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Buying members

That’s fair, my comment is entirely selfish of course, a cooperative is for all of us. Wine is a pleasure to be shared. But at the same time the main reason I am a member of TWS is in order to source the wine I want to own and later drink. The education, grower zooms/tastings and so on all play a part, but the primary reason is to get hold of the wine and have somewhere to mature it.

I suppose there needs to a minimum number of active members to keep the cooperative sustainable, but at what point do you reach that? Surely that must be something that is measured and targets set? Does that happen, or is this just organic? At the moment it seems like any growth target is open-ended, get/accept as many people on board as possible - infinite growth. That’s more akin to a pure capitalist model than a cooperative model. If more members mean a greater diversity of wine, great. But if it also means not enough wine despite that diversity, which is better?

I am not much of a wine-explorer these days and have little desire to be. I know what I really like and with the occasional foray I tend to stick within a relatively narrow range. That range is coming under increasing pressure, which I think is directly attributable to a larger pool of buyers.

One question I had is whether this is natural growth, word of mouth and so on, or if this an actual marketing/membership drive?

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I wonder how much of this is down to increased paperwork, delays at docks etc?

As I suggested earlier, maybe it was easier in the past to call up the winery/distributor and get an extra lorry-load on a just-in-time basis in a way that just isn’t possible. This leads to us seeing these waves of wines coming in and out of stock as more arrives. As you’ve suggested, extra warehouse space allowing TWS to bring more wine in in one go will ease this issue (hopefully!).

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This must be one advantage of being bigger

https://www.decanter.com/wine-news/the-wine-society-improves-provenance-and-quality-of-the-blind-spot-472121/?s=09

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Not sure if it is an advantage to members for buyers to have an interest in the wines they choose and describe to us. Just as good newspapers don’t review books by their own reporters, perhaps it is time to require that when TWS is directly involved in the production, blending, etc. of a wine, it should ask an outside reviewer to write the notes for the website page.

As a big fan of Mac (thanks to the society) including the blind spot range and his own wines this is great news.

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Nothing wrong with that! apparently there is no such thing as a selfless act ( philosophers will no doubt wish to continue that theme in another thread)

For what it’s worth, I think you are right. I’m not a fan of growth for growth’s sake. I’m 60 and have seen MANY industrial companies try for that, then collapse under their own weight.

It is interesting (and pleasing) that TWS havn’t gone down the road of takeovers… but perhaps there is something in the constitution to preclude that? or maybe there are no other mutual wine societies to gobble up?

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Hopefully they might influence the truly awful label design!

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If there is a target for membership, is there also a ceiling?

They have indeed:

https://www.thewinesociety.com/product/the-blind-spot-pinot-meunier-2021
https://www.thewinesociety.com/product/the-blind-spot-garganega-2021
https://www.thewinesociety.com/product/the-blind-spot-shiraz-2021
https://www.thewinesociety.com/product/the-blind-spot-dolcetto-2021

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Not the same thing. It is not a review, it is a description.

I’m sure Ewan wants as many external sources as possible to write reviews, but not for the main product page.

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Have you looked at what is said about any of the wines? Choosing one Blind Spot at random, Syrah, I find ‘wonderful’, ‘alluring’, etc. These are not ‘descriptions’.

Don’t play that game. Those are adjectives. Here’s a description:

‘Power, punch and precision combine in this spicy syrah, from a wonderful vineyard in western Victoria. The winemaking here was kept simple to allow the crunchy vibrant fruit to do the talking however the wine has seen a little old oak barrel, helping to give a nice rounded quality. The nose is packed with blackcurrant, dark spices and plum, all of which follow through onto the palate, and are joined by a savoury character and alluring notes of earthiness and liquorice, before finishing with black-cherry and bitter dark chocolate notes. A little whole-bunch fermentation gives the wine lift and freshness.’

Oooh look, another

‘Succulent, sour-cherry and blackberry-laden red from the Adelaide Hills; a region to keep an eye on for progressive, fresh styles of Australian wine. Dolcetto calls Piemonte in North-West Italy its home but the climate and elevation of Adelaide Hills suits the grape well and has helped to accentuate the fruit while maintain crunchy, fresh acidity in this delicious example. This has spent a few months in old oak and the resulting wine is a great balance of the best elements of classic and modern Australian wine. Finishing with a hint of fig and chocolate, this juicy, generous wine is not one to miss.’

One more?

‘You may be most familiar with this grape for the part it plays in the classic Champagne blend, however as demonstrated here it can make incredibly drinkable red-fruit-driven red wines too. This comes from 20 year old vines in the cool Yarra Valley, which have been made into sparkling wine for most of their lives! This wine is very light red, almost bordering a dark rosé and is an outstanding pick-me-up aperitif and perfectly smashable! The incredible perfume has been given extra lift thanks to a little whole bunch bringing a hint of peppery herbaceousness. The nose is overflowing with freshly crushed strawberry and raspberry, with a light, crisp palate, reminiscent of raspberry sorbet. Lightly chill and drink instead of an Aperol spritz or cold beer for a glass of fun and rewarding refreshment. Please note that this wine is unfiltered and may contain a little sediment, which is perfectly normal.’

They are far preferable to this (hopefully a work in progress)

‘The Blind Spot King Valley Garganega 2021’

Enthusiastic? Gushing, even in a couple of places? Yeah, maybe. Inappropriate, however, absolutely not. Even the most curmudgeonly and miserable person couldn’t begrudge a buyer a bit of positivity and descriptive embellishment about a wine they have selected and are excited about. They all (ok, maybe not the Garganega) give you a very good idea of what to expect if you choose to buy the wine.

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Maybe ‘blind spot’ refers to the graphic designer? but I DO like dolcetto, so that’s going onto my wish list for post dry January. Straight into a decanter.

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If you don’t mind, fine. I assume that if he helped make the wine, he thinks it is good. That’s fair enough. But it is not the same as taking a view on someone else’s wine.

I joined in 2008 and so have a 2… something share number. My motivation to sign up was that I was fed up with the Sunday Times Wine Club (part of the Laithwaites empire) as their wines had become samey and crowd pleasing and aiming to supply lowest common denominator wines to an ever-increasing clientele. The hype in the marketing blurb did not match the the wines supplied and it was clear to me that they were having to source their portfolio from larger and larger producers.

I do wonder if TWS risks going the same way. So, I would be happier if the wines it has on the list at any one time risk being sold out quickly as they have been sourced from smaller independents rather than offering a range from producers making gazillions of bottles just so that everyone gets a crack at ordering some. There will always be more wine out there.

But what I do object to is the frequent mail shots from TWS about a new arrival on which link (eg Felton Road) I’d click on immediately upon its receipt only to find it’s already sold out. We had this discussion on an earlier thread and the explanation was that it takes a few days to get all the emails out… (But come on, that’s ridiculous…)

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This has been commented on before and no, I’m afraid it’s not ridiculous. It is very easy for the really big international corporations to flood out emails as they have the weight to get away with it. For smaller companies sending out 100k emails in a day is liable to get you flagged (by purely automated systems) as spamming and suddenly your emails are being blocked across the internet. It happens and it can be very difficult to undo once it has happened. I know this because my business has to send out large numbers of emails (order receipts and bought digital images by email) and periodically we get caught up in this sort of mess. the best way for us to avoid it is to stagger the sending of those emails. Also many internet hosters put a cap on maximum numbers of emails in a fixed period of time because otherwise ALL their servers can end up getting blacklisted.

Yes, TWS is considerably bigger than my business but in internet terms it’s still not a really a BIG company. So yes trying to send out an email to every member in one day is something that can easily end in tears.

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Fair enough. So there is a de-facto built-in unfairness to these promotions which does sit very uncomfortably with me and smacks of complacency.

Maybe it would be better to organise publicity which could reach all potentially interested members simultaneously - or, as they sometimes do with EP, wait for a cut-off deadline and divvy up allocations proportionately to how many expressions of interest they receive ?

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I think it’s one of those difficult ones where it’s going to be difficult to find a solution that will please everyone.

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I think it would generally make more sense to start sending out emails some days before the wine goes on sale, if the sending process is so difficult (which I don’t doubt). It does seem very unfair otherwise.
Or perhaps a weekly, or monthly email saying expected this week / month, rather than announcing something that is already sold out before you even hear about it. You might still have to be on the ball, but at least everyone would have the same chance.

(Edit: have I posted this before, or just thought it before? Having a bad day).

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This is the kind of solution I would favour. Some sort of pre announcement would be better in my opinion. I can understand them not wanting to announce too far ahead but some sort of “Look out for x, y and z appearing this week” would be a great way of alerting members.

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