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Fine Wine FAQs


I have a particularly good bottle and wondered what food I should serve with it.

The Society's food and wine matching section contains expert advice on a range of courses and cuisines to complement most styles of wine. In addition, the interactive Food and Wine Matcher enables you to find out which wines work best with a variety of different foods.

Is my cellar the right temperature?

The recommended temperature for storage is around 10°C-13°C (50°F-55°F). For detailed advice, please refer to the storing wine section of The Society's website.

If I keep my wine in my garage or under the stairs, will it go off?

Not necessarily, but many such places are susceptible to fluctuating temperatures (garages in particular), excessive vibration and humidity – all of which have a detrimental effect on the way in which a wine ages. Bottles should be stored horizontally (wines under screwcap and, unless destined for very long-term ageing, Champagne, may be stored upright), out of the light and at a temperature of around 10°C-13°C. For detailed advice, please refer to the storing wine section of The Society's website.

We recommend that members laying down wine take advantage of our temperature-controlled Members' Reserves facility. The Society also offers a number of storage solutions to offer members for laying down wine at home, from self-assembly wine racks to tailor-made traditional wine racks and Spiral Cellars. For more information, contact us via our online enquiry form

I have wine stored in Members' Reserves, but I am not sure when to drink it.

Every wine stored in Members' Reserves is accompanied by drinking dates provided by The Society's buyers. Log into your 'Personal Reserves' to view these dates. Each wine is also accompanied by a status showing whether the wine is, in our opinion, ready to drink or will repay further keeping.

Can I make up my own mixed case of fine wine to store in Members' Reserves?

Yes. Members can now mix their own cases and place them in Members' Reserves. You can view full terms and conditions here.

Can I withdraw my wines stored in Members' Reserves out bit by bit?

Any 12 bottles can be selected, stored and drawn out when desired. Members can also remove a few bottles of a full case stored in Reserves. Wines removed in this way need to be made up into 12-bottle cases using no more than four different wines from the member's unmixed cases stored in Reserves. To arrange your part-case withdrawal, please contact us via our online enquiry form.

Do I have to order a dozen fine wines?

No. Members can order as many bottles as they wish, though it is worth remembering that orders with a value of over £75 will be delivered free.

When do I decant a wine and how?

If a wine is likely to have a deposit, stand the bottle upright for at least an hour, preferably overnight, before pouring the wine carefully until you see the sediment appear at the bottle's shoulder. Remember not to leave very old and more fragile wines in a decanter for too long however. For more detailed advice, please refer to the serving wine section of the website.

I have a line-up of fine wines for a tasting. In what order should they be served?

Generally, we recommend that the older and the more full-bodied the wine is, the later it should appear in the line-up. For example, a crisp, young white Bordeaux with a high percentage of sauvignon blanc will rarely show as well following an aged white Burgundy, and would probably be best served first. If you're in any doubt, our fine wine advisers are on hand for guidance.

I need tasting notes on wines that I have purchased. Can I get these online?

Yes. You can use My Wines to view wine notes, recommended drink dates and other useful information about wines you have purchased from The Society since 2009. You can also use the new PDF Tasting Notes Generator to create a series of tasting notes for whichever wines you wish: just enter the relevant product codes, select which information you'd like and click download.

I'm not sure which wines to buy from your en primeur offer. Is there anyone I can talk to?

The Society's fine wine advisers are happy to help with any queries you may have regarding en primeur offers, and if necessary relaying your questions to the buyers or to the Fine Wine Manager.

Can I sell my wine?

Although The Society does not offer wine auction or valuation services directly (and it is against The Society's rules for members to purchase wine with the specific intention of re-sale), there are a number of auction houses and brokers that are able to provide such a service. Click here for more information.

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