Sale or Return wines

This makes me wonder - does TWS ever take back bottles not drunk at large functions and offer them for resale? That might explain why some wines go in and out of stock inexplicably…but I’d also want to know that the wine is moving around and has spent time uncellared. If this never happens, please ignore the question…but since TWS does offer sale or return I think its worth enquiring…


Interesting question.

Yes, The Society does offer some ‘Sale or Return’ options on large purchases in certain circumstances. You do need to agree this in advance, and there are not only costs, but also obligations on you to store it well and return it “in a saleable condition” (and not long after the purchase) so there is little chance of poor cellaring.

I can’t see how we could notify individual members about individual bottles that may have been returned, but whatever happens you are covered by The Society’s Promise, so if you found the wines to be damaged in some way you can get your own money back.

I don’t think this is the cause of lines going out of stock in most cases as this will also be taken into account when the order is placed. That is more likely to do with trying to manage stock levels but there having been a large, sudden, unexpected increase in demand (such as a #discovery mention in the community?) or maybe a delay in a stock replenishment arriving in the warehouse.

Does that help?

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Sometimes a hold is put on a wine. This may be because it has been earmarked to be used in a tasting/event or is being considered for a promotion or campaign such as Wine Without Fuss etc.

There are no doubt some other reasons why you might see a wine go in and out of availability as @robert_mcintosh mentions.

Speaking from experience, I know the frustration of waiting to buy a wine, seeing it be removed so purchasing something else only for the original wine to come back online. However with a list of 1500 odd wines I’m not sure making an inventory of every wine publicly available is either feasible or advisable from a commercial sense.

Im just glad there is such a good list that there is nearly always an alternative if my first choice has gone.

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On the original subject though of sale or return, I think this is a tricky policy and I would welcome TWS flagging inventory which has been moving about in this way (however uncommon).

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Can understand your concern. It is less than ideal if wine has been driven down to the south of France, left out in the sun for the duration of a wedding, then driven back to Stevenage to be returned.

However the showroom or anyone processing returns will always inspect all wines as much as they can before returning them for sale and as Rob said the wines are always protected by the guarantee. Also there are so few wines returned in such a manner that I don’t think it should stop anyone from sleeping at night.

The Tastings team often returns wine after events but we only do so if we haven’t placed that wine on ice or exposed it to significant heat/movement and are confident that the wine is fit for sale.

I personally don’t think the cost of discounting returned wines outweighs the very small risk of a faulty wine being sold, especially when the guarantee is in place but I can understand others taking a different view.