Seems too many but then again I’m not sure I agree that they should reduce their offering in this area. I’m sure they sell very effectively to the mainstream membership and extending the offering in other regions isn’t really precluded by having lots of Bordeaux on the list. I’m not convinced that extending the non-traditional range would make sense commercially as much as some of the far more engaged people who frequent this forum might hope.
I guess my main point is you need cash cows to have loss leaders.
I’m with @Oldandintheway here. I don’t think it necessarily represents a buying policy without guidelines but rather a buying policy driven by what the majority of the members want. If it didn’t we’d being seeing masses of Bordeaux in the bin ends which we don’t. Some, yes of course, but not huge amounts; I know, I keep an eye out for them! Now whether the majority of members are misguided is a whole other argument.
Ultimately TWS is both a mutual, doing its best to serve all of its members, and a commercial organisation, doing its best to survive and flourish in tough times. It is always going to be a difficult balance that and no matter what they do some will be unhappy.
As already noted, it appears that most of the Bordeaux wines sell well, so no reason to stop selling them or reduce the choice. Although I have no evidence that this is also a factor, there could be environmental advantages in buying a lot of wines from one of our nearest production areas. The more wine that is bought in smaller lots, from more distant areas, the higher the costs in “wine miles”.
Just by way of info, the wines of Bordeaux account for 7% of our range (by line) and 14% of our sales.
Well, that seems to settle the argument fairly comprehensively.
Is that by value or volume ?
Volume. These are ‘regular’ sales, so excluding en primeur.
I had assumed the higher prices had affected the stat.
And I would say that many of TWS promotions are non Bordeaux too.
There must be a very dedicated cure of members for whom claret is their thing. Why is there a picture of a tweed jacket and red cords in my head?
Do the society bottles and the cheaper stalwarts do best or is it the upper end.
Without looking I’d say a bit of both, with the ‘cheaper stalwarts’ reaching up to £12. Don’t forget, though, that The Society’s Claret is our 2nd best-selling wine (after The Society’s White Burgundy).
Quinta de Azevedo, Vinho Verde. This was, for the last few years, our favourite light white - always reliable and remarkable value at under £7. A shame it has disappeared from TWS list - it’s still available elsewhere.
Thanks to Tom for asking and a great set of replies already.
I think the WS does an excellent job - there’s so many countries producing wines at many levels and it’s not possible to stock them all.
For the Rhone I’d echo the requests for Beames de Venise and also add Lirac - both seem to be capable of producing v good wines at fair prices. I’d also add some of the other near-to/new areas in the Rhone that I saw in the en primeur offer like declassified / near to Cote Rotie etc.
The Bordeaux range is very good but I’d also like to see more in the £15-40 range, as well as more in the Cotes. WS has a few Fronsacs and would like to see more from there and Bourg etc. as well as value producers like the Durantou wines. Perhaps also the odd new Cahors and other good wines from those areas.
I’d echo the calls for more from Greece, Sardinia, and related / volcanic areas.
I’d love to see more limited releases (say max of one 6 bottle case per member) from your great suppliers like those done recently, providing value and excitement. Perhaps 250 cases of a right bank Bordeaux goodie from 2012? or a new vintage of a brand new wine like that lovely Cabernet Franc from Chile I picked up from the showroom last week.
I also like the suggestion above for occasional, briefly-available mixed cases. Perhaps a buyer creates a case of their favourite BBQ wines available for six weeks? Or a case to match occasions like the world cup or Eurovision or … So small, limited editions designed to provide fun and also stimulate chat here.
Oh and perhaps even… The Wine society on tour? Imagine creating a replica of the showroom for a long weekend in a venue in say Bath and then Cardiff and Chester and York? Would be a great for members to meet the team and buy wines direct and perhaps participate in planned tastings alongside.
Thanks Ewan, that’s an illuminating stat. I’d love to see some infographics on data like this to play back changing tastes to the members.
Now that is a great idea in making the Society more visible and better connected to members not in easy reach of Stevenage. With ideas like that you should be on the executive.
Blimey - 14%. Thats a lot of Bordeaux.
So the Lady Lapin & I could share a differant Bordeaux type blend, every other day for a whole year (day off for Xmas). Assuming we were a tad richer and happy to be somewhat poorer thereafter.
Maybe that’s what I need, too - could this be the magic bullet to drink less wine? Only issue is I might lose the will to live
Some more suggestions of wines from which I’ve had a chance to not only taste the range, but visit the wineries and meet the wimakers:
- The whole range from Loredan Gasparini for incredible finesse only found in the Veneto region.
- Any thing made by Marlène Soria or fromDomaine Peyre Rose
- Any thing Sandy Belcher is involved with, especially the Chardonnay she was putting together last Summer (should be released by now).
- Graham Tatomer’s Rieslings and Pinot Noirs
- The amphor-aged wine made by Yves Canarelli at Clos Canarelli, and the rest of the wines made at that property.
- The rose frizant from Daumas Gassac
Thanks for the recommendation! I’ve now tried this and while it’s no First Press Napa it is a useful wine to know about when doing a small Waitrose picnic shop or something like that…
Glad it (sort of) worked for you!
I thought it was such a good value for money example of an oaked Chardonnay, I even wrote a poem for it.
Are complete stats. on TWS’s sales by region available to members?