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En Primeur offer blues

I was unsuccessful in the recent white burgundy offer. Obviously disappointed. Can anyone shed any light on the selection process for applications? It is described as a fair process, and I have no reason to doubt that. However, what exactly is that process? Is it an algorithm?
Also, it would be interesting to learn about the level of over subscription and if my selection of wines was a “near miss”, or was it a “hopeless case”.
I don’t know if I am in the same situation as others, but when I make wine selections, it is after research and domestic discussions. Its not the same as buying a lottery ticket. So feedback on what happened could possibly relieve our unhappiness and encourage a future application for en primeur wines.

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I think you were nearer when you said lottery!

I am sorry you were disappointed. 2019 was half a crop. We got about 65% of our normal allocations as we got preferential treatment from our suppliers, apart from Auxey-Duresses which fared worsdt in the frost, so it was a difficult year to supply demand. Overall it was about 35% oversubscribed.


This is normally printed on the offers, I copied from a previous one but pretty sure it’s the same:

demand may exceed supply for individual wines, in which case we will share out (as far as is practical) the available stock equally amongst ordering members. If this still does not allow every member to have some wine, then as a final resort we divide members into groups depending on their level of support for The Society (quantity of wine bought, spend, orders placed etc). Members who have given greater support to The Society will have a better chance (but no certainty) of being allocated wine, and those who have given less support will have a lesser chance (but still a chance). The Society will offer a similar wine as a substitute if the original choice cannot be provided

So there is an algorithm (praise be) but it’s slightly opaque. In short, you win some you lose some. Other merchants are available etc.


Thanks Tom.
So it seems the algorithm favours members with the deepest pockets (those able to buy more and spend more). Those wanting to take advantage of en primeur prices because it gives them access to more particular wines at more affordable prices are discriminated against.
That is called fair.

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As a matter of curiosity (I didn’t put in any requests for this offer), were allocations scaled down? I didn’t notice anyone reporting this.

Sort of. Worth pointing out that more spending gives you more chance, but no certainty, and less spending still gives you a chance. The alternative favours those who see it first. Or even those with deeper pockets who can snap it all up. At least this way we all get a chance, to varying degrees. Pros and cons to both options really, which are discussed often on this forum and can get quite animated! I suppose people will have stronger feelings if they have missed out. Personally I feel it’s balanced out for me over the years. And there’s always a way to get something specific if I am desparate.

The good news about white burgundy is that there is usually plenty in the main offer next year.


I saw a couple of folks saying they had requested 2 cases who got 1 instead.

No idea, I only requested one modest case and got it. Would be interesting to fund out given the % oversubscription though. I wonder if that’s mainly on certain wines? I don’t think my choice was the most popular, judging by the comments.


Sorry you were not successful. I didn’t get what I asked for either.

There’s quite a few threads about the allocation process on the forum. FWIW I’m pretty sure we’ll never know the exact way it works.

That said, the potential for disappointment is a “feature” of the way EP works at the Society for offers which are going to be oversubscribed. This is the risk you take when you by EP from here. The reduced yields have magnified this issue, unfortunately.

The silver lining for this offer is that depending on what you wanted it’s likely to be available elsewhere in the new year or is available now. It might be more expensive (sometimes a little, sometimes a lot) but you could get hold of it if you really wanted.


So what determines your likelihood of success in those two categories?

If demand is high and supply low, I think I read somewhere that opting for one of the mixed cases is a better bet than most. Doesn’t help if the wines you want are not included though.

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You’ll have to ask the algorithm :laughing:


Half a crop for White Burgundy wines, says it all for me…
Some Community members got all that they asked for, some got nothing and others like me got a partial result. :+1:
If I were looking for White Burgundy, then I would keep an eye out on what is available on the website over the next week, you could also look a White Burgundy remainder lists and with some research come up with a few beauties!! :grinning: :+1: :dragon:


Would be interesting to fund out given the % oversubscription though. I wonder if that’s mainly on certain wines?

Completely agree Tom. It will be educational and interesting for all. I’d love to have seen this for the 2019 Bordeaux EP recently - what were the three most popular choices at deifferent price levels, which were over and under subscribed, how many cases in total were requested and sold, etc.

I suspect that a) there is an element of random chance built into the algorithm and that b) they don’t want to publish too many details of the algorithm due to an inevitable risk that people will try to game it.

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I am slightly baffled about fairness.
It would seem from Tom (thanks again) that to join the EP club within TWS I need to spend more. Because supporting TWS is measured by expenditure.
In the past 12 months, I have only spent GBP1100 at TWS on wine purchases. So in order to be able to buy EP wines, how much do I need to spend?
For if it is the big spenders who get pushed to the front of the queue, I think there must be a magic threshold that opens the door.
If this cannot be revealed, then I continue my bafflement about fairness.

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And thanks also Tom for the video! I guess that fits me perfectly. Not that I am bitter etc etc

I think you are being overly cynical here. In the TWS text shown earlier in the thread they define support as “quantity bought, spend, orders placed etc.” This absolutely does not say those who spend most get most. It suggests quantity (not spend) is a factor. I’m not a massive buyer from TWS simply because I don’t have that much money and I only drink about one bottle a week and my average bottle price is around £20 with occasional ‘flings’ up to £40 rarely higher. So I’m no big spender. However I have never yet missed an EP request. Everything I’ve requested I’ve got. Now I’m sure that will change eventually and, to be fair, I’m not ordering the most expensive low stock EPs. Maybe if I started trying to do so I would hit problems. But my EP orders are all pretty much in the same price range, maybe slightly higher, as my normal ordering.

To be honest I’m not quite sure how else you want them to do it. First come first served? This would be unfair to all those who don’t hang on every alert that comes through online throughout every day. Some do that, I don’t, and if that’s the way it was done I would probably constantly miss out on stuff. Besides there are plenty of other people out there providing a first come first served service.

A total lottery? But that would be unfair on those that do support TWS with a lot of business, with those who only ever come along to order ‘special’ stuff on EP get equal weighting. That would certainly piss me off.

I would love to see a system that is completely ‘fair’ to everyone; those who buy lots from TWS, those who buy a little from TWS and those who only buy EP specials from TWS. If you can come up with such a system I’m sure TWS would be interested.


Do yourself a favour and buy your EP elsewhere. Somewhere with a more definite and flexible buying strategy. Like many other WS members do to make sure they get what they want and not ‘order and hope for the best’ as at present. Stuff the algorithm. Perhaps if more members expressed their frustration with the current EP system at WS, they might be moved to change it. Then again perhaps not!

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