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FAQs

Online ordering and delivery FAQs

For questions and answers relating more specifically to fine wine, please visit the FAQs in the Fine Wine section of the website.


How do I propose a friend?

See the Proposing a new member page on this website where you can submit an online application. Alternatively, there is an application form at the back of each wine List, or contact us and we will be happy to send one to you.

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How long does it take to become a member?

New members will receive a share certificate and membership pack approximately four working days after receipt of the application.

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Can a business become a member of The Wine Society?

Businesses are able to join The Society and membership works in the same way as it does for personal accounts. To set up a business membership, please contact Member Services via our online enquiry form, or by telephone on 01438 741177. Please note that while the share itself can be set up in a company name, we will ask for details of one individual to contact in the event of any enquiries.

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Why am I not receiving certain e-mails from The Society?

We occasionally receive reports from members that they have not received an e-mail from us, such as an order confirmation or payment request for an outstanding balance. Your e-mail provider will probably use a spam filter to automatically filter out emails that they deem to be undesirable and occasionally this may include emails from The Wine Society. If you are not receiving e-mails you were expecting, we recommend that you save the following e-mail addresses to your safe senders list (click here for details on how to do this):

  • memberservices@thewinesociety.com
  • deliverynotifications@thewinesociety.com
  • MyAccount@thewinesociety.com
  • thewinesociety@email.thewinesociety.com

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I've lost my share certificate. Can I request a new one?

You do not need your certificate to place orders, but we would be happy to issue a replacement should you like one. To do this, please contact Member Services on 01438 741177 or via our online enquiry form.

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Do I need to have a share with The Wine Society to place an order?

The Wine Society is a non-profit-maximizing co-operative company, existing solely for the benefit of its members. A membership is required to place orders and take advantage of our services. Click here for more information on becoming a member.

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Do I have to order a minimum of 12 bottles?

There is no minimum quantity applied to orders, but there is a delivery charge of £5.00 for orders of less than 12 bottles or halves, or where the order is under £75.00 in value. The exception to this is Wine Society pre-mixed cases (including Christmas cases) where delivery is always included in the price of the case.

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What is the standard delivery time?

We deliver within four working days of receipt of order (unless instructed otherwise). Please allow four days before contacting us.

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How do I add a delivery address for orders?

You are able to add delivery addresses in two ways:

  • Within your personalised 'My Account' page, you will be able to add addresses from the 'Addresses' link in the right-hand menu. This will take you to a page which displays your main address (which you are unable to edit), alternative delivery addresses, and gift addresses that you may have saved. To add a new alternative delivery address or gift address, please click the corresponding 'add new address' or 'add new gift address' button.
  • When you are in the 'Checkout' process of placing an order for delivery, you will be prompted to select your desired delivery address or add a new address if applicable. You will have the option to 'add a new address' for delivery which will then save the details to your account to make any further orders for delivery to that address quicker to place.

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Do you deliver to my postcode?

The Society delivers to most parts of the UK. For exceptions please click here.

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Why doesn't the website accept the alternative address
I'm entering?

In most cases this can be solved easily by leaving all the fields blank and entering the postcode. By doing this and clicking 'Find Address', the database will bring up the results. If this does not solve the issue, then please contact Member Services, either via our online enquiry form, or by telephone on 01438 741177.

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What is your standard delivery time?

We deliver to UK addresses within four working days of receipt of order (unless instructed otherwise).

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How do I track my order?

Provided we have your e-mail address we will send a delivery notification e-mail (excepting gift orders) when the order has been picked, packed and has left the warehouse. View your current orders here (requires login). You can track the progress of most orders on our website. Find out more.

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Do you deliver to my postcode?

The Society delivers to the vast majority of the UK. For exceptions please click here.

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Do you offer deliveries outside the UK?

Yes, The Society offers an export service. Further information is available here.

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Can you provide delivery on a specific date?

Members in most parts of the country can choose to take delivery by Society van on a specific date or elect to use our free name-the-day carrier service that allows members to nominate the weekday they would like to receive their order.

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Can you offer a time slot for delivery?

A time slot of approximately 4 hours will be advised at point of order for deliveries by Wine Society van; a more specific time slot of 2.5 hours will be notified by e-mail once the order is despatched. Unfortunately carriers are unable to offer a specific time for delivery.

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I'd prefer my order to be delivered by a Wine Society driver; how can I ensure that happens?

If your postcode is covered by a Wine Society van area then you will be offered the next available route at the point of order.

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Why doesn't your fleet of Wine Society vans deliver to my postcode?

Society vans are used in areas with a high density of Society members: unfortunately it is not economically viable to use operationally in all areas of the UK.

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Why is the slot/date for a Wine Society van delivery unavailable?

The route may already be full or the driver is on holiday. Should this be the case, we endeavour to make as many alternative dates by a carrier available as possible.

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Which carriers do you use for deliveries within the UK?

The Society has its own fleet of vans however we also use various carriers; Fedex and APC for mainland Britain and Seabridges in N Ireland.

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How do you monitor carrier performance?

There is dedicated team within Member Services who proactively monitor deliveries by carriers. Regular meetings are held with carrier management to feed back on performance.

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How do you monitor performance by the Wine Society fleet of vans?

There is dedicated team within Member Services who proactively monitor deliveries by Wine Society drivers. Adherence to delivery schedules is monitored constantly and contact is made with members if there are any potential issues affecting their delivery.

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Do you offer a next day delivery service?

For wines needed in a hurry, The Society's next day delivery service, which incurs a charge of £6 per order, covers most UK addresses. Orders need to be placed by midday Monday to Friday for delivery on the next working day. Deliveries on a Saturday cost £10 per order.

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Do you offer an evening delivery service?

Members living inside the M25 can also choose to receive deliveries in the evening at a cost of £5 per order (weekday deliveries only). Evening delivery slots range between 6pm and 10pm.

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Do you offer a weekend service?

Members can choose delivery on a Saturday. The additional cost of this is £10 per order. Delivery is made by our carriers, Fedex or APC. Currently this service is only available to members living in the UK mainland and some postcode exceptions apply.

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How do I make contact with a carrier?

Please contact the Member Services team at The Wine Society and they will be happy to deal with any delivery enquiry.

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What happens if I am not in when the driver arrives?

At the point of order please help us by supplying safe delivery instructions if there is a possibility no one will be at the designated address. These details will be passed to the driver who will proceed accordingly. A card to confirm will be left by the driver and an e-mail to confirm delivery will be sent shortly after completion, including details of the time of delivery and where the wines were left if you were not in.

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Why did my order arrive outside the specified time of delivery?

Delivery time slots are offered for Wine Society van routes; these deliveries are monitored closely by the Member Services Delivery Management Team who will inform members of any significant changes in the scheduled delivery time. Delays may however occur for a variety of reasons, traffic delays, etc., which can be unavoidable.

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Why was I given a different time of delivery compared with the time advised at the point of order?

At the point of order an estimated time can be given based on previous deliveries to a particular postcode. The scheduling of a more specific time slot is completed once The Society has details of numbers of orders to be delivered and to which postcodes within the designated route. For the majority of orders the delivery time slot will fall within the original timescale given.

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Something in my order is missing or is damaged. What can be done
about this?

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience. Please click here to supply details and the Member Services team will organise a credit or replacement as promptly as possible.

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Why did the driver not follow the instructions given at the point
of order?

Please accept our apologies for this lapse in service; delivery instructions will have been passed to the driver. Please click here to supply details and the Member Services team will ensure this is taken up with the carrier management team.

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How do I view my past orders on the website?

You are able to view your past orders by navigating to your personalised 'My Account' page, and selecting 'Order History' from the left-hand menu.

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How do I use credit on account when ordering?

Credit on account can only be redeemed using the standard checkout (Express Checkout is designed only for quick orders made using your stored card details).

After confirming your delivery details, you will be taken to the 'Payment Details' page. Here you will be able to see if you have credit on your account. Enter the amount of credit you would like to use in the 'Amount to redeem' box.

If you wish to pay using a combination of credit on account and card, you should also enter your card details. We regret that credit balances can't currently be applied to payments made by direct debit.

If you wish to pay using credit on account only, card details should not be completed. Stored card details can be removed from your order by selecting 'Reset'.

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How do I pay Duty & VAT owed on In-Bond purchases online?

Your Duty & VAT charges will be payable only when you elect to withdraw your wines from our In-Bond Members' Reserves storage facility. You can provide payment for this by navigating to your personalised 'My Account' page.

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When do I pay Duty & VAT owed on In-Bond purchases online?

When your wines arrive at our cellars in Stevenage, they will be placed automatically into our In-Bond Members' Reserves facility. The Duty & VAT will only become payable when you elect to take delivery of the wines or transfer them to Duty-Paid Members' Reserves.

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What is Express Checkout?

Express Checkout allows members with stored payment details (see below) to order wines for home delivery quickly and simply online. Just select the wines you would like delivered and add them to your basket. When you have finished, click the 'Express Checkout' button. All you then have to do is enter the security code on the back of your card when requested and the wines will be sent to your normal home address (including any default delivery instructions) and paid for using your stored card details. You will be able to check all the delivery details before confirming the order. If however you want to order for delivery to an alternative address or a different delivery option, or order a gift, then please use the normal 'Checkout' button.

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Which methods of payment does The Society accept?

The following means of payment are accepted online:

  • Mastercard
  • Mastercard debit
  • Visa
  • Visa Debit
  • Visa Electron

Our Cellar Showroom accepts all of the above as well as Maestro.

We also accept direct debit payments. Find out more about this here. We regret that we do not accept American Express.

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Can I store payment card details securely online?

Yes. You can store card details securely so that you do not have to re-enter your card number and expiry date every time you place an order. (Storing card details in this way also allows you to use the Express Checkout facility.) After putting in your payment details in checkout, you will be asked whether you want to store your card details online. We do not store the card's security code (aka CVV2: the three-digit number on the signature strip on the back of the card). As a result, therefore this will need to be entered for each payment. You can change or delete your stored card at any time via the normal checkout process.

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HOW DO YOU ENSURE MY CARD DETAILS ARE SAFE?

To ensure the security of card details, we use 'tokenisation', a well-established and recognised process that only stores the last four digits of your card number, along with a reference code that allows us to identify which card to process. We do not store the card's security code (aka CVV2: the three-digit number on the signature strip on the back of the card).

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How do I change the card details I have stored with you?

This can be done during the order process by following the 'normal' checkout route rather than the 'express' one. Once you have reached the 'payment options' screen, you will see at the bottom of this page an option to 'delete existing stored card details.' Clicking on this will take you to a screen that will allow you to delete your existing stored card details. You can then complete your order entering your new card details; to store these, simply tick the option to do so on this page.

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Do I need to log in to order from the website?

You will need to log in to the website providing your Wine Society share number or e-mail address and your password in order to add items to your wine basket and complete the order process. Click here to log in.

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The website keeps prompting me to log in and I am unable to proceed
in ordering

If you are prompted to log in to the website repeatedly whenever adding several items to your basket, you may not have cookies enabled for our website. Cookies must be enabled to order from the website. Click here for more information on our cookie policy, and further instructions.

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What do I need in order to log in?

To log in to your account you will need:

  • Either your share number or e-mail address and

  • Your password

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I have my share number and a password but I still cannot log in

Firstly please ensure that you are entering your share number correctly, as printed on your share certificate. This should not contain any letters. If you have logged in to the website previously, you may have been prompted to change your password to something more memorable.

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Why does The Society need to post my first password to me
rather than e-mail it?

If you do not have a password, you can request a password which will be posted to you. For new members, passwords will be included in the welcome packs sent on joining. The necessary time it takes to set up new members' accounts means that we are not able to generate & send passwords instantaneously via e-mail.

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How do I change my password?

If you would like to change your password, you can do so by navigating to your personalised 'My Account' page, and selecting 'Change Password' from the left-hand menu.

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I have forgotten my password

To request a new password, please click here. You will not be issued with a reminder of your current password but instead provided a replacement password (which can be changed to something more memorable after you have logged in).

If you have lost your first password before use, or have yet to log into the website and would like a password, one will be sent by first-class post to the member's registered address.

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Why won't The Society replace my password by e-mail?

In some circumstances, it is necessary to send some replacement passwords by post, rather than e-mail. This will occur if a member has not provided a Memorable Question & Answer and has assets on their account (wine in Members' Reserves, an en primeur offer order in progress and/or an active subscription to Vintage Cellar Plan). These members' passwords would access transactional information, and therefore first-class post, rather than e-mail, is used for security reasons. When you have received this password, you will then be prompted to save a Memorable Question and Answer.

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What is a 'Memorable Question and Answer'?

The first time you log in to the website, you will be prompted to enter a Memorable Question and Answer. This is for additional security, so that The Society's website can verify your identity, should you need to request a new password in future. You will be offered a choice of set questions (eg, 'What is the name of your first pet?') to which you will be required to provide an answer.

If a new password is requested, you will be prompted to provide the answer to the Memorable Question you specified. We highly recommend that you set up a Memorable Question and Answer to improve security of your account, as this will enable a new password to be e-mailed to you immediately, rather than sent by post.

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I cannot remember the answer to my 'Memorable Question'.

If you are unable to proceed past this stage, please phone Member Services on 01438 741177 and we will be happy to assist you further.

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How do I update my personal details online?

You can change your personal details by navigating to your personalised 'My Account' page, and then selecting 'Personal Details' from the right-hand menu.

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How do I update my e-mail address?

You are able to update your e-mail address by navigating to your personalised 'My Account' page. Your registered e-mail address will be displayed at the top of the page. If you would like to update this, please select the 'Change' link beside your e-mail address.

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Can I update my home address details online?

Yes. This can be done by visiting the 'Manage Addresses' section of your personalised 'My Account' page. Please allow one working day for your changes to be processed.

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I've changed my name. Can I request an updated share certificate?

Absolutely. Please contact Member Services on 01438 741177 or via our online enquiry form.

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What are the opening hours of the Stevenage showroom?

The Stevenage Showroom is open 10am to 6pm Monday to Wednesday & Friday, until 7pm on Thursday, and from 9am to 5pm on Saturday. The Showroom is closed on Sundays and bank holidays, except when it is open more frequently in the run-up to Christmas. Click here for more information on our Cellar Showroom.

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Can I visit The Wine Society?

In addition to our showroom at Stevenage, we regularly hold 'Lunch at The Wine Society' events including a Cellar Tour at Stevenage. The details of these can be found in the Tastings and Events diary, but they do have to be pre-booked via telephoning us on 01438 740222.

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Why don't you hold more tastings in my area?

We currently hold around 120 tastings and events throughout the UK each year, which means we cover principal regions as frequently as we can.

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Why can't I order from Montreuil anymore?

After 23 years our showroom in Montreuil in northern France closed its doors for the last time on 10th December 2016. Thank you to members for your support over the years and to Véronique Chaumetou and the team for their service and commitment.

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Can I view or change my Wine Without Fuss subscription
details online?

Members are notified of forthcoming Wine Without Fuss subscription cases a month in advance via e-mail. You can then choose to amend your selection by visiting your personalised My Account page and selecting Wine Without Fuss from the left-hand menu. Details of your next selection/s can then be seen by clicking on 'View Due Deliveries.' You can then amend or cancel your next delivery by clicking 'Amend.'

To make other amendments, such as delivery and payment details, or to make adjustments to the above at any other time, please contact Member Services on 01438 741177 or contact us via our online enquiry form.

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Can I view or change my Vintage Cellar Plan subscription
details online?

Regrettably members are currently not able to view or amend their Vintage Cellar Plan subscription details online. We hope to implement this feature in the near future, and apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused. If you should require further assistance with your Vintage Cellar Plan subscription details please contact Member Services via our online enquiry form, or by telephone on 01438 741177. Alternatively for more information regarding our 'Vintage Cellar Plan' scheme, please click here.

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How do I find my Reserves Inventory on the website?

Your Personal Reserves inventory can be found by navigating to your personalised 'My Account' page, and selecting 'Personal Reserves' from the left-hand menu.

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How do I set up a Direct Debit?

This can be done by visiting the Manage Payment Methods section of your personalised 'My Account' page. Select the 'Manage Direct Debit' tab to set up Direct Debits with The Society, More information can be found here. Please note: at present Direct Debits cannot be used to pay for wines on the spot in The Cellar Showroom in Stevenage or for paying duty and VAT on wines bought en primeur.

If the 'Direct Debit' option does not display, then it may be the case that you have already set up such an arrangement with The Society. If you are unsure, then please contact Member Services either via post or our online enquiry form.

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What is 'In-Bond Reserves' and how is it different from Members' Reserves?

Introduced following members' feedback, In-Bond Reserves is the default storage option for members' en primeur wines when they arrive in the UK. It enables you to store the wines with us but only pay the duty and VAT when you decide to withdraw them. Annual reserves rental is the same price as the existing Duty-Paid Members' Reserves.

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Can I transfer wines from In-Bond to Duty-Paid Reserves?

Yes. However, the entire quantity of the wine would need to be transferred and Duty & VAT on that amount will become payable.

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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.

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Can I make up my own mixed case of 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

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Can I withdraw my wines stored in Members' Reserves out a few bottles at a time?

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. A separate withdrawal request is required for each part-case withdrawal of 12 bottles; therefore, to withdraw two cases, you should submit two separate requests. Alternatively please call Member Services on 01438 740222 to arrange your part-case withdrawal. Find out more about laying down wine.

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I have a corked / faulty bottle – what should I do?

All of our wines are covered by The Society's Promise: if you believe a wine to be faulty, please contact us to put things right (either via our report a problem feature, or by telephone on 01438 741177). You can read more about common wine faults and how to spot them in our Guide to Wine Tasting.

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Do you sell wines lighter in alcohol?

Yes. The Society stocks a large and diverse range of wines and always offers a significant amount of wines and styles with lower levels of alcohol. You can search for wines by alcohol content via the search page. If you have any specific requirements please do not hesitate to contact Member Services via our online enquiry form, or by telephone on 01438 741177.

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Why are wine alcohol levels so high these days?

Over the last few decades, the average alcohol level of many still wines has increased: in Bordeaux the median has increased from around 12.5% to 13.5%+; in California, the increase has been more marked (from 12.5% in the 1970s to 14.7% in the 1990s).

There are many factors that have contributed to these increases: climate change; newer markets with a demand for riper, softer styles; influential wine journalists, in particular in the US, who rate quality by wine power. However, the single most influential factor in rising alcohol levels is a positive one: the vast improvement in vineyard management techniques which has resulted in healthier, riper fruit being harvested.

Alcohol is a bi-product of the fermentation of sugars in the grapes and the best-quality wines are made from grapes that have reached physiological ripeness (colour, flavour and tannin), and this generally happens after sugar ripeness.

There are several techniques that can be used to reduce alcohol levels but currently most are intrusive and strip flavour as well as alcohol and we don't buy wines made in this way. In actual fact, more than half of our still table wines (in December 2013) have an abv of 13% or less. Members looking to choose wines with lower levels of alcohol can now search our range by level of alcohol.

Excellent-quality wine is at the heart of everything we do at The Wine Society and balance is the single most important feature of quality. The interaction of a wine's main components of sugar, acidity, tannin, alcohol and flavour matter more than the actual level of alcohol. A well-made wine of 14.5%, for example, will taste more balanced than an inferior-quality wine with 10% alcohol. Furthermore, alcohol levels are only a guide to a wine's fullness: a 12.5% cabernet sauvignon may feel heavier and more full-bodied in the mouth than, say, a gamay of 13.5%. Members should refer to the wine's tasting note for a description of the style and fullness of the wine.

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Do your wines contain allergens?

Unless otherwise stated, all of our wines contain sulphites. This is an important – many would say vital – preservative that can be used before and after fermentation. Good winemakers will only use just the right amount of sulphur and the aim is that it is not tasted in the wine. European legislation restricts the amount that can be added to a wine.

The fining process, which clarifies wine, is traditionally done using milk or egg proteins. Some winemakers use non-animal derived agents (bentonite, for example); others choose not to fine their wines at all. Albumin (egg white) or casein (milk protein) is often used in the fining process but in general, these substances will not be present in the finished wine: the reactions that take place during fining serve to remove both the fining agent and the substances that are being fined. However, it is not possible to determine in what infinitesimal quantity these substances might remain in any finished bottle of wine, short of conducting a detailed chemical analysis of each bottle. In the interests of allowing members to make the most informed choices possible - particularly those with allergies to dairy - unless otherwise stated, all wines purchased from The Society may contain egg or milk proteins.

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Do you stock wines without sulphites?

While sulphur is an essential preservative and antiseptic, it is Wine Society policy to work with conscientious growers, and all work well within safe EU levels.

Virtually all well-made wines, including organic wines, contain sulphites in strictly controlled quantities. Some types of wine tend to contain less sulphur. Less tends to be found in old wines than in new wines. Members who are worried are advised to avoid wines with residual sugar (lower levels will tend to be found in white wines with sweetness codes 1 and 2) and to contact Member Services should they have any further questions (either via our online enquiry form, or by telephone on 01438 741177).

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Can I make up my own mixed case of 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

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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.

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I have a line-up of 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.

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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.

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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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What should I do if my question is not answered above?

Please contact us via our online enquiry form or telephone 01438 741177 for further assistance.

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