Play Video
Why ordering early for delivery early is the best way to secure the wines you love this Christmas. Video transcript

Video transcript

We have plenty of delicious wines in stock for you to enjoy, but it pays to secure the wines you want early for Christmas this year.

We’ve been working incredibly hard to keep the wine flowing in the face of shipping delays.

So we recommend you shop ahead so we can get the wines you love from winemakers across the globe delivered to your door.

If you see something you want to enjoy this season, our advice is not to wait.

We hope you enjoy your wines this year. On behalf of all of us at The Wine Society, here’s to a wonderful Christmas.

As we approach the festive season, always an especially busy time for us, I thought it appropriate to provide an update on how your Society is getting on. While last year was ‘a Christmas like no other’, I suspect that we will be saying something similar about this one! 

Logistical challenges

The media has been full of stories about problems in the supply chain and we are not immune. Shortages of containers and drivers are causing delays from Europe and then from port to Stevenage. Unfortunately, there are significant delays from the southern hemisphere and the United States due to a global shortage of containers, last-minute cancellations or rerouting of vessels, covid-related closures and even clogged ports on the West Coast of the US as a result of strike action.

Realising this was going to be an issue, some time ago we started building stock in anticipation of ensuing problems. We are glad that we did. Currently we have significantly more wine in stock than at the same time last year and are confident in our supplies. That said, it is likely that some wines will sell out without the opportunity for replenishment, and I would advise anybody that has a particular favourite or a gift you want others to enjoy at Christmas to order early AND take delivery early.

We have geared up our operations for a busy Christmas and we will be working 24/7 to satisfy demand. We have also started work on building Warehouse 5 and to minimise disruption to our service we have moved a number of operations off-site. However, we do not know how the national shortage of drivers will affect us and, although we have planned our slots very early for our own vans and DHL, this may still be a very unpredictable part of all delivery services across the UK. Again, my advice would be to order AND take delivery early to avoid disappointment.

Our new website

We launched our new website at the end of August, and, as with all projects of this scale, we knew that rather than achieving perfection on day one, it would be an ongoing process towards this. There are many reasons for this, not least because The Society does so much more than just sell wine. For example, our Wine Without Fuss service and Members’ Reserves storage facility involve connecting to systems dating back to the 1990s and the transferring of tens of millions of data points.

The good news, however, is that the new site is already operating significantly better than the old one in some key ways – for example, the experience on mobile devices is far better for the increasing number of members who prefer to shop that way. We have also introduced several innovations, such as the facility to filter wines stored in Reserves by a number of different criteria, a more flexible withdrawal process for stored wines and the ability to shop and pay for en primeur wines, tasting tickets and regular wines in one transaction. You may have also noticed the new video tasting notes from our buyers and there’s much more to come. I know that some members are missing certain functions from the old site and we will endeavour to restore some of these as fast as we can following your feedback.

The site will continue to improve and evolve as we make regular changes to improve members’ overall experience by adding new features, improving navigation and making it even easier to use. It has been a big change from the old site and inevitably these things may take some time to get used to.

Providing great value for our members

There is a lot of bad news around on the economy with the return of inflation, rising supply-chain costs and prices increasing as a result. We are happy to say that we have been able to buck the trend and you’ll have seen in the latest List that we have reduced the price of more than 200 wines. This comes after us being able to remove next-day and Saturday delivery charges earlier in the year. As a Society operated on behalf of our members, we remain committed to providing the best-quality wine at the best possible price. We would never put prices up in order to discount later and I am delighted that we are in a position to consistently offer everyday fair pricing. Even where costs rise, the extraordinary support from members during the pandemic means we can continue to offer terrific value for money.

Our communications

Our approach to marketing is evolving as we continue to adapt to the needs of a diverse membership. The biggest change has been to reduce the number of Lists each year from four to two. This has enabled us to launch our quarterly 1874 magazine, offering a mix of wines and editorial features. The response from the vast majority of members has been extremely positive. Not all will be pleased to see the reduction in Lists, but members may be more encouraged that this approach, supplemented by more in-depth printed brochures, as well as digital offers and emails, allows us to showcase a wider range of wines across the year. 

The Society is a busy place at the moment with a new warehouse underway and due for completion next year, the continued work on our new website and the rebuilding of our IT systems. These measures will enable us to serve our members better and we will continue to add and improve services and make shopping from us even easier and even better value for money.

These changes are complex, and we won’t always get them right, but we do listen carefully to our members and adjust our course of action when we need to. We share your passion for great wine and always strive to provide you with great service. 

Thank you for your continued support.

Steve Finlan
Chief Executive Officer

More about The Society

About The Society

About The Wine Society

Integrity, authenticity and an insatiable curiosity to find the world's most thrilling wines…

Learn more
Albert Hall

Our heritage and history

Starting as a way to avoid a diplomatic incident in 1874, The Wine Society is now the world’s oldest wine-selling co-operative.

Learn more
Freddy Bulmer and Joanna Locke MW

Meet our buyers and growers

Meet our expert buying team and some of the talented winemakers they’ve uncovered from across the globe.

Learn more
Back to top