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Magical Mystery Bottle


I don’t know any of the people who work in the society’s marketing department and I feel no personal animosity towards them.

I am questioning whether the functions they perform are necessary or desirable.

How much impact does social media marketing have? People seem to assume that because it is modern and it is everywhere that it must be a good thing and that we must have it.

As it happens I’m not against having a social media presence - I’m against using it to push special deals and free bottles. Ultimately what you use to sell yourself ends up being who you become and I don’t feel that this is the sort of thing the society ought to be.


I don’t feel that I am complaining gratuitously. I’m trying to make a contribution to the debate about what the society should be - something which as members we do have some control over!


Why are you so against it? What are your reasons?? I don’t understand why you have such an issue with using social media to promote?? Just because it doesn’t appeal to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. If it didn’t work, tws would not be using it.


I’m not really concerned with the efficacy or otherwise of the use of social media in increasing sales and membership. I have nothing against this as a way of reaching people, and clearly there are a variety of people out there who need different approaches.

What I am concerned with is not the medium so much as the message.

What I am concerned with are the values of the society, and the ethics of pushing sales with time-limited offers and free gifts.

It’s not that this does or doesn’t appeal to me (I “took advantage” of the two cases or more summer offer, for what it’s worth), it’s that I would prefer it if the society were to concentrate its energies on the quality offer rather than on pushing people to spend more, drink more, and join up for the offers.


There seems to be an argument here that a sales promotion is going to erode the traditions of the Wine Society - honesty, value and good service. The WS can offer value because they shift wine and they do not seek a profit. The former is only served by boosting wine sales and the latter I don’t see changing.

Is honesty in decline at t WS. I think they are honest - look at the reviews on the website, you can find plenty of unfavourable ones and the discussions here are healthy and I believe uncensored.

They offer a good service. If you call up they are knowledgeable, cheerful and I don’t know of another company who will call you back to let you know the exact mixture of grapes in their Society English White simply because you felt like finding out - (2017 vintage 55% Madeleine Angevine 30% Serval Blanc 15% Phoenix. 2018 vintage 50% Madeleine Angevine 20% Seyval Blanc 20% Phoenix 10% Reichensteiner) - and I only asked about the 2018. They just went the extra.

The other thing is that we should entertain the idea that no every promotion or idea the WS has is aimed at each of us. There are a lot of inactive members who might be nudged by the offer of an extra bottle or a golden bottle.


Of course some people would say that there ought to be more shareholder activism in the world - and shareholders are certainly right to provide input in a company not just when it goes wrong but hopefully before - but that’s another debate!

I am generally very happy with the running of the society and, yes, it’s a pleasure not to be a member of naked wines. That doesn’t mean I need to be completely passive though - and surely the success of an organisation doesn’t preclude individual members discussing among themselves where they think the organisation is going?

I’m not trying to micro-manage anyone. Presumably the management ought to be delighted by any feedback from members about where the society is going without feeling the need to do anything about individuals’ concerns.

Why is the AGM the only proper place to address these things? I’m not expecting the management to read my posts and change the way they do things. I just hope that if anyone else shares my views they might say so, and that if sufficient people express those opinions then perhaps at some future annual meeting there might be a discussion of this area of policy. Or not, if nobody else is interested.

It seems legitimate to me that there should be a mid-way option between saying nothing at all on the one hand and turning up on spec at the AGM on the other. These pages seem like the perfect space to moot ideas without being too formal about it.


I am not trying to make some sort of global attack on the society; I think that most of what it does, it does excellently. I, too, have had several superb interaction with the member services - and this argues that there’s a very healthy ethos alive and well within the society and among its employees. Good.

I think that there is an ethical slippery slope in using the hard sell, however softly it is being used at present.


I am interested in how you envisage the trajectory of that slippery slope. How do we get from a free bottle of wine to the demise of the WS values?


“Cheer up we could be discussing politics.”

Whatever else you do, don’t do that :wink:


Tangential reference to politics - is anyone else uneasy about this “golden bottle” concept? As an American, I can’t help but be reminded of Donald Trump and the Moscow hotel room.


I wasn’t but I am now😱


It’s interesting to follow this discussion, and I guess have views somewhere in the middle. Disagreeing with certain actions is not necessarily expressing negativity, it’s expressing a different view. Disagreeing with some things TWS does is not attacking the whole organisation, or expressing dissatisfaction with it. The idea that anyone with any dissenting views should simply remove themselves is a bit scarey I think.

What people say and do is important though. How they say it is important too. “Buy 12 bottles get one free” may sound attractive (though rather like any supermarket). “Buy 12 bottles and get another paid for by all the members without their consent” perhaps doesn’t seem quite so appealing.

And though unsaid so far (I think), the fact that the product TWS provides may not be entirely beneficial, is also in the background. I’ve happily convinced myself that drinking a certain amount of wine is perfectly healthy, but I make no attempt to deny that drinking more and more of it is not so good for me. I’ve therefore got somewhat ambivalent feelings about activities apparently designed to encourage more consumption. It’s a tricky issue. Perhaps the answer is to focus on more members with moderate consumption rather than higher consumption by existing members.


Doesnt the very nature of marketing make it only likely to appeal to some of the potential audience? Some marketing techniques will never appeal to some people. The key is to accept that all sales led organisations (of which TWS has to be one) need to market themselves and their product to continue to sell and continue to exist.

I like TWS and what it stands for, hence appreciate they fact that they are trying their best to continue the business. Even though a free bottle when buying 12 doesn’t personally influence me to make a purchase!


I’m sorry, @MrLavercombe! I didn’t mean to imply that you are complaining gratuitously. I guess my feeling is, though, that for every member who feels this sort of marketing is naff and unnecessary, there will be another member who feels the Society should be more ‘visible’, or ‘modern’ or ‘vocal’ or some such. To my mind it is impossible for the Society to please all members all of the time - some will find whatever it does to promote itself (or not) lacking in taste or irrelevant to them.


Reading through all this in one go, and the previous strings on things like the golden bottle promotion, it seems to come down to different people liking different things and different approaches to marketing. For any given offer, some like it, some don’t, vis:

  • Chave Hermitage 2015 - why wasn’t it a limited quantity per member?
  • Select producers latest burgundy en primeur (Rousseau, Roumier) - why can’t I have a whole case?

Basically, damned if you do, damned if you don’t, and there are plenty of other places you can go if you’d prefer a different approach.

The Society has a range of members; and different types of offer appeal to different people.

Even though I don’t like some of the offers (as a non-billionaire, what is the point of having 100 red burgundies on offer at £50/£100+ per bottle?), what I do like is the range as a whole, and the diversity I find within it. No other merchant I have found compares in terms of the breadth of the range on offer, the overall value most of it represents, or the level of customer service, which is why TWS will continue to be where I buy 70-80% of the wines I love.

Bravo, Wine Society, keep it up!


Hi @laura

Are you able to disclose the variety of different price points from the 12 mystery bottles being added to cases?

It seems most on this community have received the Kaap Plaas first up. Is this just by pure coincidence?



As our social media manager I can happily confirm - lots! :smile: Social media is a good way to achieve a variety of things, from attracting the new members we need for healthy growth to keeping current members updated in way that suits many more than traditional marketing like email or post. :slight_smile:

Absolutely!! That’s a big part of why we have this Community - it’s a place for you all to give your views and have a platform to be an even more ‘active’ member than ever before! I absolutely welcome your feedback.

If I can get hold of the list of wines on Monday, I’ll post them here! :smiley: Spoiler alert: there’s no first growths on there :wink:


I often “swipe up” and add a wine to my basket from Instagram. I believe tws excel on their social media platforms.


I can confirm not all Kaap Plass. My order came today with a bottle of this…

…,which is nice.


think you were lucky, but we’ll see