Three masters of wine have set up their own online retailer, winetrust100.co.uk, with the aim of bringing to consumers “a ruthlessly edited selection of wines of character and deliciousness that over-perform for their price.”
The project is the branchild of John Hoskins MW, Sarah Abbott MW and Nick Adams MW and focuses on just 100 wines. Likening the selection to that of the MW exam, where each wine represents, “a good example of its type”, Hoskins told the drinks business the reasoning behind the selection.
“When we taste, the three of us argue about every single bottle on the list and we can be really confident that all wines are good to drink now.”
Hoskins added the aim of the list is to stay flexible, with wines changing every month – particularly those that have only been bought in small quantities and which will therefore have been sold.
This will also allow the site to constantly offer new and different wines, while sourcing the wines from UK agents in the right quantities will hopefully mean the site is never stuck with wines it can’t sell.
‘We have a Sancerre at the moment,” he continued, “we won’t all the time but there will be a Loire Sauvignon. We’re not hamstrung by what a ‘normal retailer’ feel they have to list.”
The wines are ranked on a “QPR Rating” or Quality/Price Ratio. The closer to 100 the wine is scored the better value the trio deem it to be for its quality. Only wines of 90 and above will feature on future lists.
Currently, some 80% of the wines on the site are below £20 and a quarter below £10 a bottle. Hoskins explained: “The key factor is we feel that there is a big gap at the moment between the multiples, selling on price and discount for the most part, and the fine wine market and in between what is there? lots of independents but they’re not really strong on the web.
“There’s definitely a gap in the market for somebody to try hard to address what most of us in the trade regard as the value area, the £8-£25 a bottle mark. Plenty of people are trying to address that bracket but online I don’t think many are doing it that well.”
Although Hoskins said he, Abbott and Adams would be keen to bring in a wide ranging variety of wine, the most important issue to address was ease of use for the website, especially for consumers who may not be particular wine experts.
He said: “One thing that Wine Trust has addressed is to make a selection on the web easy – we only have 100 wines to start with. Some websites, particularly briliant ones from the likes of Berry Bros, are just a cornucopia of delights. That’s fine if you know wine but not if you don’t or are just looking for a nice wine to drink. We’re trying to make the buying of great value wine easy. Great value because they’re brilliant wine for their price.
“We’re not inventing the wheel but do think we’re different. We’re not an online library of wine, we offer a trustworthy array of wines.”
Every month, list will be updated. Anticipate 10 going off and 10 going on every month – usually because they will have run out, three cases of Mont Louis, will replace with something of a similar style – unless the next vitage happens to be absolutely brilliant.