Passion Before Profit
What do we mean by 'passion before profit?'
Being a co-operative means that we're able to put our 145,000 active UK members at the heart of everything we do. The decisions we make are guided not by a need to churn profits to pay external shareholders (we don't have any!) but by a set of Core Principles that we've lived by for over 145 years.
How we work
We don't maximise profits
No external shareholders = freedom to do the right thing
Our buyers are free to buy wines they believe in
We don't chase profit-making names or quick-buck trends
We don't do fake discounting
We believe in everyday honest pricing instead
Our growers trust us
Because we pay them fairly, and always pay on time
Our Member Services Team aren't incentivised with bonuses or commission
So they'll never hard sell or up-sell! It's all about the right wine for you
Our margins are among the lowest in the business
And we put profits back into lower prices and better services for our members
Why we're proud to be a co-operative
Being a co-operative is at the heart of everything we do at The Wine Society, and we're proud of the way it's helped us to run our business over the last 145 years; and when we say our business, we don't mean a CEO or board of directors. As a member-owned mutual, this business belongs to you. That's why it's so important that we keep our shared passion for good wine at the heart of the way we do things.
You may have noticed that we work a little differently to other wine merchants. We won't try and 'upsell' you a bottle of wine, we don't prioritise high-spending members and we don't buy wines that we can't – hand on heart – say that we believe in. That's because at our core is a set of non-negotiable, time-honoured principles that keep us distinctive, true to ourselves (and most importantly keeps you, our members – and delicious wine, obviously! – as our motivation to keep doing what we do.
What is a co-operative?
Co-operatives are truly special businesses: run by and for their members, a co-op doesn't answer to external shareholders, so doesn't need to focus all its efforts on churning profit. Instead co-ops are driven by shared principles – in our case, to champion the joy of good wine for our wine-loving members across the UK.
- A co-operative is owned by its members, for its members, not by external shareholders
- Members get a meaningful say in how the co-operative is run, with decisions made by an elected Committee
- Because maximising profit isn't a priority, profits can go back into making services better and prices fairer, both for the members and the people making our wine
Why it works for us
It's not just fairer prices and more personal service that make being part of a co-operative so special. We love that our members feel a real sense of pride and ownership of The Wine Society. After all, we each have a stake in how our business is run and when you exercise your rights as a member we're able to go ever-further in our mission to source the best of the world's vineyards at excellent prices.