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Fri 07 Jul 2017

The Society’s Big Night Out!

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The annual International Wine Challenge Awards Dinner at London’s Hilton on Park Lane is always a glitzy affair, with the great and the good of the world’s wine trade coming together to celebrate the best in wine and sake.

Society CEO Robin McMillan receiving the IWC Wine Club of the Year award from IWC Co-Chair Peter McCombie MW

We always know how The Society is doing in the eyes of you, the members, because you’re always so generous with your feedback, whether positive or constructive. That’s what drives us and is the very essence of what we are about – The Society is, after all, its members – but it’s always rewarding when we receive third party endorsement, especially from our peers in the trade.

Last night was the night when the IWC gives out its coveted UK Merchant of the Year awards. The Society was shortlisted for six 2017 awards, so it was with anticipation and excitement that six from The Society (CEO Robin McMillan, buyer Marcel Orford Williams, campaign manager Vicki Markham, Member Services co-ordinator Tracy Richardson, buying administrator Sarah MacCormack and PR manager Ewan Murray) joined over 600 wine trade colleagues.

And we weren’t disappointed! Being shortlisted is already an achievement, but winning is the icing on the cake!

We have a proud history of winning Wine Club of the Year and so were very pleased to continue this tradition. Another award we retained was that of Specialist Merchant for Regional France (Alsace, Beaujolais, Corsica, Jura, Provence, Savoie, South West France and other lesser known nooks & crannies). It was also very special to regain the Specialist Merchant for Portugal crown. Congratulations to our buyers Jo Locke (Alsace & Portugal), Toby Morrhall (Beaujolais until May this year) and Marcel Orford Williams (the rest!).

While there is a lot of work behind the scenes all year round from all 220 Society staff to get things right, it’s really all down to you, the members, who keep on drinking , and appreciating the quality and value for money of, the wines we discover for you. There are so many merchants and channels to choose from when buying wine – we thank you for your loyalty, and look forward to continuing the good work together!

Ewan Murray
PR Manager

Our Cellar Showroom opening hours (10am-6pm Monday – Friday, 9am to 5pm Saturday, plus late opening to 7pm on Thursday) are not convenient to all, and we don’t open on a Sunday, except in the run-up to Christmas.

Thankfully though, we now have the solution for those members who wish to purchase a bottle of wine after 6pm or indeed before 10am, should the need arise.

New out-of-hours facility at our Stevenage Cellar Showroom

New out-of-hours facility at our Stevenage Cellar Showroom

The Society’s Exhibition Vending Machine™, accessible via tongue-recognition software **,  will provide a vital ‘out of hours’ service to those members who live near Stevenage, but can’t be doing with grabbing an inferior bottle off an inferior shelf. It will certainly assist the author in no longer having to plan the occasional humiliating raid on his local supermarket whilst wearing a heavy disguise.

Members who do not live within travelling distance to Stevenage will be pleased to know that we will shortly be rolling out similar machines in major cities across the UK. Keep your eyes peeled and your tongues ready…

** The Society will shortly be adding a new layer of biometric security for members logging onto its website, which has been extended to this machine. Members will soon be asked for the tongue-prints using new software that will scan tongues from a user’s own smartphone. A simple lick will suffice for identifying that a user is indeed who they claim to be and that they are in need of more wine.

Ewan Murray

PR Manager

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Thu 20 Oct 2016

Harvest 2016: England – A Ridge With a View

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20 years is a short time in the wine world. Just enough for your first vines to have become fully mature and to be providing great fruit.

Couple that with one of the best ever summers for grapes on England’s South Downs and expect some delicious wines to come from the 2016 vintage.


The first Ridgeview vines were planted in 1994 by Mike Roberts MBE and his wife Chris. Sadly Mike passed away in November 2014, but the baton has been picked up by the second generation, namely winemaker Simon and his wife Mardi and CEO Tamara and her husband Simon They are continuing the family vision of creating world class sparkling wines in the South Downs. You can check out this short video to hear Mike, Simon, Tamara and others talk of their involvement in the business.

Ridgeview has been supplying The Society since the 2001 vintage, and I have been enjoying their wines since I started at The Society in 2004. Every year I enjoy them more as the vines get more established and as the experience of the Roberts family grows.

The proof of the ever-improving pudding came when they started making our chardonnay-dominant Society’s Exhibition English Sparkling Wine. We have just this week moved on to the 2014 vintage after selling out of the maiden 2013.

The view from the ridge

The view from the ridge

When Mardi Roberts invited me down to the estate at Ditchling Common in East Sussex for a day’s picking and pressing I didn’t need to be asked twice.

On arrival I talked with head winemaker Simon, vineyard manager Matt Strugnell and vineyard assistant Luke Spalding. They were visibly excited about the quality of this year’s harvest, agreeing that it is of the best quality they have ever had at Ridgeview, although rain at flowering time has meant that pinot noir quantities are down.

If you go down to the vines today...

If you go down to the vines today…

Walking around the winery and meeting chief operation officer Robin, production manager Olly, winemaking assistants Rob and Inma and others, it was clear that they were energised by the quality of the grapes and by the job they had to do to ensure that we will be enjoying the fruits of their labours for years to come.The winery and vineyards were abuzz with activity when I got there: the brilliant, efficient and hard-working Romanian and Portuguese pickers were in the vines, and the winemaking team was weighing the freshly picked chardonnay grapes on their way to the press.

There are seven hectares (17 acres) of vines on the Ridgeview site, but they work with growers on a further six sites on the South Downs (five in Sussex, one in Hampshire). The viticultural management of everything they grow or contract out is fascinating. There are four experimental rows of vines nearest the winery. Here they try various techniques to improve the yields and quality of the grapes.

These include canopy management (taking away / leaving leaves on the vines), cover crop planting (which crops are best for the soil quality), frost protection measures (currently trialling a warming electric cable along the trellis that is switched on when there is a risk of frost) and other experiments. Once a method has been deemed practical, it is rolled out into their own vineyard, and from there across the vineyards of the contracted growers.

The first fruits of my labours

The first fruits of my labours

I spent some time with Mardi in the vines harvesting chardonnay. The grapes themselves were delicious – well, it would have been rude not to taste! There was a lovely acidity, a sweetness and a fine texture already in the mouth. Things bode well for the 2016 vintage, with the bunches from row 13 particularly well snipped, IMHO!

Once the grapes have been picked, the bins are brought to the winery and put into the press. The unfermented chardonnay juice was very drinkable and, after tasting it, Simon and Luke were having their habitual daily bet on what the sugar level was (75-76? Oechsle seemed to be the consensus). The sugar level is of course a good guide to the eventual alcohol content of the finished wine. In the case of the 2016 chardonnay, this will be around 12%, with no chaptalisation (the adding of sugar to the grape juice to increase the potential alcohol of the wine) necessary.

The whole team is dedicated to the cause, and doing a fine job. The genuine smiling faces all around were a pleasure to behold, and it is clear to me that our Exhibition English Sparkling Wine couldn’t be in better hands.

Ewan Murray
PR Manager

For more 2016 harvest news, take a look at Tim Sykes’s report on the 2016 Bordeaux harvest, some news of a small but very exciting Muscadet crop and some stunning photos from Viña Zorzal in Navarra.

Categories : England
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Thu 22 Sep 2016

New Wines, New News

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latest-reviewsIt’s harvest time in the northern hemisphere, and the grapes from the 2016 vintage are being put into the press.

At The Society, we are putting our wines in front of the press, including earlier this week at London’s One Great George Street, just off Parliament Square. This preview of wines in our forthcoming Christmas List (out on 30th September), as well as the next Fine Wine List (8th November) and offers later in the autumn, was well attended by many of the nation’s wine writers, including Jancis Robinson MW, Tim Atkin MW, Victoria Moore, Fiona Beckett, Jane MacQuitty, Sarah Jane Evans MW, Malcolm Gluck, Christelle Guibert and others.

Ten days before the event, the Buying Team and I got together to taste through over 120 wines that had been proposed for the tasting and whittle them down to the final 67. (It may sound a lot, but writers frequently complain about having 150+ wines to go through at some competitor tastings.) We always seek feedback from the writers after our tastings, and among the many positive comments regularly received is the fact that our selection is just the right size – big enough to make a detour, but not so big that they have to decide what to miss out.

You will be able to see the reviews of the wines in various publications over the coming weeks and months, and can check them out as they are periodically uploaded to our Society in the press page.

In the meantime, first impressions can be spot on, and below are just a few of the comments made during and just after the tasting.




Once the List is out, you too can post your own reviews, as well as post your star-ratings against the wines you have bought. Just click on any wine you’ve tried, visit the ‘Reviews tab’ and click ‘Leave a Review’ (Please note: you will need to be logged in). Then rate the wine in question from 1–5 stars. We look forward to hearing from you.

Ewan Murray
PR Manager

Categories : Miscellaneous
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Wed 24 Aug 2016

Hot Wines for Hot Weather, Hot off the Press

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latest-reviewsWhile one part of my job is to get out and about among the great and the good of the wine trade and press (and do a little bit of tasting on the way!), another is monitoring the press and social media for what is being said about The Society and our wines.

‘The Society in the Press’ section of our website is updated at least weekly, and is a great place to go to discover the word on the street about what’s currently hot in our range.

Putting together a summertime Top Ten of wines mentioned in the press is hard, because we have so many mentions as a result of our quarterly press tastings and periodical samplings to the journalists, so perhaps I’ve erred on the side of some of my personal favourites. You could therefore view this as ten Staff Choices in a row for summer, backed up by some of the very best palates in the land.

The Wine Society, Stevenage  19th October 2015 Photo:  - Richard Washbrooke PhotographyThe Society’s Exhibition English Sparkling Wine 2013: “Sourced from Ridgeview, one of England’s best-known and most reliable producers of bottle-fermented sparkling wine, this fine vintage blend of mainly chardonnay with dollops of pinot noir and pinot meunier shows fresh aromatic complexity and the vivacious apple and hedgerow fruit mousse whose tangy, crisp and refreshing dry bite is one of the hallmarks of good English fizz.” The Wine Gang, 2nd August 2016

Duo Des Mers, Sauvignon-Viognier Vin de France 2015Duo Des Mers, Sauvignon-Viognier Vin de France 2015: “‘Must-try’ white – made by LGI, a company set up by Alain Grignon in 1999 to source wines made by co-ops between Roussillon and Gascogne. Its goal is to deliver inexpensive wines for export and this must be the best-value wine in the UK. The sauvignon blanc is sourced from Gascony, the viognier from Languedoc. Refreshing gooseberry, citrus and apricot fruit with great texture. The perfect summer party wine.” Christelle Guibert, Decanter, September 2016 

PW5571Altano, Douro Branco 2015: “I can’t imagine there are too many other wines at this price that can boast the same quality. This is the only white made by the Symington Family Estate … High altitude helps reveal the freshness in the grapes here and that’s very evident in this wine. Lemon zesty and aromatic, there is also plenty of ripeness in the palate with a slight hint of an almond nuttiness.” Andy Cronshaw, Manchester Evening News, 13th August 2016

CE8801Matetic Corralillo San Antonio Gewürztraminer 2015: “Alsatian gewurz tends to be quite rich and oily, but in coastal Chile it’s lighter, fresher and dry. With ginger, pear and peach, zippy acidity and oodles of perfume, it’s a winner with spicy food.” Tim Atkin MW, Jamie Magazine, 1st August 2016

Jurançon Sec ‘Chant des Vignes', Domaine Cauhapé 2014Jurançon Sec ‘Chant des Vignes’, Domaine Cauhapé 2014: Jurançon is known predominantly for its sweet whites, but the local grapes (gros and petit manseng) can also produce dry whites with a citrusy edginess … Fresh and aromatic, as soon as you’ve poured a glass the fruit races off the starting line and its zingy with citrus, grapefruit, spice and a hint of white pepper on the finish. Sam Wylie-Harris, The Press Association, 23rd July 2016


Hatzidakis Santorini 2015: A lemon nestling in a bed of oregano! Dazzlingly the perfect pairing for a Greek salad. Olly Smith, Event Magazine (Mail on Sunday), 24th July 2016

Pla dels àngelsScala Dei Pla des Àngels Garnacha Rosado 2015: This incredible wine … comes from a legendary Spanish estate famed for making massive reds.  The delicate, haunting, rose petal perfume of this rosé is remarkable and this sensual aroma is backed up with a firm, long, masterful palate.  It’s worth every penny! Matthew Jukes, & Daily Mail, 13th August 2016

ciro_rossoCirò Rosso Gaglioppo, Santa Venere 2014: You don’t often come across wines whose price seems genuinely incredibly low but this is one of them … Another stonkingly good value offering from this small denomination on the sole of Italy … distinctive rose-scented nose as well as massively friendly, fruity palate … Masses of character and charm. Very good value. Jancis Robinson MW,, 12th August 2016

AR3501The Society’s Exhibition Mendoza Malbec 2014: Penetrating, cool black fruit, black pepper and bitter chocolate, with softening tannins. Concentrated, sensitively oaked and even better in a couple of years. Joanna Simon,, 27th July 2016

FC29251Fitou, Domaine Jones 2013: Katie Jones has had to deal with quite a bit in her wine-making career, but this doesn’t stop her making an impeccable drop … A classic blend of carignan, grenache and syrah, resulting in an inky dark colour in the glass. The spicy bouquet of the darkest fruits has touches of blackberries and tarter blackcurrants. In the mouth the fruit is held in line with the structured tannins and a smidge of spicy wood tones. The warming black pepper heat continues through to the long earthy finish. An opulent style of Fitou from Katie’s vineyard in the village of Tuchan. Neil Cammies, Western Mail, 6th August 2016

Cheers! Here’s to the rest of summer and – who knows – perhaps an Indian one too.

Ewan Murray
PR Manager

Categories : Miscellaneous
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Fri 08 Jul 2016

Rising to the (International Wine) Challenge

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Head of Buying Tim Sykes with our Specialist Merchant Awards for South America and Regional France.

Head of Buying Tim Sykes with our Specialist Merchant Awards for South America and Regional France. ©Rob Lawson

For winemakers, winning an IWC (International Wine Challenge) award is the pinnacle of success, and we enjoy the fact that many of our wines have been recognised in this way (including this year).

For wine merchants to receive just one of the coveted IWC Merchant Awards is a high point, and having been shortlisted for five awards, a team of seven staff arrived at London’s Hilton on Park Lane Hotel for the 2016 Awards with much anticipation.

We were shortlisted for four Specialist Merchant awards – Italy and Spain, where the competition is always tough, and Regional France (Alsace, Beaujolais, SW France, Provence, Corsica, etc.) and South America where we are generally the tough competition for others. Things panned out as we had thought, with the latter pair bearing fruit for The Society.

Next up was the Online Retailer of the Year award – one that we have often won in the past under its previous guises of Mail-Order Merchant and Direct Merchant. We were delighted to regain this award, the judges recognising that The Society “covers everything from en primeur to some of the best wines available for under £10” and that the “website works brilliantly whether being accessed using a PC, a tablet or a smartphone”.

IWC Co-CHair Tim Atkin MW (left) presenting CEO Robin McMillan with the IWC Merchant of the Year Award 2016.

IWC Co-Chair Tim Atkin MW (left) presenting CEO Robin McMillan with the IWC Merchant of the Year Award 2016. ©Rob Lawson

And so to the last award – the highly sought-after IWC Merchant of the Year Award. Everyone who has won one of the 41 different Merchant awards is eligible for ‘the big one’, and so we were both surprised and delighted when IWC Co-Chair Charles Metcalfe uttered the immortal words: “And the winner is … The Wine Society!”

So 2016 goes down in Society history along with 2005, 2011 and 2013 as the years we have received the IWC’s ultimate accolade. This wine trade laureate is something in which all can share, whether staff, members or suppliers, all of whom have contributed to, and continue to contribute to The Society’s success. So whoever you are and wherever you may be, thank you for your support and for the part you have played in making The Society what it is today.

Thomas Oda (Member Research), Simon Mason (Tastings & Events), Ewan Murray (PR), Eain Green (IS), Robin McMillan (CEO), Tim Sykes (Head of Buying), Freddy Bulmer (Trainee Buyer) proudly displaying the spoils.

Thomas Oda (Member Research), Simon Mason (Tastings & Events Manager), Ewan Murray (PR Manager), Eain Green (Systems Development Manager), Robin McMillan (Chief Executive), Tim Sykes (Head of Buying), Freddy Bulmer (Trainee Buyer) proudly displaying our spoils.

All awards


Ewan Murray
PR Manager

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Wed 06 Jul 2016

Hot off the press…

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shutterstock_163797104Our team of buyers is forever scouring the world of wine in order to come up with the fantastic selections that members have come to discover, know and love. That the wines have passed the buyers’ palate test is recommendation enough, but third-party endorsement is always good to receive, adding objectivity to how The Society goes about things.

From members’ feedback, as well as tracking sales patterns of wines mentioned in the press, we know that there are several influential wine writers whose palates seem to be in harmony with those of members. Part of my role as The Society’s PR Manager is to ensure that those writers get to taste our wines and then ‘spread the love’, meaning more members get to see the wines, and more people become members on the back of this.

A regular click on our ‘Latest Press Reviews’ section of the website, renewed weekly, will keep you up-to-date with latest opinions on our wines, but here are a few recent highlights from the summer selections of just four of our favourite writers:

Victoria MooreVictoria

The Society’s Grüner Veltliner 2015

Superb, serious version of Austria’s signature grape – all white pepper and seltzer with hidden lime and grapefruit zest and a distinct stony undertow. Clean and bracing. One for picpoul drinkers to try. The Daily Telegraph, 4th June 2016

 Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, Contesa 2015

While the idea of drinking a deep-coloured rosé might feel tacky and wrong, like wearing a zigzag mohair jumper (I had one in the Eighties), I did find one I loved: Contesa Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo 2015, from southern Italy … A deep fuchsia-pink wine that is plump and ripe, has a squishy softness, and tastes of fat sweet-sour raspberries: an ample wine that’s good with other creamy-textured foods such as fresh mozzarella. The Daily Telegraph, 2nd July 2016 

Jean-Paul Brun, Terres Dorées Beaujolais L’Ancien 2014

This gamay from Beaujolais master Jean-Paul Brun smells amazing – it tingles like iron on stones, then the thick smell of redcurrants and other red berries comes through. An extraordinarily good, light-bodied wine, savoury as well as summery. Three ticks on my two-tick scale. Drink slightly chilled. The Daily Telegraph, 4th June 2016


Jane MacQuittyjane_macquitty-180x180

The Society’s Vinho Verde 2015

What could be more summery than a refreshing, floral, tongue-tingling, only 11.5 per cent alcohol glass of vinho verde? It is bristling with the alvarinho and trajadura grape’s sparky, spritzy, aromatic, verdant fruit. Fish such as mackerel love this lean but lively zingy white — and it’s perfect for a summer party. The Times, 25th June 2016

Muga Rosado, Rioja, 2015

This delicious, zingy, deep salmon pink rosé has been one of the top Spanish pinks for years. So tuck into this bone-dry, yet juicy rosé with plenty of zesty, smoky, savoury, peppery punch as a fine barbecue bottle. The Times, 2nd July 2016

 Baccolo Appassimento Parziale, Rosso Veneto 2014

Dive into this gorgeous, gamey, dried cranberry, morello cherry and raspberry-charged red, which has that pleasing, classic, bitter Italian twang on the finish. It’s a great barbecue red. The Times, 2nd July 2016


Matthew JukesMatthew-Jukes-About-Wine

Hidalgo Pastrana Manzanilla Pasada

I’ve given this a rare 20/20, a score gained by only two or three wines each year. It’s the best affordable dry Sherry in the world. Daily Mail,, 28th May 2016

Tavel Cuvée Prima Donna Rosé, Domaine Maby 2015

Made from the same grapes responsible for the mighty Châteauneuf-du-Pape, this is a powerful rosé which acts as a light red when it comes to food. It is sheer heaven with barbecued chicken. Daily Mail,, 28th May 2016

The Society’s Exhibition Hawke’s Bay Red 2013

Best hidden gem: A blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, malbec and cabernet franc, this is sublime – and a steal given it’s from one of the world’s foremost wineries, Craggy Range. Daily Mail,, 28th May 2016


David Williamsdavid williams

Pierre Gimonnet Premier Cru Brut NV

An invigorating fizz from Pierre Gimonnet, a specialist in chardonnay (which here makes up 100% of the blend) and one of the best of the region’s grower-producers now making their own wines rather than selling grapes to the region’s big houses. The Observer, 19th June

 Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese, von Kesselstatt 2013

The Germans have always been associated with [a] less fashionable version of riesling, one which involves leavening the sharpness with a dose of sweetness. This can make for the most beautifully delicate off-dry white wines, which with their markedly low alcohol, are just right for summer daytime drinking: The Wine Society has a good one in the shape of Von Kesselstatt Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Spätlese 2013, a racy, lengthy mouthful in taste as well as nomenclature. The Observer, 25th June 2016

 Percheron Old-Vine Cinsault, Western Cape 2015

Cinsault has become a surprise favourite of the new wave of South African producers. This is a brilliant place to start an exploration of its many charms: an exuberantly juicy cherry-berry red and one of the UK’s best-value wines. The Observer, 19th June

Ewan Murray
PR Manager

Categories : Miscellaneous
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Fri 01 Apr 2016

Wine and song

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Tim Sykes serenading Jancis with Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Mrs Robinson’

Wine tastings can be perceived as rather stuffy affairs. While this is far from the truth for Society tastings, we feel that a certain amount of levity would not go amiss from time to time.

To this end it has been decided that tutored tastings, in future, will begin with 15 minutes of optional karaoke. Society staff and our honoured guest presenters will start the ball rolling, but it is hoped that in time members too will be forthcoming in wanting to display their penchant for belting out some chart hits before getting down to the serious matter of tasting.

Jancis Robinson MW belting out 'Robbie Williams' 'Let Me Entertain You.'

Jancis Robinson MW belting out Robbie Williams’ ‘Let Me Entertain You.’

We had a trial run in February already, with Head of Buying Tim Sykes giving a great rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s apposite Mrs Robinson just before Jancis Robinson MW introduced her presentation with Robbie Williams’ Let Me Entertain You to a suitably impressed audience.

Our next tutored tasting will begin with excerpts from the Broadway & West End hit show Chicago, with Head of Tastings Simon Mason giving members the old Razzle Dazzle, before Tastings Co-ordinator Emma Briffett will echo members’ reaction to this by singing those legendary lines from Cell Block Tango: “He had it coming!”


A suitably impressed audience

Ewan Murray
PR Manager

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Tue 15 Mar 2016

The Society’s Three Peaks Challenge

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They blame me! I was leading a group of colleagues around the vineyards of Tuscany last autumn. At the back of the bus Sadie and Simon hatched a plan for a team of walkers to attempt the Three Peaks Challenge. They say that if I hadn’t sat them down next to each other neither the conversation nor the event would have happened, so apparently this madcap idea is all my fault.

For those who may not know, the Three Peaks Challenge is an attempt to climb and descend Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon within 24 hours, including the driving in between! Quite a challenge, but the team is up for it and already in training in order to support three very worthy causes dear to our hearts, namely The Eve Appeal, The Benevolent and Stevenage Community Trust.


The walkers work in different departments across the business: from left to right – back row: Dave Collins (analyst programmer), Peter Harris (delivery driver), Lesley Clark (marketing campaign analyst), Ben Briffett (Member Services co-ordinator) – front row: Nicky Glennon (head of digital marketing), Mahesh Bharwaney (regional merchandiser), Mike Green (systems service desk), Sadie Calderon (membership administration clerk), Simon Gatley (assistant merchandiser) and Carl Andrew (warehouse co-ordinator),

The drivers/support crew are: Tom Wain (regional merchandiser) and Ewan Murray (PR manager), who will don their boots and join the team for the walk up and down Snowdon.

We have already received a generous offer from Virgin Trains East Coast to transport the team up to Scotland from Stevenage, which has been gratefully received, and other ‘in kind’ offers are being sought to cover aspects of logistics.

Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, Snowdon,

For those who may wish to donate to any or all of our causes, the details are as follows:

Eve logoThe Eve Appeal – a dear colleague of ours, Louise, has been fighting cancer for the past four years. Go to  or text TWSE84 £x to 70070 (where x is the amount you donate)

‘The Eve Appeal was launched in 2002 and is the only national UK charity dedicated to funding world-class research and raising awareness of all five gynaecological cancers (womb, ovarian, cervical, vulval and vaginal). In the UK, 55 women are diagnosed and 21 die each and every day from a gynaecological cancer – yet funding and awareness of these diseases remains low. We are determined to change this and fight women’s cancers by funding research focused on developing effective methods of risk prediction, earlier detection, and improved treatment and care that will ultimately save women’s lives not only in the UK but around the world.’

June 2016 – update: we are very sad to report that on Saturday 11th June our colleague Louise lost her battle with peritoneal cancer. We’ll be thinking of her all the way.


benevolent_id_jpegThe Benevolent – the daughter of one of the team has benefited greatly from the charity’s financial assistance towards treatment in her long struggle against mental illness. Go to  or text TWSB77 £x to 70070

‘Founded in 1886, The Benevolent’s mission is to help colleagues from the drinks trade facing serious medical or financial hardship or any other workplace or home difficulties. Today The Benevolent continues to be at the heart of the UK drinks industry and is the only charity supporting employees from every sector of the drinks trade, no matter where they were employed or what their personal situation. Here at The Benevolent we are passionate about our industry, our community and our work and firmly believe that everyone deserves a helping hand when they need it most. From our Board of Trustees and Corporate Partners, to our staff and Benevolent Ambassadors, we are all committed to improving the quality of life for vulnerable people from the UK drinks industry.’

Steve logoStevenage Community Trust – Staff at The Society support this local charity which serves the most needy in our home community. Our CEO Robin McMillan is a trustee. Go to  or text TWSS657 £x to 70070

‘Stevenage Community Trust is an independent charitable trust, which raises funds and promotes charitable giving in order to enhance the quality of life of people living in the Borough of Stevenage and its surrounding villages.’

We’ll post updates nearer the time, and you will be able to follow our exploits over the weekend itself on social media.

Ewan Murray
PR Manager

Categories : Miscellaneous
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Fri 11 Sep 2015

Sniff, swirl, slurp, spit … tweet!

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twstasteOur third virtual #TWStaste event, where members sit in the comfort of their own homes communing with one another online over a glass of liquid, happened at the end of August. (Details of the next one can be found at the bottom of this post).

This time it involved tasting two wines from our Blind Spot range, Australian wines with a ‘sense of place’, made / selected / bottled for us by Mac Forbes –  Blind Spot King Valley Pinot Gris 2014 and Blind Spot McLaren Vale Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2013.

Present in the virtual tasting room (or rather in their respective studies in London and Hitchin) were our buyer for Australia Sarah Knowles MW (@SarahKnowles) with yours truly (@Ewbz) taking charge of The Society’s feed. This time we had singles, couples and even groups taking part from all over the country, juggling glass, bottle and device!

For the hour between 7.30 & 8.30 (as well as before and after) tweets flew around filled with …

… anticipation …

… congregation …

… information …

… orientation …

… sensation …

… imagination …

… evaluation …

… computation …

… satisfaction …

… and valediction.

The next #TWStaste will be happening on Thursday 15th October from 7.30pm to 8.30pm. Buyer Marcel Orford Williams (@owmarcel) will be there and he,  together with Martin Brown (@iamagrapeman), yours truly (@Ewbz) but chiefly … yourselves, will be tasting two wines from the Languedoc – Bourboulenc Domaine de Simonet 2014 and Syrah-Mourvèdre Côtes de Thongue Domaine Condamine L’Evêque 2014. Both wines are currently available individually and will also be in the Everyday Languedoc Mixed Dozen Case as part of our Languedoc offer which begins on 25th September.

We look forward to seeing you, tasting and tweeting with you then.

Ewan Murray
PR Manager

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