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An important update from our CEO Steve Finlan

I simply don’t understand the outrage at the decision to stop deliveries for a limited time. While to joe public, the message two days might have seemed crystal clear, it really isn’t for many businesses in terms of regulations and legislation that is still being amended on the go. What is ‘essential’? What is a ‘key worker’? It’s a pretty brave decision to have taken and one that entirely fits with the ethos of TWS. Happy to woman up and not have deliveries for a while. Or is that too woke? Truly, there are really other things in the world to be raging about.


I write as a very long-standing member with an order delayed by the decision to stop deliveries etc. The members bleating about this decision show the difference between power and responsibility. They are not the employers of the staff and carry no responsibilty for their welfare. Stop bleating!


You must have massive panniers!

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Can I also point out that relieving pressure on supply chains/supermarkets might mean couriers deciding to switch to assisting vulnerable people and making deliveries to them of essential goods like food and meds? One would hope.


Again can you please explain how it’s safe? Can you say how big the warehouse is and how many staff are needed to maintain the huge increase in orders?

You’ve decided it’s safe with no facts. Other wine merchants are tiny with maybe a dozen staff.

Just because the government hasn’t stopped internet companies doesn’t mean they have to operate. I feel very sorry for those working in Amazon warehouses right now. I dont believe that people who cant buy 12 bottles from the society will go to a supermarket and buy 12 either, but I have no facts either way so it’s just my opinion.


Both are reasonable assumptions eg warehouses for all the big retailers doing deliveries have the same issues and they are managing them. And actually the Wine Society could temporarily step up and offer to key workers like the NHS and Police who want to relax, and as a service to non members for a short while. Ultimately all would be for Steve and his team to consider and decide. But seems a strange decision and missed opportunity


Be nice, people. There are very reasonable points on both sides. I’m relaxed about (if mildly inconvenienced by) the decision but I entirely get the idea that reducing pressure on supermarkets is a good call at present. I’m sure the decision is being reviewed on a daily basis and I’m sure he’ll take questions at the next AGM.

Rather than arguing over the current call, open a bottle and tell us all about it on the midweek thread.


I’m genuinely gobsmacked by some of the reactions here. A few thoughts:

It’s only wine for goodness sake. I currently have plenty but I can live without out it if need be.

The reason the supermarkets are open is so people can get food. Period.

If the wine society starts trading again I cannot believe it will make even the tiniest difference to the load on the supermarkets. A little perspective needed here! We’re quite big but not that big!

If the WS started trading again and just one member of staff fell ill and died, that would be perfectly acceptable?

I really don’t care if Boris has decided to allow off licences to open and I don’t care if he says all online traders should keep trading. Maybe he considers wine delivery to be an essential service, I don’t.

My business is online trading and from speaking to other online traders I know that delivery companies are debating whether to continue operating anyway. (We have been forced to close down by covid-19 but for rather different reasons).


Just putting my Community Manager hat on, I’d like to echo this, as this thread is heating up a bit: I totally get this is an issue not everyone will agree on, I just want to stress we welcome everyone’s views, as long as you respect each other.

One of the greatest things about our members, if not THE greatest thing, is that you all care about The Society. And believe me, we’re all reading these comments at Society HQ and care what you think.


To be fair to those upset by the pause in service, they clearly care about TWS!!


Hit the nail on the head. I’m extremely proud to work for this business and have been every day since I joined it nearly 7 years ago. Yes the wine is amazing and the sheer level of integrity through and through makes me proud but it’s the way the business looks after its staff which is what makes it a genuine pleasure to be a part of. Without healthy (physically and mentally) staff The Society wouldn’t be what it is today and this particular decision has meant we have all been reminded that we work for a genuinely first-class operation. I and all my colleagues (especially those in Member Services right now) are working our backsides off from our homes at the moment but doing it with pride that we are able to still be in touch with members whilst also following the advice of the NHS and with gratitude that we have been given the ability to look after our health in this current climate. My thoughts and concerns, personally, are with all those amazing people who are putting their health on the line in essential jobs, keeping the country going and also with the people who aren’t as lucky, working for businesses who are not truthfully prioritising the health of their staff when they really ought to be.
This is a special, honest and unique business. There is a reason I have colleagues who have been here for over 45 years and I think that alone speaks for itself.
Stay safe. Stay home. Drink your cellars dry.


You are correct, online sales nationally represent less than 8% of total wine purchased.


This would have to continue for a while for me to manage that last. But I’m having a good go! :rofl::clinking_glasses:


Doing just that.

Hey does anyone know where I can get a new pair or trainers please? Need some. Box white. Essential.

here it’s two years at a bottle per day…my wife is working on it !


Once things settle down it would be interesting to know what percentage of inactive members became active, and the jump in sign ups over what was expected in this period.

3x volume of orders clearly extraordinary.

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The CEO made a prompt and prudent call at the time he did so, with a lot more knowledge and specialist advice from his team than we have here. I’m sure that working practices will be looked at, as well as the wider picture, in terms of when a service can be resumed.

I think that some of the comments on here lack a sense of proportion. Perhaps it’s as well they have posted on here to get the fairly direct feedback from other members rather than being able to complain to Member Services staff right now.


I really hope the lockdown isn’t that long!


For the avoidance of doubt the health & safety of the staff comes first so I agree with closing Stevenage showroom.

So how are UK online wine merchants reacting to COVID-19?

https://www.bbr.com/ Open

https://www.majestic.co.uk/ Open but they’re very busy

https://www.tanners-wines.co.uk/ temporarily closed but only due to unprecedented demand

http://courtesy.laithwaites.co.uk/ temporarily closed but only due to unprecedented demand

https://www.corneyandbarrow.com/ open

https://www.robersonwine.com/ open but busy

https://www.virginwines.co.uk/ closed but only due to exceptional demand

https://www.leaandsandeman.co.uk/ open

https://www.oddbins.com/ closed for a few days due to demand.

https://www.yapp.co.uk/ open

https://www.justerinis.com/ open

https://www.waitrosecellar.com/ open but slow

I could have cherry picked but the list above is a balanced view which shows the wine trade is generally open for business and extremely busy with middle class stockpiling. My personal view is Steve Finlan has over reacted and TWS is missing out on business as a result, nobody else is closed until further notice.


What, not toilet paper?

Seriously, I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. My thoughts entirely, but I had neither the time nor eloquence to put it so well.