Passion Before Profit

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.

  1. A co-operative is owned by its members, for its members, not by external shareholders

  2. Members get a meaningful say in how the co-operative is run, with decisions made by an elected Committee

  3. 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.

Our strongly held principles

Whenever big (or even small) decisions are taken at The Society, we always refer to our core principles. These are a list of non-negotiable rules that make The Society special. They exist to keep us distinctive and true to ourselves, and are at the heart of the way we're run. They include:

  • We don't maximise profits: we don't have to please external shareholders and can put profits back into fairer prices and better service for you.
  • We sell only to members: we don't make profits or compromise our principles by selling to restaurants, wine bars or otherwise 'on-trade'.
  • A member can own a maximum of one share: this means that every member is equal, and no member has an unfair advantage when it comes to buying wine or the service they receive.
  • Our buyers choose wine based on quality and value alone: our buying team are truly independent, only interested in buying bottles they think you'll enjoy.
  • We don't share our members' data to third parties for marketing purposes: so you'll never receive dodgy-looking emails from unknown providers!


Everyday Fair Pricing

In most companies the 'right' price is the highest one you can get away with!'

Louisa Peskett, Head of Merchandising

'I've been a Merchandiser for 25 years so I've seen first-hand that in most companies the 'right' price is the highest one you can get away with! But here we aim for the fairest – nearly always the lowest - price possible. We aim to make enough money to provide the wines and services that our members expect and no more.

I love that one of the guiding aims of the business isn't to grow or make bigger profits but to reduce our margins. In 2012, for example, we performed better than expected and made more money than we forecast. This windfall wasn't squandered on dividends and bonuses, but instead we simply reduced our prices to return the money to members. It was the right thing to do.'



Everyday Fair Pricing vs 'Fake' discounting

A discount always has to come from somewhere, usually by inflating the cost of something else! We want to treat members with respect by avoiding dubious price-slashing or inflated discounting. We aim to offer fair, transparent, competitive and sustainable prices for all our wines, taking an 'everyday low price' approach.

Occasionally we'll be able to offer discounts or special offers on our wines thanks to the generosity of our suppliers, to encourage you to explore an exciting new style or region. We always aim to let you know where the discount has come from in these cases.


The Society's Promise

We've been sourcing delicious wines for well over a century, so we like to think you'll enjoy every bottle you buy with us. But we know that might not always be the case, so if you don't like a wine you've bought from us for any reason, just let us know and we'll arrange a credit, replacement or refund (see here for more).


Related articles



Society Promise
Members before profit
Awards

Our website uses cookies with the aim of providing you with a better service. By using this website you consent to The Wine Society using cookies in accordance with our policy.

Close

4.4. Cookie Policy

By using The Wine Society website, you agree to cookies being used in accordance with the policy outlined below. If you do not agree to this, you must alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you or cease using the website.

The Wine Society uses cookies to enable easy navigation and shopping on the website. We take the privacy of all who use our website very seriously and ensure that our use of cookies complies with current EU legislation. The following guide outlines what cookies are, the types of cookies used on The Society's website and how they work.

You may alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you, but this will cause difficulties when accessing and using some areas of the site. Instructions on how to do this can also be found below.

4.4.1. What are 'Cookies'?

  • Most major websites use cookies.
  • A cookie is a very small data file placed on your hard drive by a web page server. It is essentially your access card, and cannot be executed as code or deliver viruses. It is uniquely yours and can only be read by the server that gave it to you.
  • Cookies cannot be used by themselves to identify you.
  • The purpose of a basic cookie is to tell the server that you returned to that web page or have items in your basket. Without cookies, websites and their servers have no memory. A cookie, like a key, enables swift passage from one place to the next.
  • Without a cookie every time you open a new web page the server where that page is stored will treat you like a completely new visitor.
  • More recently, cookies have also been used to collect information about the user which allows a profile of their preferences and interests to be created so that they can be served with interest-based rather than generic information about available goods and services.

4.4.2. How do Cookies help The Wine Society?

Cookies allow our website to function effectively. Cookies also help us to arrange content to match your preferred interests more quickly. We can learn what information is important to our visitors, and what isn't.

4.4.3. How does The Wine Society use cookies?

The Wine Society does not accept advertising from third parties and therefore, as a rule, does not serve third-party cookies. Exceptions to this include performance/analytical cookies (see below), used anonymously to improve the way our website works, the provision of personalised recommendations, and occasions when we may team up with suppliers to offer special discounts on goods or services.

The Society uses technology to track the patterns of behaviour of visitors to our site.

4.4.4. What type of cookies does The Wine Society use?

We use the following three types of cookies:

4.4.4.1. Strictly Necessary Cookies
These cookies are required for the operation of our website, enabling you to move around the website and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the website. Without these cookies, services like shopping baskets or e-billing cannot be provided. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Authentication Cookie and Anonymous Cookie
    These cookies remember that you are logged in to your account – without them, the website would repeatedly request your login details with each new page you visit during your time on our website. They are removed once your session has ended.
  • Session Cookie
    These cookies are used to remember who you are as you use our site: without them, the website would be unable to tell the difference between you and another Wine Society member and facilities such as your basket and the checkout process would therefore not be able to function. They too are removed once your session has ended.

4.4.4.2. Functionality & Targeting/Tracking Cookies
These cookies are used to recognise you when you return to our website and to provide enhanced features. This allows us to personalise our content for you. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Unique User Cookie
    This cookie is used to:
    • store your share number in order to identify that you have visited the website before. Without this cookie, we would be unable to tell whether you are a member or not.
    • record your visit to the website, the pages you have visited and the links you have followed. We use this information to make our website, the content displayed on it and direct marketing communications we may send to you or contact you about more relevant to your interests.
    • This cookie expires after 13 months.
  • Peerius Cookies
    These third-party cookies are used to provide you with personalised recommendations based on your purchase and browsing history. They expire within 4 hours of your visit.

4.4.4.3. Performance/analytical cookies
These cookies collect information about how visitors use a website, for instance which pages visitors go to most often, and if they get error messages from web pages. These cookies don't collect information which identifies a visitor. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. It is only used to improve how a website works. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Google Analytics Cookies
    These are third-party cookies to enable Google Analytics to monitor website traffic. All information is recorded anonymously. Using Google Analytics allows The Society to better understand how members use our site and monitor website traffic.

4.4.4.4. Authentication Cookie
In order for us to ensure that your data remains secure it is necessary for us to verify that your session is authentic (i.e. it has not been compromised by a malicious user). We do this by storing an otherwise meaningless unique ID in a cookie for the duration of your visit. No personal information can be gained from this cookie.

4.4.5. How do you turn cookies off?

All modern browsers allow you to modify your cookie settings so that all cookies, or those types which are not acceptable to you, are blocked. However, please note that this may affect the successful functioning of the site, particularly if you block all cookies, including essential cookies. For example, In Internet Explorer, go to the Tools Menu, then go to Internet Options, then go to Privacy. Here you can change the rules your browser uses to accept cookies. You can find out more in the public sources mentioned below.

4.4.6. Learn more about cookies

4.4.7. Changes to our cookie policy

Any changes we may make to our cookie policy in the future will be posted on the website and, where appropriate, notified to you by email. Please check back frequently to see any updates and changes to our cookie policy.

 

Have a question?Live Chat

Live Chat