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Ribera del Duero - Gran Reserva offer email



I think the reason I get so frustrated by things like this is because it is sort of a reflection of my life in general. A bit deep/dramatic maybe.

I receive lots of offers over the month, not just from TWS, but due to lack of funds the vast majority are rejected straight away, not through choice but necessity.

So I know you can’t buy everything but for every 20 offers around 18 are rejected straight away, and then the other two that really appeal cause more problems.

So, a bit like the new TKMaxx advert it goes like 'no, no, no, oh my God get into my basket now. The trouble is I put them in my basket and then by the time I have either procrastinated or checked the bank balance or tried to make it up to the minimum amount/free delivery I find I can’t even afford them anyway and have to cancel it most of the time.

Therefore, when you have overcome all of the above and decided to definitely go for a wine and find it is out of stock by the time you get home to order it is so disappointing.

Still, like Andy said there are worse problems to have.


I don’t know how helpful it will be for me to repeat what I’ve said in the past in as much detail as I previously went into concerning how and why email audiences are selected (and that we do act when we find people reselling for profit, as it’s against our rules) - you can read this topic for more info if you haven’t already.

But it’s certainly worth repeating there is not any conspiracy to ensure a ‘special group’ of members receive all the best wine. I can’t quite believe I need to say that, but if there’s been such a lack of confidence in The Society then I really do apologise, and find that very concerning.

I completely appreciate some of you are frustrated with how the email system works, and would rather receive more/all emails from us to avoid missing out, and this has been noted and is an ongoing consideration. Unfortunately, it’s not something that can be fixed in the flick of a switch, so there isn’t an immediate solution, but we are currently working on ways to improve this situation both in the short and longer term. I’ll let you know when I know more.

In the mean time, I’m glad many of you are taking it upon yourselves to share these offers here (as @Alchemist kindly did this time), and I think @danchaq has summarised things pretty well - with limited quantities and far more interested members than we can possibly satisfy, it’s impossible to avoid disappointment. But I assure you we are trying, and trying to improve, and doing our best to be fair at all times.


It’s often frustrating when something like this appears in front of you and then gets snatched away before you get a chance; it would feel better not to have known about it in the first place.

But I think it pays to keep it all in perspective. For various reasons, I’ve missed out on loads of lovely wines over the years - ones I’ll never have the chance to buy again - and on every occasion I found that: a) the world kept on turning; b) I still had plenty to be getting on with in my own collection; c) another offer of a lovely wine was just around the corner.


Thanks Laura for adding the Society’s view. The crux of the problem is that in some of these ‘special offers’, if you will, there is insufficient wine to meed the demand and if more members or all members are emailed about a particular wine, then surely it will just sell out even faster? Therefore this isn’t a sensible option.

My concern is that there are ‘members’ of TWS who are purchasing these wines purely to sell on at a later date for profit and all efforts should be made to prevent this - possibly reducing the attractiveness of these limited offers by imposing a 2 or 3 bottle maximum per member - those of us who want to taste something special can still do so, but those looking to sell on a case are thwarted.


This summs it up perfectly! :clap::clap:



Thanks for your reply, well written and thoughtful as usual. It’s not fair on you to have to justify this policy.

However, I don’t think we have moved on from the “Chave gate” which you linked too.

Can’t we as members ask for mails on the wines we would like? If stocks are so low the mails go slowly, so be it. At least I know I’ll get a chance next time. I don’t believe I’m getting any of the special ones at the moment to be honest, but it’s difficult to tell between the rare offer and the wider offer.

I have now taken this up directly with the fine wine team. As I don’t wish to rattle on here.


I guess the point is that that’s not how the system works at present, and although it could be implemented pretty quick if they wanted, they need to internally analyse if it’s the best option and spend time and effort reorganising their offer structure to make sure it works properly, all the while I assume there are in-pipeline offers that have been planned using the current system. It’s not just the local fine wine shop switching their settings on mailchimp.



Well put!
I do like “a Gate,” so “Chave Gate” was a brilliant descriptor.


Isn’t ignorance blissful. In times before the community (BC?) we would have just gone about our lives and miss a good grumble about opportunities missed. The Community is an awesome leveller of the field in this respect, especially if we keep notifying each other.

I think limiting quantities for wines that are scarce is sensible, not sure whether it would stop the trade…


Oh well missed the extra availability.


I am afraid the reason for complaint is that this only seems to be a recent issue.

I do not understand the logic and continue not to of the following - sending an offer to a limited number of members on the basis that stocks are low but placing no limit on what they can buy and then expressing surprise when a small number Hoover up all the stock.

Restrictions are placed for example on wines in the TWS fine wine list and in the past it seems that is where many of these wines would be placed online.

These targeted e mails to a small number of members does the Society no favours and just causes resentment . I suggest they are offered through the Fine Wine list or fine wine bin ends and an e mail sent to everyone so everyone has a chance.


After reading these posts.
Like others it does not bother me missing out on the offer. Life is too short to worry about whether you were contacted or not.
I do doubt there is a secondary market for this wine.
I will echo that a six pack limit may have been more appropriate for a small batch of wine.
For those feeling frustrated . Take a deep breath :+1:


Not at home on the 25th so unable to take advantage. Showing OOS at 0825 his morning. T shirt now appears to have shrunk and will need replacing, so an all round disaster really!


So then the democratic principle goes out of the window. TWS should always make offers available to its entire membership.


I still believe that with parcels of wine in very limited quantities there is no easy and sensible option. The method previously described for sending out this information seems reasonable given the alternative options.
Notifications to all members by email isn’t necessarily democratic as those members not on email will be unaware, exactly as they are now. Do we then have to send post out? What happens if it gets delivered late, never mind the exorbitant cost. Democracy isn’t that straightforward an answer either.

We have to be relaxed, phlegmatic and sensible about these situations. In the end, there’s loads of delicious wine out there and we might often be guilty of buying more than we could get around to drinking anyway! :slight_smile:


But TWS does have experience in allocating wine in limited quantities, in its EP offers. There is no great hurry in allocating something like the Ribera del Duero wine: it could have waited a few months until a reasonable number of these parcels had accumulated, and a general offer with a reasonable deadline could be sent out. If there was uncertainty about how many people would be interested, an email or a posting on this Community asking how many people might be interested would be possible. Unless TWS is in a very serious cash flow position, I do not see any reason for these randomly timed offers.

Those who say '‘there are loads of delicious wines out there’ are right, of course, but each of us probably has some wines that we really care about, and for which we would be seriously disappointed not to receive an offer, along with all the ones we would rather like to try. I can be relaxed about the ‘nice to try’ (fortunately, this included the Rib del Duero), but I would not be about the special few. The problem is that TWS can have no idea which wines are special for each member.

There also seems to be some disagreement on what a ‘small order’ would be. 6 seems a large limit to me.

So why not: twice a year a small order mailing, sent with some other regular mailing?


It isn’t helpful to start making statements like this without any evidence and for no reason.

I would suggest that offers need to be spread out so members are not overwhelmed by huge choices every time.

Even if they did, members would then complain that “this wasn’t the right time …” or “I can’t afford to take advantage of these all at the same time” or “how do I find the needle in this particular haystack

The EP allocation idea that has been proposed could work, but is a huge overhead in terms of effort, time (delay) and cost. This works because the wines are usually high value and it is done for many wines and many members all at the same time. For smaller offers it would be a huge waste, and STILL people would be upset when they got a tiny allocation, or none, so in fact it wouldn’t really solve it.

Here’s an exercise that might help to try and define the issue for both sides

Can you (all who participate in this discussion, not picking on anyone), create a list of all the wine offers that you WOULD want to know about. Make it specific enough that it is useful to marketing when deciding whether to send you a particular offer - some of which will be regional, some will be seasonal pre-mixed cases, some will be producer-based, others will be for individual wines.

What does YOUR list look like?

Remember, there is not a zero-cost to being on a list (as lists get longer, it adds delay to sending, it creates more management effort, complicates any tracking and also, ultimately makes it less likely that you will actually see/react to that offer - if you have 10+ emails a week, you may start to fall behind in your reading, and might miss some).

I’m intrigued because, honestly, I could not do this for myself, so I’m not sure how The Society could do it for me.

The one thing that DOES spring to mind is whether someone could create a clever AI system that would look at all my past purchases and ratings and cleverly profile me and give suggestions of things I would like. Effectively that is what already happens (with human’s at The Society doing the work), but maybe this is where AI starts to show benefits? (albeit it would be complicated and expensive)


Past purchases from the society are not a good indicator as we buy from other places (including producers).

You seem to have a different idea of types of offer which we might choose. I have no idea what a seasonal pre-mixed case might have in it: how could I possibly say whether I would be interested? Yes, if has an Alsace Gewurztraminer in it; no if it has any Sauvignon Blanc. No if (see another thread) it costs more than the components…

Several of us have repeatedly suggested that you provide a list of how you classify mailings, and then each member could sign up to those we wanted. Once we have done this for your existing categories, we or you might want to suggest additional categories, but lets start at the beginning.


Before I continue, I want to re-state that I no longer work for The Society, so I am speaking SOLELY in a personal capacity as a member

But this is my exact point. It isn’t so much the classifications of the offers since these are wide, but which members to select. There are lots of mixed cases, so which ones would you expect to see?

In the case of this wine, is a member interested in ALL Ribera del Dueros? Maybe all red wines with alcohol >14.5%? Or anything older than 2008? Or anything made from Tempranillo? Maybe just wines from this producer?

How can any system achieve the kind of targeting that would pass the fairness test of “I should have received this particular offer” if we can’t define our own interests? The only solution is for a member to see all mailings, but then every offer has to go to hundreds of thousands of people, and when in limited quantities, therefore potentially disappoint all but a few every time? That solves nothing.


TWS does send things to all members (the lists, for example) so this is not impossible. What most of us are saying is that we do not want any targeting. Yes, when there are fewer wines than orders, some people will be disappointed. This we can accept. What we do not like is bad targeting, and as we agree that any targeting will be bad, that means all targeting.

What I think is also coming through is that we don’t like mailings that give an advantage to those who can reply first.

I have still seen no explanation of why these offers have to come at random times, rather than once a month/six months/year on a fixed date. Then, there could be a dedicated web page with the offers for the next order date and people could check this when convenient and prepare their orders.