Wine advice, party planning and quality

Yes, we’re proud to stock a wide range of wines that are suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Along with many in the wine trade, we use the definitions provided by The Vegetarian Society and The Vegan Society, and our producers have confirmed the following wines are suitable:

Vegetarian wines
Vegan wines

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Members often ask us for wine valuation advice and assistance with auctioning surplus wine stored in Members' Reserves or at home.

Although we do 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 resale), there are a number of auction houses and brokers that are able to provide such a service. A selection of these companies is listed below but please note that while we are happy to help members by supplying the details of these businesses, this should be regarded as information only rather than a recommendation or endorsement from The Society.

With regard to wines stored in Members' Reserves, it might also be useful to point out that only duty-paid wines may be withdrawn for sale via an auction. For more information, please refer to the full terms and conditions applicable to Members' Reserves.

 

Bacchus Wine Auctions Limited
+44 (0)203 8652637
www.bacchuswineauctions.com

Bid for Wine
+44(0)203 870 8900
www.bidforwine.co.uk/wine-society

Bonhams
+44 (0)207 447 7447
www.bonhams.com

Chiswick Auctions
+44 (0)208 992 4442
www.chiswickauctions.co.uk

Christies
+44 (0)207 930 6074
www.christies.com

Seckford Wines
01394 446622
www.seckfordwines.co.uk

Sotheby's
+44 (0)207 293 5000
www.sothebys.com

Sworders Fine Wine Auctioneers
Tel: 01279 817778
www.sworder.co.uk

Tennants Auctioneers
Tel: 01969 623780
www.tennants.co.uk

Your wines will be delivered to the auctioneers free-of-charge, but please note that they will likely take a commission of around 20% of the sale price. 

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Our buyers provide recommended drink dates for all of our wines to help members decide the right time to enjoy them.

• If the product page says ‘Drinking now’, then our advice would be to drink that wine within a year.
• For wines that say ‘Drink now to 2030’, then the wine is ready to drink but will keep until 2030.
• For wines with a drinking window that begins in the future, then we recommend leaving the wine until the start of that drinking window. It's a matter of personal taste when such wines should be drunk. Many members prefer to try the wines over many years from the opening of the drinking window until the end to experience how the wine evolves.

For advice on the best time to drink a specific wine, please feel free to contact Member Services: our friendly, knowledgeable advisers will be happy to help.

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Whether you believe a wine to be faulty, not as you had expected, or simply not to your taste, please contact us to put things right.

You can report a problem online, chat live with one of our advisers or call 01438 741177.

Read The Society's Promise

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Finding the perfect wines for a wedding or party can and should be an enjoyable experience. The Wine Society is able to offer personal and experienced advice, whatever the occasion or budget.

This guide covers the services offered by The Society, as well as advice on how to find the right amounts of the right wines for your special event.

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Yes. You can browse our wines for laying down range or look out for our regular and varied programme of en primeur offerings.

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Our team of wine advisers is here to help should you need any advice, but key places to look for these wines are:

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The Society does not offer the service of buying back wines from members or a valuation service. Although it is against The Society's rules for members to purchase wine with the specific intention of re-sale, if a member has a change of circumstances, or surplus stocks, there are a number of auction houses and brokers that are able to provide such a service.

Read more on this here

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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 advisors are on hand for guidance.

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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.

Wine with some bottle age should also be decanted or there is a good chance that it will be closed and not reveal too much of its attributes and/or potential at first. 

Remember not to leave very old and more fragile wines in a decanter for too long, however.

There is an argument that most wines beenfit from decanting - especially reds. 

For more detailed advice, please refer to the serving wine section of the website.

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Every wine stored in Members' Reserves is accompanied by drinking dates provided by our buyers. Log in to your Reserves to view these dates.

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Sadly often it isn't, particularly if you're planning on ageing the wine for long periods of time. These places can be 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.

Unfortunately, we cannot give any advice about wine fridges. Above all, we recommend that members take advantage of our temperature-controlled Member's Reserves facility to make sure your wine is stored in perfect conditions.

For more information, contact us via our online enquiry form.

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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.

Alternatively, please contact one of our fine wine advisors who would be happy to help.

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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 e-mail, or by telephone on 01438 741177).

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Our organic wine list can be found in the Buy Wine menu. A biodynamic wine list is coming soon.

View Organic Wines

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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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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.

Click here to read more. 

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Contact us and we'll put things right! All of our wines are covered by The Society's Promise: if you believe a wine to be faulty, please get in touch (either via our report a problem feature in 'My Wines', 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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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 using the 'alcohol level %' filter on one of our wine categories. 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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Yes. We have a wide range of wines to choose from and a full national delivery service to help members who want to send birthday, wedding, anniversary, Christmas or any other gifts to any address in the UK.

All pre-packed wine gifts include detailed case notes about the goodies inside, as well as a card containing your personal message. Food & wine gifts and cases containing fewer than six bottles are packed in attractive gift boxes. And don't worry: no invoice or any indication of the price will be sent with the gift!

All prices include UK delivery. Gifts may also be sent overseas where local conditions allow us to.

Members can also send any of the wines, spirits, wine accessories and glasses or other items listed online as gifts. Get in touch with our friendly Member Services team and they'll be delighted to help or advise: either fill out an online enquiry form or give them a call (01438 741177).

Last but certainly not least, a gift membership also makes an ideal present for wine-loving friends and family - and you don't need to be a member to propose someone.

Wine gifts

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Unfortunately, we are not registered to give advice regarding the value of your wines in Reserves. 

You may be able to acquire a valuation through an auction house or broker. Please click here for more information. 

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For parties, weddings and the like, it's often good to order too much rather than too little, and so we can arrange for your order to be made on a sale or return basis. There is a return charge of £5.00 per case or part case for collecting any wine that is not used. Wines must be returned in a saleable condition within 2 months from when the order was delivered.

To make use of this service, please get in touch with our Member Services team on 01438 741177 or contact us via our online enquiry form.

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