Invite: AMA with new CEO Steve Finlan, Head of Buying Pierre Mansour & Head of Member Experience Liz Cerroti (23rd May, 1-2pm)


Hi everyone,

We’re due another Ask Me Anything (AMA) Q&A session, and with the AGM coming up in June I’m really excited to have three members of our Executive Team along to answer your questions.

AMA with our Executive Team, Thursday 23rd May, 1-2pm

Like last year, there’ll still be the opportunity to submit suggestions for questions to be asked at the AGM itself (you can do so here!) but we get lots of questions each year so this is your chance to send your questions directly to three members of our Executive Team for a one-hour live Q&A on 23rd May. Taking part, we have:

Steve Finlan, CEO

Steve joined us in January and has been hard at work putting together a new five-year strategy for us. This’ll be a great opportunity to ask him about his first few months as CEO and his goals for the future of The Society.

Pierre Mansour, Head of Buying and Acting Head of Marketing

We’ve already been lucky enough to have an AMA with Pierre (he was our very first person in the hotseat!) but as our Head of Buying this is a chance for you to ask him about the wines and products we sell, as well as any questions about our marketing.

Liz Cerroti, Head of Member Experience

Liz heads up the teams which are key to the experience that members have when they come into contact with us; by phone, email or webchat with Member Services, in person at Society tastings or in the Showrooms at Stevenage.

How to take part

Send us your questions by replying to this topic. Steve, Pierre and Liz will then join us live for an hour from 1pm on Thursday 23rd May and answer the advance questions we’ve already received, plus as many follow-up/‘live’ questions as possible.

Click here to see what happened during our last AMA with Rhone buyer Marcel Orford-Williams!

:point_down::point_down: Looking forward to seeing your questions appear below…! :point_down: :point_down:


I’ll start off with an old favourite.

What progress has the Society made in gaining redress for the ‘wrong legal advice that we believe that we received relating to the scheme in 2010’, to quote the Chairman addressing the AGM in 2018?


In plain English, what are the challenges TWS faces within the next 5 years in terms membership acquisition, competitor’s strategy, changes in purchasing behaviour and overall getting to know its customers better?


How much can you tell us about the success or otherwise of the Golden Bottle campaign? It was obviously a contentious topic round here (I quite liked it) but no one knew what the aims were exactly so it would be interesting to hear how well from your perspective it performed as a campaign.


Probably a question for Liz, having just reviewed the recent booklet of tasting & events, I note that apart from the one event in Durham, there is nothing north of the midlands for July - September.

Is this because the events north of the midlands are poorly attended, hence not cost
effective, or is there another reason why there appears to be a very specific bias against the members in the north?


Given that only a fraction of the overall membership is “active”, shouldn’t there be an annual subscription to the WS from each member to produce a more dynamic active membership as well as more money to run the society. Sort out the wheat from the chaff?

Why have you dropped the buyers’ reports and shares/accrued dividends list from the Annual review in favour of a boring document that now looks like a charity bulletin? Did you consult members first on whether they wanted to read the buyers’ reports online? (they are IMHO the most interesting part of the Review and many of us like to relax in an armchair with a glass of red and not sit in front of a PC). Instead you’ve filled up the bulletin with PR hype about mutuality and reinvested profits (which we, the already converted, know about - save that blurb for potential new members instead). Please bring back the old content and save the innovation for something you have consulted members on.


Would it be to consider a business model where members can invest directly into a wine project in exchange for benefits or financial returns?

I previously worked for a large multi-national company who at one time in their development were hell bent on ‘change’ and kept reinventing the wheel every couple of years. I suppose you have to undergo change to realise what you had in the first place was unique and couldn’t be bettered. Sadly sometimes little pieces of uniqueness get thrown out with the bathwater.

How many members did actually order in the last twelve months?

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I would like to know - with phrases like “eco”, “sustainable”, “food miles” a daily occurrence in the news, what is the Society actively doing to reduce it’s (and it’s members) impact on the world?

Context - bulk shipping of wine, encouraging lighter weight bottles, sustainable vineyard practices inc. reduction of chemical treatments etc etc



Quite oftenI discover a wine that I like, only to find it has been discontinued. When I want to read the details/reviews of them, before opening a remaining bottle, they have been removed.
Would it not be possible to keep them available for some time?

More difficult perhaps, but useful, would also be to flag up wines that you propose to discontinue. Last orders!

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I don’t mean to jump the gun on the ama but just on this point, there’s a url trick you can use to find old wine listings. Inthe address where is says productdetail just add historic before product and hey presto:


What in your view is the ideal growth rate of TWS over the next 5 to10 years?

How will the demographics of active members have changed at the end of that time, and how different will this List look?

How will member services evolve to support this growth?

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Society wastes money by over specifying the corrugated in their boxes.Most other wine shippers have much lower spec.cartons.If we are trying to reduce packaging for environmental reasons then why do you not look at this issue.

The government have declared a Climate Emergency, the IPCC has just produced a report on Mass Extinction for the UN. I completely agree with JamesF, we have got to do our bit. The society needs to state and promote it’s policy on this vital issue quickly.

Is this to be brought up at the AGM?

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Bearing in mind the huge challenges facing the world in relation to climate change and biodiversity what changes are we making to our operations and have we begun a thorough review looking at all aspects of how we do business>? Being a membership led organisation we should hopefully be much more responsive and nimble in responding to these challenges!

do consider - others may accept a larger % of spoilage in there shipping than TWS is prepared to.

I used to overspec drums for fuel - the small additional cost of packaging never caused an issue with the material inside

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I agree with this question - particularly relating to Buyer Reports. With a membership who have a real interest in wine, it seems odd to remove a section that might appeal to many.