Thu 21 Apr 2016

Wine Without Fuss: A Wine Buyer’s Best Friend


Buying wine for The Wine Society is a busy job. There are no wine lists or offers without wines to put in them, so the Buying Team’s year is understandably full of deadlines.

Freddy BulmerSometimes though, an incredible wine will find the buyer when the buyer isn’t even looking for it. This sort of thing happens because each of the wine buyers at The Society are constantly being sent samples from producers.

If you are buying wine for a Rioja offer but the supplier sends you a bottle of their new white wine from another part of Spain too, it’s certainly not going to be purchased for the offer as it might stand out a bit! Nonetheless, the Buying Team will always taste these wines purely out of interest. More often than not, it is deemed that the sample is perhaps not up to scratch or there is nothing that they can do with it at that moment in time.

Every so often though, they will taste a wine that is so good that we simply must buy it!

Our Wine Without Fuss scheme is a fantastic tool for a buyer who has discovered a wine which they feel they simply must buy but don’t have an offering or List in which they can put it. As the buyers each have a number of slots to fill in the Wine Without Fuss cases every other month, it gives them great opportunities to buy wines that they might otherwise have been forced to pass by.

Likewise, every so often the buyer will have tasted something that we hold some stock of and been struck by how well it is drinking at the moment. If this is the case, it is in the best interest of the membership that they are able to try it for themselves!

Tasting room

We hold tastings for each of the six yearly Wine Without Fuss selections, before the cases are finalised and sent out to the members who subscribe. This gives the buyers a chance to taste through all of the wines that they and their colleagues have selected. Only when the buyers are happy with the selection and have made any changes to the wine notes they feel necessary, will the case be given the OK and sent to members.

Buyer Mark Buckenham putting the summer selection through its paces

Buyer Mark Buckenham putting the summer selection through its paces

The most recent tasting was for the selection for summer 2016. Whilst I tasted through the wines with Pierre Mansour, we made the occasional change to a wine note here and there, to ensure that we were happy the notes would be a true reflection of the wines in the bottle.

We both remarked at how good the selection was, even at one point getting confused and saying to one another “…how good these Premium Selection whites are” only to find out we were tasting from the Everyday Selection! A couple of stand-out wines were the Nero di Troia Tufarello Puglia Vigneti Canosini 2015 from the Premium Selection and the incredibly good-value Victory Hotel Australian Chardonnay-Semillon 2015 from the Everyday Selection.

So the nice thing about Wine Without Fuss, it seems, is that it is a scheme which benefits all. The buyers are happy because they can share their latest finds with our membership and our members are happy because they get to discover and enjoy the wines!

Freddy Bulmer
Trainee Buyer

Find out more about Wine Without Fuss here


  1. David Hoy says:

    What an interesting article – we have subscribed to WWF, Premium Whites, for many years and can confirm that without exception the wines are excellent, enjoyable, and interesting. There are frequently wines that are new to us that we would not have considered ordering.

    Thank you for the care that goes into making the selections.

    • Freddy Bulmer says:

      Thank you very much for saying so, Mr Hoy. I’m delighted to hear that you found the article interesting, and even more so that you’re enjoying membership of Wine Without Fuss.
      Best wishes
      Freddy Bulmer

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