duds.

As far as I can tell, everything they do is decent, and decent value: some offers are especially well priced. We've been sent a couple of gift boxes (Xmas wines, winter beers, that kind of thing - I do like the gift that keeps on giving back) and they've been very nice indeed, though of course I can't comment on value here!

I think I got in on a membership deal that included £20 or £30 to spend on wine for the same price, so if you're not in a hurry it may be worth seeing if there's another planned - that was a pre-Xmas one though, so it might be a while away. Frequently recommended by the wine writer in the Guardian IIRC, if that floats your boat ...

The Wine Society Any good ?
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2013, 06:50:00 am »
I was given membership of the Wine Society as a leaving gift from a job I left more than 20 years ago. So I didn't pay the one-off membership fee - they call it a lifetime share, and it's organised as a cooperative - which I see is now £40.

You can buy good value, reliable wine from many more places these days than you could 20 years ago, and without paying a membership fee. That said, I've continued to buy from the WS among others. I find their wines pretty good, and their own-label ones particularly good value; the website and delivery arrangements are good; and I like the cooperative structure, owned by the members. They have a good range, including more out-of-the ordinary things like buying en primeur and storing wine for members until you need it, and they're good for gifts at Xmas and other times of the year. They also run tastings, which are a good way of trying before you buy (and trying things you wouldn't buy).

The other online outfit I've regularly bought from is Laithwaites, which used to be Bordeaux Direct and I think is the same people as the Sunday Times Wine Club. Also good value, with a different style: a little more ebullient, where the WS  comes across as steady and reliable (this is starting to sound like a tasting note!).

You pays your money, and you takes your choice. The question is whether £40 up front is worth it for you. It has been for me but, as explained, I didn't pay it in the first place!

Jules

  • Has dropped his aitch!
Re: The Wine Society Any good ?
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2013, 10:56:15 am »
I know next to nothing about wine but their French wine buyer is a very old friend of mine and a trustworthy and honourable gent. I don't think he'd be associated with anything that was crap.

http://www.thewinesociety.com/news.aspx?PageCode=features&PageName=Feature%20Articles&SubPageCode=profilmar&SubPageName=Buyer%20profile%20-%20Marcel%20Orford%20Williams&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1
Audax on the other hand is almost invisible and thought to be the pastime of Hobbits ....  Fab Foodie

Thor

  • Super-sonnicus idioticus
Re: The Wine Society Any good ?
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2013, 11:12:22 am »
I am a member only since late last year.  In a Which survey of "wine clubs", The Wine Society was rated top by a significant margin.  Waitrose wines, whose services I have also used, were second, IIRC. 

I joined TWS to get access to a different selection of wines, with an expectation of good quality selections, since it's a non-profit-making organisation with its own tasters / buyers.  £40 lifetime membership, a tenner off your first order.

You can collect wine from Stevenage if you live close enough, otherwise their delivery service is excellent.  The website is very well-organised and includes some members' reviews to give you an idea of what you're buying.

While prices are not excessive, you don't get the same offers you might get from a supermarket service e.g. a percentage reduction on 12 or more bottles.   What I've bought so far has been good, not necessarily noticably better than Waitrose Wines, but the variety available is very impressive.
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a lower gear

  • Carmarthenshire - "Not ALWAYS raining!"
Re: The Wine Society Any good ?
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2013, 08:23:00 pm »
The other online outfit I've regularly bought from is Laithwaites, which used to be Bordeaux Direct and I think is the same people as the Sunday Times Wine Club.

Correct