Fri 30 Sep 2016

Buried Society Treasure


Earlier this year I was contacted by an old friend in the trade who buys for one of the top wine shops in London.

He had been trawling through a cellar in the bowels of a castle in Scotland and had come across a few old bottles of Wine Society labelled red Burgundy. He wondered whether we would be interested to acquire the bottles.

Seeing that they were 1961s I tried not to appear too excited and managed, after a bit of horse-trading, to purchase the wines. So we now have 2 bottles each of 1961 Pommard Premier Cru and 1961 Chambolle-Musigny.


The wines are now lying securely in our cellars in Stevenage, and will probably be used in future tastings. As you can see from the photograph, the levels of the wine are quite good, so there is a reasonable chance that they will still be drinkable.

Within five minutes of me showing the bottles to my colleague Tom Wain, who has been working for The Society for over 40 years, he presented me with the original ledger which indicates that in June 1964 we shipped 12 hogsheads of the 1961 Chambolle-Musigny and six hogsheads of the 1961 Pommard Premier Cru.


A hogshead would have contained the equivalent of around 400 bottles. Tom reckons that the wine would have been bottled by The Society in Hills Place, behind the London Palladium. The wines were made for us by the négociant Remoissenet, who had very good contacts with domaines across the Côte d’Or. He used to buy up and blend wines from top estates before Domaine bottling was commonplace

This discovery of old bottles made me wonder what else is out there in members’ cellars with Wine Society labels…

Tim Sykes
Head of Buying

Categories : Burgundy, France


  1. Richard Morris says:

    Any Algerian or Rhone in these, do you think?

    • Martin Brown says:

      Thanks for the query. Having spoken to colleagues with longer memories and service than Tim or I, the answer is that these would not have been ‘bolstered’ by such additions!
      Martin Brown
      The Wine Society

  2. Pelham Hawker says:

    I used to haunt the cellar shop at Stevenage in the early ’90s before it was redeveloped – the bin end pile regularly contained the odd Society bottled wine. I remember about 10 bottles of no-label wine that was candidly reckoned to be 72 Beaune. There were other treasures too – I remember buying two bottles of 53 Cantmerle

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