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Vintage Cellar Plans for a New Member

Hi all,

I recently joined the Wine Society (6 months ago or so) and I’m so far enjoying what I’ve ordered; both boxes and also individual picks - admittedly prompted by the ratings.

I’m now considering dipping a toe into one of the cellaring plans - likely the £35 French classics. Can anyone offer an opinion on either this or the other plans for a relative novice. I’d like to start putting together a cellar that I can draw on in future years so would likely take advantage of the cellaring service.

My understanding is that I’ll get 6 bottles of wine, quarterly, with each quarter being identical bottles. These can then be put into storage and drawn out at some point in the drinking window.

I’m wondering how many people use these, what they think and if they discern a big difference between these bottles and those that might be ‘drink now’.

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Just in case you hadn’t seem some of the older topics on this topic I thought you may be interested to read through. :+1:

Vintage Cellar Plan - win a Coravin - Membership - The Society’s Community (thewinesociety.com)
Vintage cellar plan - Membership - The Society’s Community (thewinesociety.com)
Vintage Cellar Plan_ - Membership - The Society’s Community (thewinesociety.com)

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Hi Leah, thanks for the reply. Yes I had looked through them but there wasn’t really any comment on whether they felt value for money; I’m conscious that these will be laid down and it will only be in a few years that I’ll know(!)

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I think @tom and @Herbster @Nowt_in_my_glass have vintage cellar plans so may be able to shed some light on whether it offers good value… I seem to Spend all my money on EP so unfortunately can’t say either way …

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@Jonathon

I guess I’ve been a TWS member since 2017 and I used the VCPs to help lay a foundation for a decent cellar. I initially thought it was perhaps a gamble as I hadnt worked through my likes and dislikes. On balance though the wines I have broached so far have been great. Even tempting me to seek out and keep an eye out for later vintages.

I opted for the French Classics for a 2 years (4 allocations), World Classics (2 allocations) and Small Wonders (1 allocation).

So, it was a great start. The wines allocated normally already have some bottle age and therefore you aren’t necessarily waiting for a decade to open the first. I now find myself using the EP campaigns to secure wine that I know I like esp Bordeaux, Rhone, Italian and Rioja.

I may go back to the VCP before I retire as the wines allocated don’t always appear on the list and I’m now in a place where I feel I can trust the buyer and their selection.

I hope this helps

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Thanks Leah/Tom.

Tom - it looks like I’m probably in a similar situation as you, it seems like a bit of a ‘punt’ but I do have some faith in the Society noting my previous purchases.

I can see these come in 6 bottle cases, so I guess that I can’t route them to the cellar. Did you store yours in a fridge cellar at home?

Leah - I’d love to try the en primeur (spelling?) but I don’t know anywhere near enough!

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Join the En Primeur Group for loads of good advice, even more if you ask for assistance and you will see those threads as part of your normal log in.

My first en Primeur was a totallu emotional decison, but many of my others have been aided by reading here.

To join, click the settings ‘burger’, then Groups option and then join the En Primeru group
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@Jonathon

I use TWS to store my allocations. From memory you get the first 12 months free as part of the plan and then the annual rate is really very reasonable… not only that but you can rest assured that they are kept in best conditions.

I draw mine out in either 3s or 6s dependent on their drinking window.

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Done! It looks like the next 2 hours of work might fall down into a wormhole…

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Thanks Tom, I thought that it was cases of 12 only so that’s really useful to know.

Followed closely by the contents of your wallet, come the next EP offer…

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2 hours! hahahahahahahaha

The rest of your life

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Never a truer statement ! Welcome to the dark side @Jonathon

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Ah, I only started recently and haven’t had any allocations yet, so can’t shed light on value.

It’s the World Classics plan, and the idea is that it will be my Anti-FOMO Magic Wand, which I can wave, as often as possible, whenever I see something delicious on the verge of selling out.

Fontodi stocks running away from me? Swish, it’s okay, something tasty is coming my way in December.

Some lovely looking old-school Rioja on the list? Swoosh, worry not, the direct debit is funding fresh surprises.

Precious little Margaret River cabernet available? Vwooom, let’s see what treats await me next time.

The (no doubt foolhardy) notion is that by deploying the magic wand often enough, on wines I would otherwise have hurriedly bought, it will actually save me money over the course of the year.

We shall see…

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Maybe I should try that tactic :wink:, trouble is I’m not sure my FOMO would be contained entirely :joy:.

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Not sure what to say about ‘value’ as I didn’t think the plans offered any discount from the regular prices? Could be wrong. I’m very happy with my plan though (small wonders) as it complements the other ways I buy from TWS: mainly EP plus impulse buys. I like the couple of surprises I get every 6 months.

If I wanted to biuld a cellar though and wasn’t sure what I wanted I think I’d contact the fine wine team direct though and get some personal service, I think they do offer that.

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That’s probably my poor terminology. I guess I’m wondering if it will be worth my while a few years down the line as in will the wine on these plans work out more cost efficient than buying them in the future when I’d likely drink them. Clearly it’s not a good comparison because I’m not necessarily picking wines I like so some will, I’m sure, be right up my street whereas others might not be.

I did read (here I think) that bottles under £20 don’t tend to be worth storing and I can see that the bottle prices start at £17.50 on the cheaper plan.

To be fair there are some “cellar-able” Sub £20 wines available. If you do a search for older wines on the list this gives you an idea of what less expensive wines can be aged a few years. In general you need to be looking at higher priced wines for this particularly in the more well known and popular regions.

They may not last for decades but there are plenty of inexpensive wines that will keep and develop for some time. Look out for Ch. Puygueraud in the Bordeaux EP in a couple of weeks. In the Rhone the Clos des Cazaux crus, or the Ch. Courac Laudun CdRV. German Kabinetts too. Others will have their favourites.

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That’s enough right there to start another thread. There are definitely sub-£20 bottles worth storing - one request will probably get you more than 20 in under a day from this community.

For me the important questions are whether it’s worth paying (and how much) to store them and what is the availability and cost of older vintages of the same thing.

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