First Release: a new way to buy wines in bond

First Release is a great way to buy in-demand wines at their opening price. Here's a short explanation on how it works.

First Release explained

First Release: an exciting new way of buying in-bond wines. First Release wines are bottled and ready to be shipped, and will include some of the finest wines from around the world, with some starting below £10 a bottle. As the wines are sold in bond, duty and VAT is only payable once the wines are withdrawn from Stevenage or transferred to Duty Paid Member Reserves.

Why buy wine First Release? 

  • Reserve sought-after wines, ready to be shipped
    Wines offered ‘First Release’ are bottled and ready to be shipped to the UK, and arrive earlier than en primeur wines (which are still maturing in the producers’ cellars).
  • Opening, in-bond prices
    By reserving these wines just before they arrive in the UK, you’ll be securing them at their First Release price.
  • Something special for the future
    Most of these wines will benefit from ageing: the decision when to pull the cork is yours!
  • A wide range of options
    We’ll be offering a wide variety of fantastic wines in this way throughout the year.

 How First Release works 

  • Take advantage and order (remember, our Wine Specialists Team is on hand if you need any advice or have any questions).
  • First Release offers are open for around a week. Once closed, orders will then be entered into an allocation system and confirmations of successful orders will be sent out soon after.
  • We'll confirm your order and take payment.
  • Within three months (in most cases), your wine will arrive in the UK and we’ll let you know it’s here.
  • You can then choose to take delivery, or to store the wines with us in the perfect conditions of our Members’ Reserves facility, which offers the best-value wine storage in the country.
  • Drink and enjoy your wine based on our annually updated drink dates.

First Release FAQs

By ordering from a First Release offer, you’ll be securing sought-after wines, some of them exclusive, at their original in-bond release prices. And because these wines are ready to be shipped, they’ll arrive in the UK more quickly than wines that are offered en primeur. Duty and VAT will only be payable once the wines are withdrawn from Stevenage.

First Release wines are finished, bottled and ready to be shipped to the UK. En primeur wines are still maturing in the producers’ cellars and therefore will be shipped later. 

First Release wines are offered in bond. That means payment of Duty and VAT will only be requested once the wines are removed for delivery or collection from Stevenage.

Duty and VAT will be at the prevailing rate (currently £27.93 Duty per 12 75cl-bottle case, £13.97 per six-bottle case and 20% VAT payable on wine and Duty)

It depends on the First Release wine and the en primeur wine, but in general, First Release wines will be shipped within three months of being offered. Most en primeur wines arrive between six months and two years after being offered (following the completion of the winemaking process).
If a particular wine is delayed unexpectedly beyond the time stated, we will of course get in touch as soon as we can with a revised anticipated arrival date.

Once the offer has closed, we will then allocate the wines; invoicing will follow shortly afterwards and payment taken. We will only charge the value of the wines allocated. 

Should a First Release wine be oversubscribed, we will allocate the wine as fairly as possible among the membership. If we are unable to offer everyone who ordered some wine, then members who have given greater support to The Society will have a better chance (but no certainty) of being allocated wine, and those who have given less support will have a lesser chance (but still a chance).

If you change your mind about a First Release wine and wish to cancel it, please contact us within seven days of receipt of the Invoice/In-Bond Order Confirmation issued by The Society following order processing. We will then reimburse the appropriate sum paid within 14 days of cancellation. Due to the unique nature of First Release offers, we are unable to accept cancellations after this time.  

Yes: you can track your First Release orders here.

In-bond wines

Discover more about in-bond and browse our latest En Primeur and First Release offers.

Find out more
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