The Wine Society is now open again to new members.

The online retailer temporarily closed at the end of March and then it reopened but only selling full cases of six or 12 to existing members.

It can now offer new members a choice from 1500 wines, 30 different mixed cases and more than 70 half bottles of wine.

The Wine Society has also re-opened its bottle-pick facility, allowing members, who have been overwhelmingly supportive of The Society’s position throughout, to once again custom-mix their own cases of wines, beers and spirits for delivery.

The Society’s subscription services (Wine Without Fuss and Vintage Cellar Plan) have also now re-opened to new subscribers.
Delivery times, while not yet back to the usual name the day service, are now down to under seven days. The Cellar Showroom at Stevenage is open for Click and Collect, and The Society hopes to resume its own van deliveries soon, along with reinstating its national Click and Collect service when the time is right.

Very strict measures remain in place to ensure safety of employees (and by extension their families and Society members). All staff are working from home where it is possible to do so. For those who can’t work from home, the cellars and the offices have been equipped and reconfigured to allow for strict hygiene and social distancing measures. Some furloughed staff are beginning to return, while vulnerable and shielded employees continue their isolation.

The Wine Society continues to perform well and, despite having been closed to orders for 18 days, regular sales were up in April by over 30% compared to last year, and orders in May so far are up by over 50%.

For the week before lockdown and the week of re-opening, business levels were higher than at Christmas. The figures are driven not only by these regular sales of tried and tested favourites, but also by En Primeur offers so far this year (generic from Rhône, Burgundy and Barolo but also unique offers from Ridge, Schloss Gobelsberg, Torbreck and Vina Zorzal thus far). There is a great appetite for these among members of The Society, the company said.

Alongside all of this The Society has developed a virtual programme of events operating every day, each attended by hundreds of members and receiving rave reviews. The calendar is being updated constantly, but upcoming events included masterclasses/Q&A sessions with Domaines Schumberger (Alsace), Rainer Wess (Austria), Alfred Gratien (Champagne), Château Thieuley (Bordeaux) and Frog’s Leap (Napa).