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Lunch with a Buyer: Pierre Mansour, Tuesday 26th May, 1-2pm

Yes, we all know that Jesus is a great winemaker! :grin:

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2015 and 2016 very good. Avoid 2013.

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I don’t see en primeur developing into a broad campaign in Spain like it does across regions of France. One of the features of Spanish fine wine is that many are released ready to drink. For me the key aspect of The Society’s EP offerings from Spain is that the wines must be uncopiable, hence La Rioja Alta 874 and Contino 93 series, both created as a collaboration between The Society and these producers, both requiring me to blend with the winemaker before they blend for their range.

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Hi @PierreM - has TWS data suggested that tastes and buying habits are changing amongst TWS customers - just as data from across Europe suggests that younger people (and people in general) are drinking less wine - but generally of a slightly higher quality?

And if so, what does that mean for TWS from a strategic point of view? Or is the model more ‘future-proof’ than others?

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Fascinating to read these questions and answers! We have about 10 minutes left, if anyone has any other questions!

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I’ve been spending a lot of time examining this topic. The impact is quite significant. Fortunately in Europe, wine production is regarded as essential (given its agricultural and economic importance) and so wine producers have been able to continue to work in vineyards (the vines start needing a lot of attention from spring onwards). The big impact has been the loss of the hospitality sector and the impact on cash flow for producers. This is most significant for small to medium sized producers (in other words most of our suppliers).

The Buyers have categorised suppliers based on their importance to The Society so that we can be strategic in pushing more business to them. In some cases, we have helped by paying early. There are also lots of deals available where some our suppliers have been let down by other markets so we have been able to step in and purchase these. We of course pass on any supplier discounts directly to members.

All of this is being developed into a campaign we are going to launch to members in September called “Backing our Best Growers”.

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I’m pleased you mention this topic- it was one of the hot topics of the Rioja event we did on Zoom last month. Rioja is the first fine wine region I have come across where the advice from winemakers is unanimously to not decant. It makes a lot of sense for Rioja because most reds do not throw much sediment (because the ageing process before bottling naturally clarifies) and most is released ready to drink. So yes I generally do not decant Rioja, unless it is very young, because I enjoy experiencing the evolution of flavours in the glass.

The white wine is CVNE Monopole Blanco which we were the first to market three years’ ago (2014 vintage). I tasted the new vintage in February, the 2017, which will be offered later this year.

From our Buyer Jo Locke - ‘Bought a parcel for WWF LY. Selection of new vintage samples at HQ waiting to be tasted. So nothing imminent but we have the wherewithal!’

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A really accurate observation about the balancing act we have to take to ensure that The Wine Society has a market-leading wine range whilst at the same time managing stock levels to ensure that we operate efficiently from both a logistical and financial perspective. It is reconciling these that I spend a lot of time on, along with the Buyers and Merchandisers. We have a very clear wine strategy, approved by the Executive Team and the Committee, which sets the purpose of our range. This emphasises our principal points of difference: unparalleled reputation for supplying excellent quality wines at the best possible price; our ability to sell esoteric, sometime obscure, wines; our willingness to invest in Keeping stock; range breadth and depth (1500 wines); supplier relationships; provenance; and more.

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Yes, Hi Pierre.
Regarding decanting Rioja; at the zoom presentation all three growers said no to decant, any further thoughts from you ?

I think you’ve just answered this.

Hi Pierre,

I’m a relatively new member of TWS. There appeared to me to be a never-ending selection of little En Primeur offers throughout 2019. Is this normal or have you intentionally increased these types of offers? Also are they planned or do you react to opportunities that arise ad hoc?

They are brilliant (if bank balance-draining), but if they are planned could there be a schedule? This would mean I could plan my finances a bit better and not just jump on everything until my wife’s forbearance is exhausted and I’m unable to snap up something I would have really liked to?

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Wow that’s a big question that I won’t be able to do justice answering here. But broadly, the buying trends amongst members are relatively consistent. A bias towards Europe with Chile and New Zealand most popular in the new world. Growth in rose and sparkling wine. And a focus on the sweet spot of £9-12 per bottle.

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I think that encapsulates TWS fantastically, and why I keep returning here to buy wine. Operating in an ethical, sustainable and opportunistic way that supports producers and passes on great wine to members - Bravo!

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Could we have a little more emphasis on having half bottles available?

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Looking forward to this one :smiley:

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Yes these are part of a plan whereby we can take advantage of the opportunities presented to us as buyers by our suppliers where we can snap up exclusivities. We do have a schedule but it tends to change a lot so we wouldn’t normally publicise this.

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Oh well, will just have to keep in Mrs B’s good books some other way - EP champagne maybe?!?

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Thanks for your time and speed-typing this lunch time @PierreM

Lots of fascinating answers today, hope you enjoy the rest of your afternoon.

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Time has flown by, as usual! Thank you all so much for taking part and sending through your questions, we hope you’ve enjoyed this event.

A huge thank you to @PierreM for taking the time to join us this afternoon, and for such fascinating answers!

Please join us again next Tuesday at 1pm - we have a new lunchtime event planned which we’re so excited about!

Thank you all again for joining us and supporting these events and thank you to our Director of Wine and Buyer for Spain, Pierre Mansour - we’ve been thrilled to have the Buyers take part in these events for the last 8 weeks!

We hope you have a wonderful rest of your afternoon!

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Thank you very much for your detailed response especially thoughts on decanting Rioja.

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Isn’t there one of these right now??

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