01438 741177         thewinesociety.com

J L Chave Hermitage Rouge 2015


I got to say that the system you’re using doesn’t seem to have much logic if you’re aim is fairness, not upsetting anyone and of course offering top Wines at fair prices.

Now you’ve explained it I would think everyone who’s interested is annoyed they didn’t get a chance. It’s so random.

I know you’re all trying to do the best but in the 21st century there must be a better system that just emailing random members.

How about asking people their requirements in advance and then emailing all of them with an offer with cut of date. Lowering the allocation and then dividing it again or increasing it as necessary. Everyone who’s interested enough will get a chance. More importantly some smart Alec city type won’t get to turn a few cases of Chave for profit.


I can see the white is out of stock, too. The 2012 red is still available at a very good price…


I’m afraid you’ve got that wrong - it isn’t random at all. We email a carefully targeted selection of members (I’ve explained a bit more about this above).

If we send the email in several batches, then which members (from this carefully targeted group) goes in which batch is decided randomly, in the interest of fairness. This way, if the wine sells out quicker than expected, we can cancel future batches and avoid disappointment.

Of course, the alternative is sending the email to the entire targeted group of interested members at once (or even just to every single active member, to make sure everyone that might want it gets the chance!), but in the past we found this caused huge disappointment, as so many members will click the email and try to buy the wine only to find out it’s sold out. This understandably can prompt people to ask why we sent the email to so many people in the first place if we thought it would sell out quickly, as it causes unnecessary disappointment - which is part of the reason why we started sending some emails in batches (depending on various factors).

There’s no perfect system to make sure no one gets disappointed, unfortunately. Sometimes, there’s simply too many interested parties and not enough wine - even an allocation system like En Primeur can cause disappointment. We just try our best to minimise that as much as possible. This time, it didn’t go as expected and in hindsight there are things we could have done differently - but this will inform our decisions moving forward as we continue to try to improve.

We do a lot of work behind the scenes to ensure wherever we can that these wines are purchased by drinkers and not investors, and if members are re-selling such wines then they are breaking the rules they signed up for.


Sorry maybe worded that badly but you did say you selected from the interested list at random that’s what I meant. Plus the seemly random way people get on the selected list doesn’t seem thought through or just too complicated to explain perhaps. If I wanted on the list could I get on it?


The short answer has to be that this goes onto the following years’ EP in future, surely? It does feel a bit haphazard when the wine is being offered so far below market value.


Unfortunately not at the moment - but it is something we’re considering.

You’ve hit the nail on the head, there - I couldn’t begin to explain all the variables that go into it! :slight_smile: But we have a very skilled team of analysts using sophisticated software to do the very best we can.

Obviously, in an ideal world, all batches would be sent and everyone would get a chance to buy the wine - and this is exactly what happens most of the time, thankfully - and that’s because we closely monitor response rates so we can get our targeting right in nearly all cases.

It’s only when things are way off our predictions that we get these very unfortunate occurrences. Hope that explains things a little better! :slight_smile:

That would be something we’d consider, yes.


I think that is the most sensible. Chave is a big ticket wine now - I would imagine if the Mouton or Haut-Brion moved from the EP offering to a targeted mail shot people would be similarly irked.

That said TWS are still amazing compared to any other merchant and do 99% of things very well indeed!


This seems totally prehistoric to me - the idea that there are different echelons of TWS is a real eye-opener…


I applaud TWS for their open and honest replies to all the questions and issues raised on this page.

I was disappointed but accept there is no perfect solution and that TWS try their best to be as fair as possible. It wont work for everyone every time.

I have been a member for about 20 years but I have noticed a large increase in the number of email offers I receive over the last 3 years or so which coincides with me buying a lot more wine from TWS including EP and VCP wines. I now assume that is because of this targeted approach looking at peoples purchasing patterns so it must be working to some degree at least.

So it seems that the more you buy, the more offers will come your way.


I think you’re entirely right. We consistently buy from TWS every month including from a range of price points and regions - as a result we seem to get all the offers (I think?). Therefore I assume if we started buying more from elsewhere or sticking to a certain couple of regions then we may see less offers come our way.


One of the joys of this commmunity of course is that keen eyes such as @szaki1974 and @Taffy-on-Tour will alert you to wonderful offers before TWS emails or sends you a hard copy in the post :grinning::wink:


Thanks for taking the time to answer all our comments, Laura - much appreciated! Like others mentioned, I too struggle to understand how the high demand was not anticipated when TWS price was about a third of the market price by the Wine-Searcher (£367 per bottle, as somebody mentioned above?) and 2015 has been a significantly more ‘hyped’ vintage for Northern Rhone than, say, 2011 or 2012. In the case of the 2011 and 2012, the price differential with the market level seems to be in the region of 20-30% - certainly different to the 2015. Anyone close to the wine trade and having a vague idea of when JLC wines are typically released would certainly be in much better position to do their research in advance and check their emails regularly at the right time - not especially fair to other TWS members who can’t always react within minutes.

I would vote to move such highly sought-after wine’s to an EP-like system, where there is a reasonable timeframe for people to submit orders and all orders then get allocated in line with the usual rules. I don’t typically get my full EP wishlist but I’m fine with that - in my view it’s fair that those who spend more with TWS get more of their requested order than those who spend less.


Works in reverse as well. I noticed email offers tailing off after I cut back on wine purchasing.


Sorry - I just wanted to clarify one more thing in response to this. There are no ‘echelons’ at the Wine Society - in the comment you quoted I was (perhaps not clearly enough - sorry) explaining we don’t have the technology in place for members to pick and choose which kinds of emails they receive at the moment, unfortunately.

It’s not the case that if you buy more, you’ll get all/most emails either - our email targeting picks the two product-related emails we think you’ll be most interested in. We don’t want to spam your inbox with mailings every week!

Hope this helps! :smiley:


Guys, where’s the best place to get rid of 18 bottles of 2015 Chave Hermitage? Need £300/bottle - asking for a friend.



Now that’s funny! lol!


Did they fall off the back of a red liveried van somewhere north of London?


I still don’t get it.

I’d assumed that TWS was specifically targeting big spenders so as not to displease them and then potentially lose their business around EP offerings.

I’m not sure its better if the reality is more antediluvian.

I would like a Society which is egalitarian. I can understand that if self-subscription is not yet an option, its hard to implement without annoying a large chunk of the membership. I’m patient however, and i think some such an approach should be the Society’s ambition.

I’ll use this thread as well to say I don’t much like the EP algorithm (or at least the idea of it). Say you have a budget of x per annum to spend on wine. The algorithm seems to be agnostic to personal budget allocation. Why should one customer be penalised vs those with larger budgets? It seems to me to be a very British legacy…I think I would prefer a Dutch Auction in fact to the present arrangement.


1.a level or rank in an organization, a profession, or society.

If TWS has some secret formula for getting on a special list which advantages those members. You’ve already said it isn’t random, but not explained how one gets on the list. Then you are creating echelons in the membership.
Fine if you that’s what you want to do.
Why can’t I ask to be on the list for x or y? Happy if there’s then an allocation or random draw. Don’t mind if it is based on other support for TWS as long as it’s transparent.

This special list thing is all very secret squirrel.