Wine Society Van delivery Vs Couriers

Sorry, trying without success to copy and paste the line from the website “Free UK delivery. Any bottle. Every member” and wondering what the effect would be, if any, if it said something like “Price of every bottle includes cost of UK delivery”?

You’re certainly correct that we didn’t have much say in the matter. Arguably, we should not need to or want to on an operational matter but it did strike me as being at odds with this widely publicised sustainability ambition. It does not sit comfortably with that.

My hunch is that it is a part of a different (and in my view conflicting) ambition of accessibility, making TWS more appealing to all. Without reviewing your link, I do recall a thread around that topic and it getting pretty unpleasant for those like me, who don’t think that is necessary or the point of TWS.

Like you I also never take advantage of the ‘buy as little as you like’ proposition. I’m probably less into the concept of sustainability than some on here, but nevertheless, I’m not going to do things which clearly aren’t, when it is easy to avoid.

I do think, however, that whether DHL proactively approached TWS with the idea, or the other way around, the brutal truth is that if you chase lower price, you get lower service. As you say, that will be somewhat mitigated by the local position. Mine, as I say, is not all that bad.


Biiiig DHL delivery today normally it’s just a case so we will see fingers crossed ….

I agree.

Delivery isn’t ‘free’. It has a cost. Making it free for all orders creates a clear cross subsidy between those ordering a single bottle and those of us (most of us) ordering by case or high value items. It’s trying to make it like a remote convenience store. I didn’t support free single bottle delivery then and don’t now. Creates additional admin, traffic and cost. Would be interesting to understand the rationale and cost/benefit in reality.

EDIT: to add that I would be supportive of reducing the threshold for free delivery to say the cost of 3 average bottles, maybe £30 or so. Still cross subsidy going on, but not as blatant.


The cross subsidy argument is very true.

There is also a volume discount argument. If the increase in parcel volume has allowed TWS to negotiate and unlock a cheaper rate with the likes of DHL.

These things are never simple and there will be a fair few levers where we don’t have transparency. I’m not advocating that we need to. It’s clearly up to management to determine the best and most efficient model.

‘the best and most efficient model’: yes, but if the current model creates lasting resentment among those of us who collect and/or wait for a reasonable quantity for delivery, then that should be one of the considerations going into determining ‘best’.

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The notion of free delivery for small orders sits uneasily with me too. But is there not also an argument that it’s those who have the most deliveries, whatever their size, who obtain the greatest benefit?

To throw out a couple of ideas for discussion:

  1. Each member is allowed say 12 free deliveries a year. Above that number there is a charge, especially for small orders.

  2. An annual fee is payable for unlimited deliveries.

Overall, though, I’d prefer to see a minimum order to qualify for free delivery.

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If the cost of a delivery is (at least approximately) the same for any size of order, shouldn’t there be a fixed fee, for any delivery?

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Not if the notional cost of delivery is included in the price of the bottle.

There will be some who say they can’t afford to buy a case at a time, but I do think that the possibility of ordering one or two low value bottles should be discouraged. Such orders have a disproportionate cost both to the Society and to the planet.


I gifted my daughter (late 20s) a WS membership recently. Spookily, her husband was given one shortly after at Christmas by a relative…

She has just made her first order of a half case of wines. Cost about £50 I reckon, less her £20 discount as new member. She didn’t contemplate buying a single bottle on cost grounds. She might be a bit put off at buying a whole case at present, but half case seems to sit well with her. It gets delivered here of course…along with most of her deliveries!


This made me google what a case was. I’ve never bought a whole case of 12! I always thought a case were 6, which is plenty enough to sink in one pop!

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It seems that outside Bordeaux a case is increasingly understood to mean 6 bottles. Unless it’s Burlotto, when it’s one bottle.


Well, it did explain why some German wines were available in cases of 12 75s or 6 magnums, which I thought unusual. I’ve never really been into Bordeaux.

I think 6 x 150cl (6 magnums) is also traditionally referred to as a case, as it is the same volume as 12 x 75cl bottle.

I’m sure @CCouzens was referring to “case” increasingly being used for 6 x 75cl bottles. It is now an ambiguous term, and if there is any doubt what is meant you should ask.

(I think wine is now more commonly packed in sixes as it is a weight that can be carried more readily without damaging your back.)

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A wooden case of 12 definitely cannot be ‘carried readily’. On terminology, one of my cases of 2019s last week was a 6 and 1 a 12, both called case in the invoices.

Cases always used to be 12, except for sparkling which were always sixes. I think partly due to weight (a case of 12 sparkling with thicker glass being very heavy), and possibly also price, where relatively expensive champagne might have been something fewer people would buy 12 of at once.

I have no evidence for this but expect the move to sixes from some wineries is because as certain wines get more and more expensive, a six is easier to sell than a dozen, as a total amount of money? At the upper reaches of my own budget, I’d consider buying six for £200 for example, but very unlikely to spend £400 on a dozen in one go.


I can see the logic of having a national carrier for disparate deliveries but I haven’t seen a society van available in central London since before November. Have taken to making weekend trips to Stevenage to collect my orders.

If the vans can’t deliver to what I imagine is the largest customer base just an hour down the A1, are they just a loss leading gimmick?

It eventually arrived this morning after nearly 3 months, but in several more pieces than it should have!

A shout out and thanks to Michael our TWS driver who comes south from Chippenham.

Reserves delivery arrived whilst I was out on an early errand on Monday, all delivered securely, by the back door out of sight and covered with secure waterproof covers from our dry wood bags and secured by bricks.


No complaints about this delivery……many thanks for the extra care.

Next job the recycling


Yeah, Michael’s a nice bloke, really friendly and always does a great job :+1: