Future-proofing your Wine Society

Mine came yesterday and I felt pretty much the same as you @Richard - all a bit waffley. I didn’t like the sound of another line that said something like “members might not like new recruitment directions” or so, it’s an odd way of phrasing it.

Not against the society growing of course and we need more younger members to keep it going (at 33 I try and encourage others to join but my friends are either too far gone to Natural wine or not quite into it enough for the society).

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Just a thought, but I wonder if this is referring to some negative noises which were made about the Golden Bottle…? Not everyone was happy with that particular recruitment drive, so perhaps it’s acknowledging that.

Still, can’t please everyone all the time - and recruiting new members should definitely be on the agenda.


Ditto, read and it went straight into corporate speak, all about not standing still but nothing about how the Society will move on other than recruiting unspecified new ‘diverse’ groups, he doesn’t like the demographics !
“! We’ll be trying out some new initiatives this year to attract new members; you may not like all of them and if that is the case, I am sorry. But bear with us, it is important to try. If they work; great. If they don’t work, we’ll take a fresh look.”
Nobody minds change as long as it is for the good, not for the sake of it, this says nothing

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A strange conclusion to draw. Growing sustainably is what we have done from 1874. Delving into the financial statements online, you will see that we have plenty of cash - it’s how we can invest in new assets and resource in the coming years.


Hehe… you could easily read that as “you may not like all of the new members” rather than the “new initiatives.”

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In fact, ties in very nicely with the happy news :+1: :grinning:

Agreed. Nothing in that to suggest it is short of cash, and a quick look at the last accounts would prove the contrary.

On home page - see below, circled in blue - has been there since 26th April.

Edit: Oops! Just noticed you meant the News, not the annual report! Sorry! We include content from the News in our Discovery section, rather than the whole SocietyNews.

Thanks all for the comments. First I can assure you that we are not short of cash. Second, it is quite apparent that we will need to invest in better systems, a better website and additional warehouse capacity. For example, without the ability to tailor communications, I have discovered that we get broadly a 50/50 like/dislike response to most of what we do ! The article was simply to suggest that we will need to be more experimental as we embark on the next phase of The Society’s evolution and to bear with us while we are doing it - the aim is to improve your experience as current and future members - and in doing so we will future proof the business and, of course, continue to “Champion The Joy Of Good Wine”


Good to know. Your phrase ‘allow us to invest’ suggested that there might be a constraint on investment.

We are presenting our strategy to The Committee in June, so more to come on plans and investments; but the reality of any strategy is to make clear choices and prioritise carefully. I am very cogniscant of the need for both !

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Growing turnover does not always equate to growing cash reserves…in fact, it can sometimes lead to the opposite as working capital is squeezed. Not in this case though!


Thinking about “modernise” and “evolve”; not really the same. If we get a new system we are modernising. But to me evolution implies some change in our nature, for example growing wings. Nothing too alarming about modernising, but if we are going to evolve it raises the question “Into what?”.

Interesting to note that the DB pensions deficit has again reduced significantly and is now less than £1m. Even more interesting is the footnote advising that there has been a move to increase the hedging of interest rate and inflation risk in the liabilities…which makes sense, and something I commented on this time last year…that thread closed now to make way for the 2019 one.

This means that the funding movements in the scheme are likely to become less volatile on a year by year basis, so likely to be less risk to the balance sheet from that source in future, another aspect of future proofing…


That is often said - by many organisations. But actually we need NEW members - of any age. I see nothing wrong in the idea of continuing to appeal mainly to older people, recruiting them as they reach a more mature age. To do this successfully still requires change, but not change that is as radical as that needed to sell to a younger generation.

I wonder if moving towards more “natural wine” is actually one of the things thought to be unpopular amongst oldies. Just for the record, as someone in my early 60s I would very much welcome that move. On the other hand, I think there is something to be said for retailers sticking to what they do well and letting customers find them (something which seems to go against the grain for marketing people). As a member I am not too fussed about TWS’s rather conservative range - I’ll just go somewhere else to buy the more radical stuff.


That is often said - by many organisations. But actually we need NEW members - of any age.

Absolutely too true! Another organisation I belong to has been pre-occupied with getting “young” members for as long as I can remember and has wasted enormous resources pursuing this aim. If people join in their forties or fifties and stay for 20 or 30 or 40 years that’s already pretty good. It doesn’t matter that they weren’t members in their twenties or thirties, even ignoring how little discretionary spending power they may have had at that time.


New member acquisition focuses on all potential members. We will be focussing on lifestyle rather than demographic, meaning that an interest in wine is far more important than age or sex. Interestingly, and perhaps not a surprise, spending increases with age to a point, but engagement starts very young. Lifetime value to the Society is far more important than year by year spend. We utilise mosaic analysis to help us understand our membership better. The highest spending mosaic is 25-35 year old city dwellers, so young or old, the point is engaged membership. I hope that helps !


Can you please ask a colleague to check what you write to remove business consultant buzz words? Lifestyle, demographic, engagement, mosaic, for a start.


Nah you’re fine Stevo, keep up the good work.


If that means you/we try to sell to anyone interested in wine, that sounds good to me, but it does not sound like much if a focus. But it there anything more in the term “focussing on lifestyle”?