Thu 16 Feb 2017

Generation Wine: Shaking Up Our Tastings!


Having joined The Wine Society’s Tastings and Events Team as a relatively fresh faced 24-year-old just over two years ago, it’s become apparent that, at the majority of tastings that I host across the UK , I am more often than not the youngest person there.

Although certainly not the end of the world, it does raise an important question – and one that’s been bouncing around The Society for the last year or so: where is the next generation of Wine Society members going to come from?

There are a number of projects currently in motion at TWS HQ, from the Digital Team through to the Marketing and Buying Teams. All are trying to make sure we offer something for younger wine-drinkers (and female as well as male!).

Generation Wine is my way of trying to shake up The Society through our 150-event-strong calendar which I help put together with the rest of the Tastings Team.

Generation Wine

The idea is simple – we’ll be conducting a series of exciting tastings throughout the year that will appeal to younger members.

First up, we’ll be launching our new Generation Wine Walkaround Tastings. My intention for these events is to provide a complete night out as opposed to our more formal ‘standard’ walkaround tastings, which often focus purely on the wine and giving you the perfect environment to taste, smell, observe and discuss.

They’ll take place at a variety of lively venues (such as our May 4th event at Kachette Shoreditch – already sold out, unfortunately – where wood panelling and regal paintings are replaced by bare-brick railway arches and strip lights), and held a bit later in the evening to allow for a more relaxed, party-like atmosphere.

Kachette in ShoreditchKachette Shoreditch

It’s also important to me to showcase the whole range The Society has to offer; not just our fabulous wines but also craft beers and gins sourced by our two newest (and youngest) buyers, Freddy Bulmer and Sarah Knowles MW. Music will play, beer will flow, ties can be removed and we can see how much fun TWS can be. Just don’t be the ones to miss out!

We’ll also be running exciting dining experiences at our Generation Wine Dinners. These will be heldat less formal, quirkier restaurants, with wilder, more esoteric guest speakers, and even a bit of theatre to accompany the meal (we’ll be serving whole suckling pig at Camino and rocking on with Au Bon Climat’s ‘wild man of wine’ himself, Jim Clendenen at the Tramshed, for example).

As always, a selection of wines will be chosen to accompany the meals, but the focus will be on interest and experimentation. Discussion will be encouraged, curiosity demanded and a brilliant night out promised!

Matthew Horsley

Let us know what you think, and indeed any other ideas you have!

Matthew Horsley
Tastings & Events Team

Categories : Wine Tastings


  1. JerryW says:

    Well, I have made my son a member, so that’s one..
    I do think the WS has a bit of a retired-judge-or-doctor feel about it, though I am not sure what can be done about that. I don’t know if “Wine Society Raves” would go down all that well…!
    One thing that has hurt a lot of members is the rather curt way our connection with France was severed. Younger people are more European minded perhaps, and often have more need to manage their money than the more comfortable older members do; and making our wine available at French prices could be a real boost for them.. it is not necessary to have a boutique shop in the most expensive hotel in Montreuil, a depot in Calais would be fine.. Wineshare have a relationship with Franglais Wines that seems to work well.

  2. Michael Hawke says:

    My son, aged 39, is a keen wine drinker but has too many other activities with a young family to spend evenings such as you plan. He is not yet a member as I plan for him to take over my membership in due course. Consideration might be given for memberships to be passed on earlier than ‘the final date’ but allowing those giving up full membership to retain purchasing facilities; a form of Associate Membership.

    Just a thought. I have been a member now for 45 years.

  3. Phil G says:

    I gifted a membership to my son on his 21st (the same way I received mine 46 years ago) and to my son-in law on the occasion of his doctorate. Both young men value their membership but as Michael says they are too busy with the demands of young families. Indeed my son remarked the other day that his one year old has a more active social life than he does.
    I applaud Mathew’s initiative and hope it will encourage more younger members but I’m not sure that attendance at events is necessarily the best measure of engagement.

  4. John Leighton Davies says:

    I agree that we need to attract new members and therefore have to be creative in how we do so. This is a creative means of doing so, but be careful not to alienate the ‘backbone’ members of our Society. Different venues and tasting presentation formats will eventually point the toward the best direction for the future. We cannot allow ourselves to become a ‘dinosaur.”

  5. Nick Lenz says:

    Great to see some new initiatives for getting a younger crowd involved in the Wine Society! I have already signed up for the Kachette event. Keep it coming please!

  6. colin smith says:

    Always good to attract new blood but does it really matter what age your customers are as long as the total doesn’t actually fall?
    It’s when those expired are not replaced that you need to worry!
    Isn’t Wine Society membership just another sign of growing up, like listening to 6 Music or Radio 4 instead of Kiss and Radio 1, or moving to the right politically (controversial!).

  7. Robert Papier says:

    These tastings sound very exiting.

    I’m 62 so hopefully would be able to attend and still enjoy them.

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