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Browsing through TWS lists before putting in an order a couple of items came to light.
The choice available from the different regions, the answer to some anomalies are self evident ie the WS does not reflect the general public’s buying in supermarkets, it by nature has a different clientele, none the less some ares seem out of kilter.

Two countries stand out, Australia with 39 wines on offer from the biggest in bulk exporter to the UK seems a bit mean and the list is not very inspiring considering what Australia has to offer outside the big brands.
Argentina has plummeted in what is offered to just twelve bottles from around a peak of thirty plus, bit of a one grape wonder, currently, but none the less very popular some great wines and very popular generally.

You can understand all those NZ SBs and PNs as they are a higher price bracket and SB is just about the biggest selling grape, so a good earner for the WS.

Germany I have commented on before, 39 wines which is above I would think its current sales position on offers? but has a strange collection in choice and a pretty stagnant producer base.

No doubt everyone can come up with different takes on what the WS offers, in real terms it has a very good across the board range in most price brackets, its south of France range is probably its best feature and no way can any organisation be all things to all men.
But the two stand out countries are a puzzle to me as to why they have become almost neglected, perhaps the WS simply doesn’t sell enough from there to warrant expansion, that may be so but sales rely on an attractive range and those two are not very attractive at the moment.
The recent rise rightly in the offerings from SA show good choice as an example, why not Australia and Argentina?


Portugal ex-Port also seems to have dropped off a cliff (apparently an award winner in the past).

Something odd there - perhaps TWS just needs to explain better how Brexit & COVID have impacted supply chains.


I noticed that too. Excluding port the range has been very poor for months now to the point I haven’t bought a single bottle as there isn’t anything exciting.


Yes, I think this is potentially a very valid point. As a result of the original post I’ve had a little look and the shipping container situation seems to be in a bit of a mess. They aren’t necessarily where they are needed and the profitability of some routes is exacerbating the issue. I’d be interested to hear if this is a concern for TWS or whether there is anything they can do to mitigate.

Agree with @cerberus, Australia selection needs improving. I buy very little from Argentina, but 12 bottles does seem very low!

Agree with all the above, I’ve found the ranges less inspiring. I like to buy new things but seem to end up buying ones I’ve had before.

I hoped it was covid / brexit related, and things would improve but would be good to know.

Yep, noticed that too. I wonder what effect the old Covid/Brexit combo has had on all of this.

Also, the number of wines in the inventory won’t reflect the relative volume of the sales - e.g. at one end there will be red burgundy, with low production and in relative terms less stock, compared to the bigger selling new world wines.

I’m sure most lines are stocked according to demand, but if I were King of the World, I’d shuffle all the needless New world stuff off the list (save for a handful of SA wines), dramatically decrease the Rhone offering and scale back on the ‘luncheon claret’.

With the created space on the list I would expand the (what I consider to be) the woefully inadequate Southern French selection, expand Piedmont to something commensurate with prevailing market -trends, and give Greece it’s own heading rather than just list it under ‘other Europe’.

But of course, other people than me are being considered when compiling the list, and inevitably it becomes a compromise to please as many people as much as possible, without pleasing anyone group all of the time. :smiley:


That’s fightin’ talk! The Rhone Rangers are swooping down to take you to task


Its been this way for centuries - as soon as you step off the boat in England you have to assume the French invented eating and drinking.


I accidentally clicked on that thread a few weeks ago, just as it was about to tick over 3000 unread posts.

(I didn’t read them :smiley:)


if they can only get up from under the table


I do sometimes wonder at the 131 iterations of red Bordeaux on offer (or thereabouts) - but presumably somebody buys them, and TWS have been in business for 100+ years so they must be doing something right. Maybe the great British wine buying public are simply very conservative (small ‘c’) in their tastes.

Would be nice to see more variety / diversity across the board… but that’s just me. The recent offer of wines less known from Italy (thanks to Sarah) was excellent.


Apparently, the French were taught by the Italians !


I agree, particularly in relation to Germany and Argentina and, with the current situation between Australia and China, wonder whether there are not more bargains being offered. The German and Argentine ranges are limited and, in terms of the German wines, the EP offer is now restricted to just two producers only.
I remain surprised at the limited offer from Argentina. They are making some great blends and the opening up of cooler sites further south is resulting in good Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Tempranillo, Tannat and Bonarda wines are good whilst the Cabernet Francs are excellent quality. With BREXIT, I was also hoping that prices would come down.
All that said, I can understand why our buying team have to focus on sales. I remember Tim saying how important Bordeaux sales were at his recent masterclass and looking at the Rhône EP thread, it is clear that region generates lots of interest. I also sit here drinking a Greek white and, of course, the Austrian range has increased. I suppose you cannot stock everything but I have always wondered whether members could be given access to wines direct from producers where TWS did not stock their wines but used their supply chain to permit sales.


I’d probably expand the Spanish selection out of Rioja a little more too (possibly at the expense of a couple of the Rioja’s), but otherwise yes.


I’ve been mulling this over, and whilst the significant reductions I’ve made would free up plenty of space for more Spain, I couldn’t countenance the reduction of Rioja per se, only the reduction of more modern styles, and with the caveat that those spaces be then taken up by TWS stocking the entire ranges in every vintage of Lopez de Heredia, La Rioja Alta and CVNE.

Other than that, I think we’re on the same page :smiley:


There is often helpful advice here but I think TWS does a poor job in informing members of problems/issues, especially considering mutuality etc.

As I recall the effect of Brexit was raised at the last AGM and the answer was ‘we don’t know’. A year on I hope we can be offered more information.


In 2020:

'Pierre Mansour: ‘Our brilliant range of Portuguese wines have been recognised before, winning several awards over the years. This is a first for The Wine Society with Spain and I am absolutely delighted. This award should be dedicated to the craftmanship and talent of the growers and winemakers of the Iberian Peninsula, and our members who keep buying more and more of these wines each year.’


For great comments on French and Italian food you can do no better than read Elizabeth David’s books. She understood the origins of the cooking of both those countries far better than most others.
A lady of high intelligence who could write with elegance and perception. Unlike some vacuous TV personalities of today.
Richard Olney was very good as well.


Spot on…I read and re-read Elizabeth David books all the time. Much of it is timeless. She also favoured simplicity in cooking. She just ‘knew’.

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