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Don't wait to be invited


In January, there was an email about a showroom tasting in January, but also advance notice of the sale and another tasting on 22 March. I waited to have the invitation to the March tasting (the notice about the bin end sale did come); then asked a week ago whether the tasting had been cancelled: no reply; then asked again, and was told that it had become fully booked. This seems rather odd, so I thought I should warn others that a non-invitation may be the only notice you get.


Hi @SPmember, if you mean the press tasting in London on 22nd March (i.e. tomorrow) - @Ewan posted an invitation to it a while ago, with two members randomly chosen for it from all those who expressed an interest. But you might be referring to something else entirely…?


No, I mean the Spanish tasting: from email of 8 January:

Spain: Free Tasting
Thursday 22nd March 5.15pm – 6.45pm


Ah! All clear now :+1:


So as far as I’m aware, you don’t get invited as such to a tasting event. The information goes live under the tasting section of the website and you can book and pay to secure your place via this portal. It may be worth keeping an eye regularly on the timetable of events in your area so as not to miss out.


No. We do get invited (at least those of us near Stevenage). They are every couple of months, not paying, not expensive wines, and normally there is just a simple ‘book by 2 days before’. Something clearly went wrong with this one; perhaps they invited a group and then realised they did not have space for others?
There is also a tasting list for all other tastings (these don’t appear on it, only the show room information page). This is sent out (about quarterly?) and is also on line. Are you saying that there is yet a third category of tastings, not on the main tasting page and not on the showroom page?
It may well be true. One of the really frustrating things is that it is so difficult to find out about all the activities.


Ah ok, I didn’t realise. TBH I just look at the online listings under the different categories and if you scroll down to the actual timetable, it lists everything regardless of location or category etc… Sounds like maybe someone dropped the ball along the way if its normal for you to receive an actual invite…:confused:


Which page do you mean? I just looked at

and that only has the paying tastings.

The showroom tastings are normally at:

But that still only shows the bin end sale (and that is now out of date).


Download the tastings brochure and everything is listed there regardless of location.


No. The free show room tastings are not in the brochure.


To clarify: this is what the last (January) email said:
Join us on Thursday 25th January between 5.15pm and 6.45pm

Kickstart 2018 with a special treat: come in out of the cold and join your fellow Society members in the Showroom for a free tasting of some of Italy’s wine delights. With endless grape varieties to explore and centuries of winemaking experience to ensure fantastic quality, this is the perfect chance to get to know Italian wine a little better.

That is what I was expecting for the March tasting.


Not sure if this will clarify or confuse but here goes:

Showroom tastings are run by the showroom. As they are completely separate to the “tastings and events calendar” they do not appear on the tastings page of the website.

Showroom tastings are free but due to continued growth of members around the Stevenage area, they now require registration to attend and do become booked out. These tastings are promoted by email but you are only likely to receive this email if you have previously purchased from the showroom. I’ve personally found that whilst most Wine Society emails make it through, some of these showroom emails go to spam, but no idea why that is the case.

Alternatively, there is the tastings and events department, which I’m lucky to be a part of. Our small team hosts approx 140 events a year around the country. Due to numbers of members, costs, access to producers and logistics there is a rough split of 30% Stevenage, 30% London and 60% rest of the country. Whilst most members I’ve met have been understanding, some can be quite aggressive about their demands for more events in their particular regions which I take as a positive sign that the events are enjoyed by members.

I’m doing my best to try and find ways of reaching more members with enjoyable and informative events and I’m asking quite a lot of the team to make that happen. Details of these events are released 4-6 months in advance via a quarterly tastings booklet, as well as being posted on the website. Some events book out within days (or even hours) of release and end up with long waiting lists, while many, in particular the regional events, tend to have tickets remain available up until the event itself.

There is then the 3rd mysterical group of events known as press tastings. Invites to these are like winning the golden tickets to an adults version of Willy Wonka’s factory and require years of dedication and training and/or significant sucking up to a certain Scotsman here on the community.


No, that still doesn’t explain either why you don’t include all the tastings on one part of the website or why you did not send out a notice for the Spanish one tonight. I last bought from the showroom on 16 Feb., and I last received a notice about a showroom tasting in January: how often do I need to come in to stay on the list? I do not allow any emails to go into spam without being checked.
Something went wrong this time. Fine, That happens, But it would be nice to know what it really was.


It kind of does. They may all look like ‘wine tastings’ to us but from TWS pov they are clearly separate entities. If the email isn’t in your spam folder perhaps just give members services a call and make sure you’re included on the email list for next time.


Maybe this is a good time to air my idea to have the showroom team do one of our AMA interviews?

They could talk about these tastings, bin ends, the enomatic machines, and also some of the other skills and services they offer, like food matching (there’s an ex sommelier) & wedding/event planning (well, the wines anyway) and more.

Would that be of interest to everyone?



I do the Showroom emails so I can answer this one in a bit more detail for you. Firstly, I’m really sorry you’ve missed out on this one, @SPmember! :frowning: And you’re completely right: members do normally get an email invite.

We have thousands of local members who love these tastings, unfortunately far too many to ensure they can all attend every tasting (much as we’d like to!) so we don’t send the invites to every local member every time, I’m afraid. We tend to send the tasting invites to local members who have recently shown a lot of interest in the style of wine we’ll be tasting to give them a chance to try more examples.

This tasting also got fully-booked really fast, partly because it’s one of our most popular, and also because the last free Showroom tasting we did (Italy - another of our most popular!) was massively oversubscribed way beyond our expectations, so there were lots of disappointed members. To make up for it, we offered them the chance to pre-book the Spanish tasting, so there were less places available.

We always strive to be as fair as we can to all members, and we’re constantly working on improving the way we do things to achieve that and avoid disappointment, but inevitably sometimes we can’t avoid it, especially with these highly sought after free tastings.

I hope this helps and I hope you’ll be able to attend another of our free tastings soon!


Thank you to Laura for the explanation. (But why couldn’t someone have replied in this way to my email last week? or earlier this week? or even to my email of yesterday?) But if I understand you, the way to get invited to a Spanish wine tasting is to apply slightly late to an Italian one? And it is a mistake to do what I have done on all previous tastings: wait until I am sure I can come, and then apply?

Seriously, if it is necessary to reply as soon as possible, you should say so, as this has never been a problem in the past. If these have suddenly become more popular, you need to warn us that things have changed.

On the relationship between these tastings and what are called ‘tastings’ on the website: I don’t see why you can’t have a line at the bottom of the tastings page saying: there are additional show room tastings, see link… This may be to my disadvantage if it means more people hear about them, but it is really frustrating trying to find out information from your website.

I don’t think that you have sufficient information about members’ tastes to decide which ones we are interested in. We may buy from other places, including from producers. We may be thinking of trying a new area, but want to experiment first. Or we may buy bottles in the show room (these often don’t end up in ‘my wines’ on line).

Better to say something like ‘one tasting per year’ (or per 6 months or whatever) than to have arbitrary criteria.


Thank you for this feedback, @SPmember. I do understand this has has been frustrating for you and that’s never our intention, so I’m sorry about that.

I had a chat with the Showroom team , and you were right in your guess these free tastings have only recently (back in August 2017) become so popular they have become oversubscribed.

The first time this happened, we amended the invitation email wording to highlight that places are allocated on a ‘first-come, first-served basis, as space is limited’ to help make that clearer and avoid disappointment.

I wish there was a way to be invited to every tasting, but currently it’s felt that this wouldn’t be the best way to treat all members fairly as there are so many who would like to attend.

Thanks again for all your suggestions and feedback. We are always listening and always doing our best to improve. :slight_smile:


I don’t think it is fair to host free tastings for the select few. This is not really free… The wider membership just picks up the bill. Then you are surprised that members in Leeds ( just a random example @Nowt_in_my_glass) complain about no tastings in their neck of the woods.


I appreciate your point, @szaki1974 and this is a bit of a big question that I probably can’t really answer on my own, haha! Let me chat with some of the people in the know here who will have considered this issue from all angles and have the reasonings behind it and I’ll get back to you. :smiley: