Whether we're sourcing our members' new favourite wines from an artisan producer in Bordeaux, blending Society exclusives with maverick growers in the new world, or following our instincts to scout out the best new producers from off the beaten track, we've spent over a century forging relationships with growers who share our passion for quality at every price.
Where it all began
'Foreign wines hitherto unknown…'
Back in the summer of 1874, deep in the cellars of the Royal Albert Hall, a special parcel of Portuguese wine lay, undiscovered…
The problem was, it shouldn't have been undiscovered at all. While the wines lay languishing below decks, the Great Exhibition of 1874 was taking place in the grand halls above, with traders from around the globe showcasing their wares. The Portuguese growers who'd gone to a huge effort to ship their wines for the show were very upset, and swift action had to be taken to avoid a diplomatic incident: enter our founders Royal Albert Hall architect, Major-General Henry Scott and R. Brudenell Carter, a renowned ophthalmic surgeon.
Apparently when architects and eye surgeons collide, great things happen, and Scott and Brudenell set up a series of special lunches where the Portuguese wines were tasted. They were such a great success that they decided to go a step further: setting up a special organisation for wine lovers to try the best international wines at the fairest prices. Our objective? 'To introduce foreign wines hitherto unknown'.
Over 145 years later, we uphold the same pioneering spirit and founding belief that good wine from around the world shouldn't cost the earth.
Our History: Over 145 years of good wine
Our iconic List has been helping members navigate our eclectic wine range for well over a century. We've always championed talented artists and illustrators, as you can see from this collection of List covers from our archive. They don't just show the evolution of graphic design, which took off particularly in the 1960s, but also gives a glimpse of key moments in our history and the rich tradition of commissioning original artwork for our covers.