Musar Mayhem!

Musar White 2017 listed today at £36


And that’s a 20% price rise since September last year for the 2016. Ouch.


I’m just catching up on this interesting thread and thought I would add a couple of comments.

First Release is really resonating with members and the Musar 2017 has been no exception. The interest from members far exceeded our forecasts, especially as we expected the price increase put in place by the Hochar family, would dampen demand. (Though our price of £27 in bond is I believe the cheapest compared to any other merchant).

As a wine club our overarching principle is to be fair to as many members as possible which is why we decided to split the cases into 3s. This meant we were able to satisfy every member who ordered. Our stock and sales system means it is operationally simpler to offer a single wine in the same case size, hence repacking all the stock in 3s. (Sometimes the producer can pack in 3s but the Musar shipment had already left Lebanon).

The repacking does come at a cost- both in terms of effort and resource and in excess packaging- but I can assure you that the latter will not impede or slow down our goal to reduce our packaging carbon emissions, including cardboard and glass, by nearly 40% which is a big part of our goal to halving total carbon emissions by 2032.

I share the frustration about single bottle availability with First Release. The good news is that we have just started a project to replace our ERP system with one specifically designed for wine businesses. This brings a host of benefits, not least it will enable us to offer in bond wines in multiple formats- including single bottles.

Back to Musar- it’s worth me highlighting that the Chateau red is now allocated to wine merchants as demand around the world, notably the USA, continues to grow. Fortunately The Wine Society has been a loyal follower for decades so we get a very decent allocation, one of the biggest in the UK. Even more fortunate, I managed to secure an extra parcel of the 2017 as soon as it became clear that our first release offer was proving so successful for members. I am confident that this will mean there will be some available online, sold as duty paid by the bottle, later in the year. I’ll be sure to post on this thread when it becomes available.

I hope this helps clarify our approach.


Thank you @PierreM , always great to hear directly from TWS on these pages, whatever the discussions may be. Just a quick clarifier -

Though our price of £35 in bond

I hope you mean £27 in bond (£162/6), GBP35 delivered!


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oops! yes £27, thanks for highlighting


But why is it First Release? It just seems odd, seeing as it’s a wine the society stocks every year and when there have been previous smaller vintages it was still marketed the same way. It’s also available duty paid from other merchants…


Thanks for addressing the Musar First Release on here Pierre - it’s really impressive to me as a newcomer to these forums!

It’s clear the First Release system has resonated with members; it’s new, it’s being applied to popular wines, and the FOMO factor is significant when we’re used to them just appearing on the list. Whether and on what terms it’s considered a success will become apparent in due course. It certainly has the cost benefit of quick turnover.

It must be really difficult forecasting demand given all the factors you mentioned.

I did chuckle at this though. If TWS regularly repackages two thirds of a consignment’s cases of six (half the allocations were sixes, half threes?) solely because the stock and sales system decrees it then it’s difficult to see how First Release is going to accelerate that goal! That’s a lot of unnecessary new packaging and recycling…

For those of us who appreciate original cases it would also appear we’re stuffed - although Callum has kindly said he’ll do his best.

I can only relate my experience obviously but, having purchased four cases of six every year of each Musar release from TWS my Spiral Cellar is a shrine to those lovely flatpack six cases. Ironically, as it’s getting quite full I was considering dipping my toe into TWS members storage this year for them.

Instead, whilst I wait for six bottles in plain packaging to arrive, I’ve just this morning ordered the 2017 elsewhere. Divine Wines are doing next day delivery
on the original cases at £35.95 a bottle and I can finally relax.

I appreciate there may be teething problems with this First Release idea; but I don’t like it, it seems very un-Wine Society, and I won’t be taking part again.

Other than that, I love everything you do :slightly_smiling_face: X


Thanks for the update Pierre and especially for confirming that the above is in the planned pipeline. I know this piece of functionality matters for at least a few members in the community (myself included!) so to see this coming is extremely promising!

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Some interesting background information in this recent circular from Divine Wines below.

I hadnt realised that the in bond sales option was a new policy instigated by Fells?

Are we likely to see TWS stock the upcoming back vintages in Q3?

Ste Al

Good Afternoon

I hope you are well and enjoying some of the sunshine that we have here. I have some further news on the availability and distribution of Chateau Musar wines, including (importantly) the future availability of back vintages from the new distributor, Fells.

Current releases

I believe that Fells will continue Chateau Musar’s recent strategy of aiming to sell all or most of each new release in the first year, with modest volumes held back in Lebanon for library stock that can be released in future years.

Many of you have bought this year’s new releases from us (thank you). We managed to obtain bigger allocations of Ch Musar Red 2017 than we expected, so we still have availability despite a high level of sales. We’ve also taken some Ch Musar Red 2017 stock in bond (a change in policy instigated by Fells), and that has finally been landed into our bonded stores at LCB Eton Park (formerly Vinotheque). So, if you prefer to stash some away in your bonded stores for a few years, please get in touch. If you’ve already bought 2017s in-bond from us, then please allow a month or so, as LCB has a big backlog of transfers.

Back vintages

I’ve given an indication of the stock that we have below. 6x75cl cases may only be available where a case price is shown. I had a telephone meeting with Chateau Musar today, to check on future availabilities. They appear keen to continue offering back vintages, but I think volumes are likely to be small compared to a few years ago. Some back vintages will be shipped from Lebanon this summer, and they should be available for sale in quarter 3. The vintages will be as follows:-

1997 2001 2003 2004 2009 2010

I have no idea of the prices, and probably won’t know until the stock is physically available in Q3. Volumes will be small, and I’m expecting maybe as little as 100 or so bottles of some vintages. That’s for the whole UK and not just DFW! If you have potential interest, then email your wish list including numbers of bottles. I know it’s difficult without knowing prices, but rest assured that we will be looking to keep prices manageable and consistent with other vintages – even if we have to reduce margins to achieve that! Wish lists may help us to secure stock from Fells, though you don’t have to make a final decision until we confirm availabilities and prices.

I believe that small volumes of a few back vintages remain in Chateau Musar’s UK holdings, and these may enter the UK retail market. I expect Chateau Musar to let me know if/when they make that decision.



This should probably go in the things that annoy you thread. Why do companies feel the need to prefix/suffix stock availability with a statement on how good sales are. TWS has done it on my two latest EPs where “although demand was high you still have your full allocation”.

I guess they are just trying to make me feel better about spending too much money on wine :grinning:

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Only your two latest EPs? I thought that was boilerplate for every EP :laughing: