Decanter’s Amy Wislocki has recommended a selection of current releases picked from The Wine Society’s excellent range, which is curated by nine buyers, including three MWs.
The firm is a cooperative owned by its 170,000 members. Founded in 1874, it has long been popular with wine lovers in the UK. Covid has only accelerated growth, and The Society enjoyed its busiest and most successful year ever in 2020, despite closing for two weeks at the start of the first lockdown, and being closed to new members for April and May of that year.
Some readers question our inclusion of The Wine Society in recommendations round-ups, on the basis that wines can only be purchased by members. But the range offered by this non-profit making organisation offers such a high level of excitement and diversity that most UK wine lovers would reap rewards from paying the one-off £40 membership fee (especially considering that on joining new members receive £20 off their first order).
Many retailers would envy its average bottle spend of over £10. Over half of sales are of French wine – with Italy and Spain the next most important in terms of sales – but many other regions are seeing a sharp increase in demand, including England, Greece and Austria. Many popular wines sell out fast, so don’t hang around if something takes your fancy. The Society will be reducing some prices from May, to reflect changing economic circumstances, including a more favourable exchange rate.
The Wine Society was awarded Large Online Retailer of the Year 2020 in Decanter’s Retailer Awards, also taking top spot as Spain and Portugal Specialist of the Year, South & Regional France Specialist of the Year, and Austria Specialist of the Year.
Looking to expand your wine horizons, or after great gift ideas?
The Wine Society: top wines to try
The vast majority of these wines were tasted in March 2021, when The Society organised a Zoom tasting of 48 wines specially selected by its buying team. The remaining recommendations were tasted at a press tasting last autumn, but are still available to buy.