I love the Wine Society, and some of my greatest bottles and vinous experiences have come from them thanks to being able to access small cases of wine at attractive prices. But the latest offer of Dujac and Rousseau 2014 has me scratching my head. Why is a not for profit releasing wines at prices a little higher compared to some other reputable merchants in the market happily selling for 10% less and who are still making their 25% margin?I can drink Rousseau Cazetiers 13/14 at a particular restaurant I know in Catalunya for Euros 120 a bottle, if I choose to enjoy that delightful wine in the first blush of its youth, which is not a bad moment. Is it that the Society needs to charge at these levels in order to cover its costs, or that it purposefully prices to a level versus the rest of the market to dissuade those whose motivations in buying these wines are impure?
Is The WS really ‘not for profit’?
It’s a mutual which is not the same thing, although I have to say it seems to me that the benefits of mutuality are increasingly hard to find and the WS is run like any other large company.
I have checked all our sources and I believe we are still below the market for all those wines. Our prices are Duty Paid whereas winesearcher prices are often in bond, are you looking on that site or have you found them elsewhere? Happy to be corrected if you have found a merchant which is selling cheaper.
I always prefer to buy from TWS if possible but in the last 12 months or so I have encountered several instances of TWS offering wines at or even above the full retail prices being offered elsewhere. I have pointed this out a couple of times - on one occasion TWS price-matched the price available elsewhere but on another they flat out refused to do anything (and I bought the wine elsewhere). Another example of TWS price increases is the Exhibition Barolo 2012 which I purchased in July 2016 at £19, and which appeared to sell out very quickly. It recently reappeared (same vintage) at the increased price of £25 a bottle. Now it was obviously very good value at £19 but the price increase appears to be wholly unrelated to the cost to TWS, and can only be explained as an attempt to maximise income / profit.
Fair point, I had not realised the prices were DP vs IB, which of course makes perfect sense. Thanks for joining the conversation Shaun. So are all wines such as these whose prices are shown as DP VAT paid in the offer possible to buy IB as well, now that you offer a Bonded service?
That Barolo example might have to do with Brexit to some extent, as I assume the first batch was bought by TWS before the pound devaluation, while subsequently purchased stocks were purchased at a stronger EUR. Just speculating though…
Re. the Exhibition Barolo 2012, the very well-priced first edition (launched in 2015) was made for us by Silvano Bolmida. The note sent out to members on launching read:
“Offered at an exceptional price for the quality
“Silvano needed cash to build a new cellar, since he had no room to expand his own house to find space to store bottled wine. Thus we were able to pay an exceptionally good price for a wine of this quality, helping him and members of The Society.”
Once stocks had been exhausted, we decided to source more 2012, being such an approachable vintage. Unfortunately Silvano had no more to offer, and so we went to a favourite supplier, Ciabot Berton. The difference in cost is because of the change of circumstance and producer, rather than anything financial. The only thing we seek to do is maximise the quality of the wine available to members. Maximising income / profit is not in our DNA.
@CraigU_NZ, if you wish to discuss the several instances you mention, please send me a private message and I’d be happy to look into them. We always aim to be at the lower end of pricing for a given wine, but due to various circumstances this is not always possible.emphasized text
I’m afraid these wines are not available In Bond, it’s only our En Primeur offers which are available as bonded stock. These Rousseau and Dujac wines are physically in Stevenage so would only ever be offered Duty Paid.
Thank you for the clarification. I had not realised that the two 2012 Exhibition Barolos were actually different wines.