Disruptive Naked Wines

Online wine retailer Naked Wines has been named one of the most innovative, exciting and disruptive new businesses in the UK.

4-startups.jpgComing fourth out of a shortlist of 100 in the 2010 edition of Startups 100, the news comes as the retailer is about to sign up its 100,000th customer.

Startups is a business chart which identifies the UK’s most "inspiring, ground-breaking and disruptive" companies that shape the start up company market.

Speaking on behalf of the awards, Sara Rizk, editor of Startups.co.uk, said: "We’re incredibly proud to have Naked Wines on our list of the UK’s most innovative and dynamic businesses and look forward to watching its continued success.”

In the judging process of the awards, judges were said to be looking for businesses and entrepreneurs that demonstrated innovation, in concept or delivery; ability to disrupt existing market places; growth potential; strong management, bright thinkers, and finally, evidence of existing or future revenues."

Jane Parkinson, 06.09.2010

73 Responses to “Disruptive Naked Wines”

  1. Annie T says:

    You have to be a bit sceptical of some of these numbers. Naked Wines sell less than 200 different wines. Even Tesco have 600-700. And none of their wines are anything well known. It’s hard to believe that they would have 100,000 customers. Bought 100k email addresses perhaps … and you can see they spend a lot buying traffic.

  2. Malcolm Drane says:

    Hi annie

    I am proud to be one of Naked wines Archangels. To quote “You have to be sceptical of some of these numbers”. I don’t believe this is the case.

    Having purchased wine from Naked since their start up, I find the company a refreshing change to the normal online wine companies. How may other companies actively ask buyers to review the wines they have purchased? And if you look at the site on the front page there is a ticker tape style banner showing comments on who has brought what and when.

    There is an active group of members who help newbies in their choice of wines etc. And judging by the number of repeat customers naked must be doing something right.

    Also can you name another online wine company who gets the everyday wine drinkers to choose the wines which Naked have on the site. Yes it is limited at the moment, but give me this choice over some larger companies/supermarkets choice of wines.

    Malcolm drane


  3. Fran Krajewski says:

    Hi Annie, Fran here from Naked Wines. You’ve hit the nail on the head. Our wines are unknown… as that’s the whole point. We invest in independent winemakers (not currently in the UK), in return for delicious wines at preferential prices. So if it’s Blossom Hill or Wolf Blass you’re after, then hands up, Tesco’s the place to go. As for the 100K customers…it’s the result of just under two year’s hard-graft, late nights, pro-plus and most importantly, passionate winemakers – who would happily have a chat with you on the website if you’re keen to find out more??

  4. Steve Godley says:

    Hi Annie,

    As one of the 100,000 customers of Naked Wines, you’d better believe that that they are great AND growing…

    I’ve been a REGULAR customer of NW for morevthan a year without a single poor wine purchased. The rowan that I stayed with NW after trying Tesco’s, Laithwaites & Virgin Wines is because as customers we’re treated exceptionally.

    How many wine suppliers do you know who readily offer interaction between the winemaker and the people who drink their wines?? I have regular online exchanges with the guys who make the wines in France, South Africa and Chile.

    I’m also proud to support those up and coming winemakers…. A couple spring to mind immediately Bruwer Raats and Benjamin Darnault. Benjamin recently released a wonderful Minervois which the customers bought BEFORE it was bottled…. You can’t do that in Tesco!! We get a lot of pleasure out of helping these new guys out and in return we get access to some fantastic wines at bargain prices…. Something that I’ve never experienced before.

    As a regular contributorvto the tastings at NW and the feedback from my fellow wine lovers at NW, we also receive the occasional free bottle to taste and review BEFORE it goes on sale, now that is NW’s way of trusting us – the customer and I for one am chuffed to bits with being given that opportunity.

    So instead of making snide comments about “bought” email addresses…. Come and join us, try the wines that you can’t buy in Tesco, you may be pleasantly surprised at the great choice of wines which NW offer it’s customers.

    Steve Godley

  5. Steve Sutton says:

    Hi Anne, I think you hit the nail on the head – but not necessarily in the way you intended!

    I’m an avid wine drinker and have tried many (if not most 🙂 ) of the major ‘clubs’ and wine retailers. Naked Wines stands stands head and shoulders above the conventional retailers

    Their wine list is from small and typically unknown producers – but that’s the fun of it – at Tesco you don’t get the thrill of a genuinely new wine, with NW you can have that every week

    Their customer service is incredible, they create a truly engaging online experience with their customers and talking to their call centres is simply a refreshing experience with knowledgable and interested staff

    As for their 100,000th customer – doesn’t surprise me at all – give them a try and you’ll understand why they are achieving that milestone, I started with them about 6 months ago and now 90% of my spending on wine goes in their direction . . . my hat comes off to you Fran!


  6. Barry Wright says:

    I don’t know whether NW have 100,000 customers or not. Frankly, it is not important to me.

    Getting good wines at good prices is very important. Being able to rate and discuss wines with other customers is also important. Having the opportunity to communicate with winemakers, who tell us how their grapes are doing, suggest food matches, and generally educate is a real bonus. Developing a relationship with these folk is like having an extended family, to whit my asking and receiving feedback that they may have been shaken, but are unstirred by the NZ earthquake this week-end. Like others, my wine-buying is now predominantly from NW – through choice, not coercion, not duping, choice. I was recently fortunate enough to receive two bottles of wine courtesy of the winemaker for review. Were they good, no, they were fantastic! Did I buy some more when the opportunity arose, you bet. Are the winemakers happy to be able to get feedback direct from the customer, absolutely. Are they able to concentrate on what they do best, yes with support from customer’s like me who stump up money to enable them to realise their dreams in the case of start-ups, and through ongoing support to those more established.

    One of my favourite wines, an NZ SB, is made by a part-time dentist! I have recommended NW to friends and family without hesitation, as their customer service, is exemplary, oh and did I mention the wines are brilliant too. Please stick with Tesco, Laithwaite’s or whoever if that pleases you, it means less competition for bargain wines from NW for me, but try it for yourself and you might just be converted.

    An Archangel with Naked Wines

  7. Annie T says:

    Wow – seems like someone is a bit sensitive about poor little Annie questioning of their claims! The whole NW payroll appears to have come out in support … And such vitriol too! Forgive a sceptical observer of the food and drink space (for almost 20 years) but I think I know an inflated claim when I see one. “Archangel” Alana’s claim that 100,000 customers were acquired “not through bought lists but through word of mouth” is pretty comic. NW spent almost £2.2 million last year on ‘selling and distribution costs’ and a further £1.4 million on ‘Admin expenses’. NW also appears with a paid advert in almost every single wine query you could imagine on Google. That is a lot of paid for traffic. But anyway it is all interesting and worthy of further investigation. The most interesting thing of all is that on just £4.4 million of turnover last year NW managed to lose almost £3 million! Even First Quench would have been disappointed with that… I just hope the German owners have enough Euros to keep it afloat.

  8. Alana Inness says:

    Hi Annie,

    I’m also a big Naked Wines advocate. Relative newbie, having only been a customer since earlier this year, but now a total devotee! I’m shouting about NW to all my friends as the customer service is excellent and the wines, whilst perhaps unknown, are top notch. I’ve probably only tasted a fraction of what’s on offer but already I’ve found a few firm favourites – there’s an exceptional shiraz – so don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

    Knowing what I know about NW I can well believe they’ve attracted 100,000 customers – not through bought lists but through word of mouth because of their exceptional service and delicious and different wines.

    Come and have a look around; have a chat with the other customers and the wine producers – but beware, once you try it you won’t be going back to Tesco!

    Archangel for Naked Wines

  9. Steve Hamilton says:

    Hi Annie,

    The saying “Don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it” is very apt at this point. I’ve been a Naked Wines customer for a while now, and I’m a very, very satisfied one. There’s a reason why you’re getting response here, and it’s that they develop a high level of customer loyalty – because their service is first rate, and their range of wines include some to match any taste. Their response to feedback is fast. Finally, their prices are keen – and they deliver the next day, too!

    Satisfied Customer of Naked Wines.

  10. Ben says:


    Drink before you think,
    Imbibe before you describe,
    Sip before you nip,
    Binge before you whinge.

    Unknown wines? Yes they are because we buy them pretty much as soon as they go onlione and we like to keep this wonderful stuff to ourselves. However, in a fit of generosity, I invite you to join nakedwines.com and try that which you seem uncertain about. Once tried you will not be saying the same!

    I was one of the first joiners of NW back in December 2008 when there were only a few thousand of us. No mass joining, no e-mail invite. Just a bit of good PR with a voucher among so much other uninvited mail that comes near Christmastime in other parcels that have been ordered. Used it to buy a case out of curisoity and have never looked back. Never had a bottle I didn’t like and never had a nicer group of workers providing such superb service that no other online company can match. (I once had a case dropped by the shipper on Thursday that was meant for a party the next day. No questions about ‘sorry’ etc, one of the staff got in hos car in Norwich, drove to the warehouse in Nottingham, made up another case and delivered the case to my front door in Yorkshire by 7pm on the Friday. Dynamic? I’ll say so!

    While it is easy to use past experiences to knock new and innovative companies, in this case there is nothing to knock. Naked Wines have learnt from others mistakes, discovered exactly what their customers want and provide an excellent service.

    It amuses me to see much longer established online wine companies using strategies that NW started, used and then discared. Despite being a newcomer to the market, they are already a market leader in many ways. Long may it continue!

  11. Andrew McDonald-Bowyer says:

    It may be the case that Tesco sell larger numbers of wines but it would be fallacious to assume that all of these wines are of good or even superlative quality. One of the very attractive aspects of the Naked Wines operation is the support for emergent growers who are committed to wine quality that reflects the place in which the grapes are grown; originality and interest are key characteristics.

    Everyone in the wine world knows that the supermarkets are dominated by brands that belong to large organisations such as Constellation and Diageo. These large conglomerates flood the Market with mass produced wines where profits are guaranteed by providing wines that meet the requirements of an ‘international’ palate. In order to sell them at sub £5.00 they have to sell huge numbers and the only way they can do that is to offer wines that are made on an industrial scale – originality and interest are certainly not their key characteristics.

    On occasions I have asked questions about wine to Tesco employees and unfortunately have found them to be poorly informed and mostly unenthusiastic about the wine.

    I don’t know of any other wine merchant that allows the consumer to talk directly to the grower about their wines, and importantly the story of their wines. Naked Wines allows ordinary consumers in the UK to provide feedback on wines to winemakers in New Zealand, South Africa and elsewhere, and amazingly the winemakers respond to the comments.

    Who cares about 600-700 also ran wines. It is no surprise to me that Naked Wines customers exceed more than 100,000 anyone with any interest in wine wouldbe entranced by what they have to offer.

  12. Phil says:

    Annie, Annie, Annie, you obviously haven’t tried drinking wine Naked have you? ;D

    I’ve been with Naked for around a year and a half now and can honestly say I’ve never had a bad wine.

    In fact it’s fair to say that over that period I’d say I’ve been on a bit of a wine journey, so much so that in the words of James May “I’m scared that I’m becoming a bit of a wine ponce!”

    18 months I’d buck at buying a bottle of Wolf Blass for example unless it was on BOGOF, now if a friend turns up with something like that I politely accept it, hide it away and put in in a Bolognese…

    There is really something special about tasting something you know you’ve had a hand in creating even if it is only by financial support.
    I had the privilege of visiting the passionate winemaker Joost de Villebois and his family early this year as one of his sponsors. I tasted his earliest and latest creations, toured the vineyards and saw the vines that will eventually produce next years vintages, would you get that at Tesco?

    On a more serious note, you can clearly see for yourself by the comments above the sense of almost being part of NW and the community it has created. We talk to and help each other and get superb support from Naked to boot.

    To close I’d echo the sentiments of some of my friends and fellow Naked Wine customers above and no doubt below my comments. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. When you do, look me up I’ll put you onto some absolute crackers!!


  13. Craig Mackay says:

    I think it is very easy to believe they have over 100,000 customers, in fact I am only suprised that it is only 100,000. The wines Naked stock are superb and I have tried most, if not all of them.

    How silly to compare a National Supermarket Chain, which sells you everything from Houses to Mobile Phones with a delightful online farmers market of a wine supplier.

    I too am a highly satisfied customer, who tells all my highly satisfied clients about NW and they in turn pass the message on as well. I have disearning tastebuds and choose to exercise them wisely!!!

    Not sure why you feel the way you do, but I too would suggest you try them out and see what it is that got them 100,000 plus customers. you do not know what you are missing!!!

    Glad to be one of the 100,000 strong lovers of NW

  14. Donal Collins says:

    Annie you seem a bit sensitive about it seems a lot of people having a different opinion to you. NW, good service, good wines, good site to discuss the wines, I love it. I dont have access to their accounts, if they are losing £3million a year then they wont last long- which will be a huge dissapointment to me and others. Does it really matter if they have german owners?

  15. Mark J says:

    Annie T – please don’t accuse NW customers of being on the “NW payroll”! Apart from Fran (who openly stated that she’s from NW) the other posters, including myself, are SATISFIED CUSTOMERS. Why not try a NW bottle yourself and see what you’re missing out on? Or are you a fan of the club from Reading?

  16. Alana Inness says:

    Just to clarify, I have never been on NW’s payroll (unless you count the odd bottle of free wine or two I’ve received?).

    Nor did I say that they hadn’t bought lists – I have no idea whether they have or have not – I was just trying to say that I could see how they could gain 100,000 customers with buying lists.

    Not sure what crimes NW have committed by using online advertising or being German-owned (no idea if this is true as I have no idea who finances them, nor does it matter particularly to me)?

    I’m not sure it’s us who are sensitive, we’ve posted in support of NW as we’re satisfied customers (apart from Fran who openly stated she is “on the payroll”). I’m not sure why the claims of 100,000 customers (however gained) or how few wines they stock offends Annie so much?

  17. Kathy Parsons says:

    I feel very privileged to be a customer of Naked Wines. I have had the opportunity to try wines from hitherto “unknown” producers and in the year or so that I have been buying from NW I have found my fellow customers’ opinions and those of the staff a great guide as to what to buy. I have not had one bottle that I disliked. Through the network system I am in contact with many other wine lovers and more importantly I can also talk to the producers. I have even been lucky enough to meet some of them, thanks to the open communication system at NW.
    Finally, I believe that the reason there are so many customers already at Naked Wines is because they value and listen to us, and make us feel special. On that basis alone you cannot compare Naked Wines to Tesco!
    I take it, Annie T, you find the business model of NW some sort of threat?

  18. Guy Allison says:

    Annie T – I too am an advocate of the Naked Wine philosophy and keen to spread the word. I am not a member of staff but am keen to spread the Naked word. You raise many interesting points and my fellow Archangels have commented to a point I can’t really add to….. except for this. As customers we are all exceptionally happy, to the point we take it upon ourselves to get involved and champion the company that is providing us with what we like. The proof is in the pudding – let me know your e-mail address and I will get in touch to find out what you like; I’ll then send you a case if wine, out of my own pocket and see what you think. As I say, I’m not a staff member and this isn’t funded by Naked wines – no commitment on your part whatsoever apart from enjoying a case of superb wine. What have you got to lose?

  19. JW says:

    Wow what a great thread. The good people at NW’s PR company have been pretty active on here. But this is quite typical of the way NW’s people jump on any negative publicity. I have seen this before. I have nothing against NW whatsoever, but what I do object to is companies using PR to present a false image of themselves. I think the facts speak for themselves. NW claim their wines are all exclusive and made by small producers. This is not true. NW have even admitted that in a number of cases the wines they sell are [i]exactly[/i] the same juice being sold in massive bulk in the supermarkets. They claim to be a unique British start up, but their accounts make clearly that they are little more than a division of a massive European multinational company. They are not a ‘start up’ funded by the owners or by a VC fund. They are funded by a hige multinational wine company. nThey claim that their customers are acquired through ‘word of mouth’ and quality of service etc etc – but the marketing budget makes quite clear that they are actually just buying customers through aggressive voucher campaigns (like giving away Trainline discounts and the like). And finally they claim to be cutting out the “wholesaler” from the supply chain. This is particularly comic as they are actually part of the largest wholesale conglomerate in Europe (WIV Wien AG – who also own Hallgarten in the UK and have massive other wholesale assets in Germany, Italy and France). So please PR guys, lay off the spin. By all means be aggressive and do your thing – but stop trying to make out that you are something you are not.

  20. Graeme Monteath says:

    I have read the comments preceding this and all i would like to add is have you ever had a wine merchant contact you to inform you that a wine you purchased and had no complaint with failed their stringent quality checks and without any complaint whatsoever they reimbursed you the cost of the wine. Well NW did and as a wine drinker of over 30 years i have never encountered such excellent customer service.
    I am delighted that NW has reached 100,000 customers and i can assure you the quality of wine on offer will kep the majority loyal. Keep up the good work All the best Graeme.

  21. Jamie says:

    I must confess I have never bought from Naked Wines as I have never quite believed all the ‘customer reviews’ were genuine. This item kinda confirms my scepticism … all these ‘customers’ with no affiliation to Naked writing comments on an obscure news item on a 100% trade blog? It stretches credulity. But then Naked probably pay a lot for PR and they are entitled to defend themselves. But I was more concerned with JW’s comment that some of the Naked Wines are actually not small indepedents but large producers who sell the same stuff to supermarkets. That’s pretty scandalous if true – JW can you really substantiate that? Have they actually admitted to that?

  22. Steve Godley says:

    Wow Annie, I really had you pegged as being smart…. guess I got that wrong!! Seems to me that you’re a tad peeved by the fact that so many of NW’s customers have decided to comment on your post and set the record straight.

    So for the record…. I do NOT work for NW, I do NOT work for their PR company. I’m an Engineer (who also works for a German company). I’ve been a customer of NW’s for more than a year, I’ve purchased more than 250 bottles of wine from them in the time that I’ve been a customer…. and to be blunt with you, I’m CHUFFED TO BITS!!

    They offer great service, a great choice of wine and very reasonable costs. Plus I get a LOT of pleasure out of helping the “little guy” produce some great wines. I’m pleased that the wines that I purchase aren’t available in Tesco’s. I can bet that you won’t find people like Carlos Lucas, Phil Handford, Benoit Dreyer and Jock Harvey selling their wine in Tesco or some similar multinational chain.

    One of the main things that I like about NW is the social scene, where people actually interact on the forums for suggestions and wine recommendations. That’s why so many of us are responding to your post, because we have all seen the comments on our forum.

    So what if NW has an aggressive marketing style of £25 vouchers being issued?? That’s EXACTLY how I became a member more than a year ago… and guess what?? I’m still here as a member… that shows that NW are doing something VERY right…. because if they weren’t, I would be long gone, as Laithwaites and Virgin Wines found. They messed me around and I cancelled my membership. As customers we can be VERY choosy about the business that we place with NW, the fact that so many customers have been with NW for more than a year and are regularly purchasing more and more varied wines from them means that they are doing something right. Plus the fact that so many of the posts in response to your initial comment are from VERY satisfied customers should point you in the direction that we all ENJOY drinking the wines from NW…..

    Why don’t you post a comment about Virgin Wines or Laithwaites and see how many of their regular customers jump to their defence? We all did because we’re nothing to do with NW apart from really enjoying the wines…. and that’s what it’s all about… enjoyment of the wines, no pressure selling, no dodgy leftover stock, nothing to complain about except great service, great choice and a HUGE amount of pleasure. ;D

  23. Nathan says:

    Well it’s time to own up. I do work for Naked’s PR company and have spent the last few days making up people and posting on this site. To be honest it’s be quite a chore creating all these fictitious people including facebook pages, pictures, life stories etc etc.

    On reflection I suppose it was a bit of an over reaction to a couple of bitter and ill-informed numpties on a trade only website. No matter. Herr Rowan always pays me many millions of Euro’s in conning as many people as I can that the wine IS NOT IN FACT FROM SMALL WINEMAKERS but a job lot of blossom hill I got on the cheap. MHAAA! MHAAA! They will never know….

  24. Rowan Gormley says:

    Sigh…I repeat what i said to Annie
    – These are real customers. Try googling them
    – Our wines ARE made by independent winemakers – ask the winemaker, they are on the site (and google them if as well)
    – we do NOT have a PR company. So our PR expense is er….zero
    – and our customer reviews are genuine and unedited…take a good look and you will see plenty that are not complimentary

    Think about it this way…if what Annie and JW have to say is true, why are they anonymous?

    Rowan Gormley, Founder

    ps and yes, I really am who I say I am. Email me at rowan@nakedwines.com if you like.

  25. Rowan Gormley says:

    oh, and yes, we did get investment from a family owned german wine company, because
    – we invest in independent winemakers to get preferential prices, and we needed the cash to invest
    – we need customers. All companies do. Shock.
    – and having a big company behind us is a big help when other wine retailers try dirty tricks to cut off our suppliers


  26. Alana Inness says:

    Annie and JW – please do feel free to Google me, you’ll find my actual work profile (I’m a Consultant for an Human Resources and Organisational Change consultancy), my LinkedIn profile (you’ll note I’ve never been in PR), articles I have written for work (spot the e-learning paper), etc. Seems like an awful lot of trouble for a PR company to go to for so many individuals! So many customers have commented on a trade only website because the whole concept of NW is about social networking so one person posted the link on the Facebook page for NW (as well as on NW’s own forum) and we all following the link and wanted to share our experience. Nothing sinister!

  27. Sara McGrail says:

    Naken Wines – so sharp, they’ll cut you. Or your bank account. It works like this: you receive a voucher offering you a free case of wine. You go to the website and check it out. You buy said wine. You are asked if you want to get 33% of the cost of that wine back. You say yes. Said wine arrives. Its ok, but not great. You don’t really want anymore so you leave it. But something niggles away. You check your account and find that when you agreed to save 33% of the cost of you wine, you were actually in the VERY small print agreeing to pay them £20.00 a month. But this isn’t something which appears anywhere on your correspondence or your contract with them. And its not straightforward to cancel either. Like I say, its sharp. Mind if you play it right you can get a box of very cheap – though underwhelming – wine – and make no commitment whatsoever.

    • belinda coombes says:

      Terry – snap! couldn´t have put it better myself. I am pretty careful what I sign up to, but I was fooled too…..this is very sharp practice indeed.

  28. Rupert Willard says:

    I’m with the non-believers. Been with NW since Jan 2010. Underwhelming is the theme. My girlfriend doesn’t like the wines so insists we go to well known retailers. I have been meaning to cancel my £20 but kept forgetting, so I get a phone call from a wine advisor offering to help me spend my NW balance. I agreed, like a one-last-chance-moment, and he completely screwed the order up. They are resending. Once arrived I’ll taste some but if there’s not improvement in quality I will cancel. If I like the stuff I will let you know!

  29. margaret matthew says:

    I dont like being conned so I dont like naked wines. I was not aware I had signed up to £20.00 a month and feel really stupid that I fell for all the marketing hype.

  30. john hulton says:

    I was introduced to NW via Zopa where I am a lender. I signed up to an introductory offer and received 6 bottles of wine for just under £10. A month later I checked my bank statement and found a debit of £20 to NW which I had no knowledge about.
    This is very sharp practice in my opinion and will do this new venture no good at all if it wants to build a solid customer base and grow its business via recommendation of satisfied customers.
    I have emailed to recover my £20 and told them I will not be visiting again!

  31. D.Edwards says:

    I am another sucker who failed to see the £20 a month charge they cunningly let you to accept after the first order. They dress up the becoming an “angel” very well but certainly hide the charge. Sure the service and the wine is great but I object to the fact they are not clear and upfront on the charges.

  32. Ray says:

    I just found out, the same as Sara McGrail, that NW is actually, a bit of a ‘spiv’ set-up that does indeed entice you to apply for vouchered wine with 33% “Cashback” but, what they are actually doing is tricking you into signing up to a “standing order” via your credit card of £20 EVERY month!.
    I had a case and was lucky enough to get a credit card statement just a few days later which horrified me to note that they’d already taken another £20 from my card. I could’ve ended up paying this ad-infinitum without my even knowing about it. (God knows what’d happen if it had caused me “Interest charges” too!) Yes, Sara, they are a “sharp” practice to say the least, I feel.

  33. laurence says:

    Not very naked.. they don’t even show any ingredients of the wines.. only have 2 organics ones. SO how do you get a no GELETINE meat cleared wine on there.. You can’t.. go to cop-op instead.. they list all the crap that goes into the wine.

  34. Chenin_Blanc says:

    Naked Wines value their customers a lot. They really get what the customers wanted which is one of just the many reasons why I keep on coming back.

  35. ian says:

    Um. All very interesting. I also found to my surprise that I was paying £20 a month. No response when I queried this. The wines are ok but I reckon the discount just brings the price down to what it should be. Also note that they take the full price from your account, charging more if you are short, and then returning the discount to your account thus encouraging you to buy more.Can’t fault the service though.

  36. Allan says:

    Happy to say I read everything with the NW offer and signed up knowing there was a £20 per month charge that could be stopped at any time. The information is there to be read on the site and you can even choose the day your payment is taken so no sharp practice as far as I can see!

  37. jonathan says:

    When my fridge was delivered I was shocked to find it wasn’t full of lovely stuff like it was in the picture. Also, when I got the keys for my house I turned up and there was no flippin furniture in it. Everyones out to rip me off with their sharp practice!! Is it just me that signs up for something without understanding what it is????

  38. Mike says:

    I feel compelled to comment as this message board had moved away from the talking about the wine and focused on the monthly payment to NW. If you don’t want to pay then cancel (its easy). If you want great wine at half or less of the price you’d need to pay in a supermarket to get an equivalent wine then stay in NW. Every time I buy wine in the supermarket I remember I can get better wine at the same price (considering 33% rebate) or less from NW. If you doubt then buy some wine and then you’ll see….. Mike

  39. Andrew says:

    I am a real person. Sell granite worktops. Like wine. Not a wine snob. Not on any wine firm’s payroll. I like Naked Wines. Just great wines – have weaned me off Supermarket BOGOFs. Grow up.

  40. Jon says:

    This now comes up as number one link if you search “naked wine review” – which is why I am here. I just joined, received first delivery this morning (not opened them yet, so can’t comment on the quality, but I am under the impression that the £20 a month is not a payment, but goes into your account to be spent on wine – have I read it wrong and should cancel?

  41. richard knight says:

    As for the £20 a month, it really isn’t a ‘trick’ – yes it’s fine print but it’s all laid out on the website to read. If you sign up for ‘free money’ from a company and are then suprised there are conditions attached and don’t read those conditions then you are a bit stupid. It’s a bit like borrowing too much money and then complaining you can’t afford to pay it back.

  42. John Winstanley says:

    I was linked to Naked Wines from Amazon and I didn’t see the £20 monthly commitment.
    I looked at this thread and managed to cancel my membership, although you have to be a little careful what you press because the cancel process was confusing. I am unsure if I have lost £40?
    I’m really not happy that I ended up signed up to a £20 monthly commitment. If you come through from the Amazon site in my view it is not clear that this will occur. Personally after reviewing the website again it is still not clear to me if I should have been signed up to the commitment when making the purchase, and how the commitment works in relation to a one off purchase involving a voucher and purchase of wine – I’m sure there is something in the small print and I’m sure that others might view the website differently from me, but this should be clearly explained as part of the purchasing process – I assume its not because less people would make a purchase – Really really not happy guys – hands up if maybe not reading the conditions means I’m a bit stupid, but when I buy an apple from the supermarket I wouldn’t expect to have to buy an apple every month thereafter – and maybe the wines are great and the idea of having an account on the site is great – or not – but the whole process of buying from Naked Wines left me really annoyed.

  43. Finance Infor says:

    Hi Rowan,

    I love the idea of supporting suppliers and giving them a fair deal, I really hope that it is working for them. I also think the concept of retaining money and letting buyers choose wine rather than sending out unordered stock is a cracking idea.

    However I’ve got a couple of questions about finance, I really am interested in how this works, becuase the idea does sound very clever and if your company cleared up the ordering process so that it was much more clear about the £20 monthly commitment then I’m sure this would clear things up for a number of customers who have inadvertently become Angels.

    Could you just clarify how much do you spend on PR and marketing? I couldn’t find any information on that from your annual accounts. Your 2010 accounts are avaialble to download if you don’t have them from duedil. http://secure.duedil.com/#!/b/www.nakedwines.com/06672317

    Secondly before I commit to making a £20 monthly commitment that you hold on to for me, I just want to check that you’re company is in good health.

    According to that PDF document, in 2009 your organisation made a loss of £2,838,957 and in 2010 it made a loss of £861,362, this leaves you with retained profit at £-3,695,204 at the end of 2012. Now I understand that it takes a while to get a business up and going and your business has grown to having a turnover of 10 million so purhaps this is entirely normal and I admit I don’t know the mechanics of your business or how you have performed in 2011. However it appears that at the end of 2010 your organisation was in deficit by approximately 30% of its turnover and in a recession it may be hard to find finance if there is a rocky ride at any point.

    If customers invest £20 per month in naked wines what would happen to that money if your company went bust and how do you work out your turnover, debtors and liabillities figures? Does the stored money you have in the bank come under Total Current Liabilities (£5,870,870), Other Short Term Finance (£3,608,407) or Misc Current Liabilities (£2,262,463)?

    Thanks Rowan, I’m hoping that you’re making a profit in 2011 so that I don’t have to worry about how safe my money might be.

  44. John Winstanley says:


    To be fair to Naked Wines my wine has arrived on time in good nic and the delivery men were ace 😀



  45. Bruce Aiken says:

    I’ve been drinking wine for over 45 years. I’ve stood in supermarkets wondering what to buy. I’ve bought wine from specialist retailers who I always suspected were selling me their most profitable wines or maybe excess stock. I’ve belonged to wine clubs whose wines varied from inexpensve delights to expensive disasters.
    I joined NW within the last year or so, but have been absolutely delighted in all respects. My only problem is that my friends are getting fed up with me waxing lyrical and trying hard to convert them.
    I feel guilty that I don’t leave feedback, that I’m somehow letting the producers down. But after so many years of drinking wine, reading about wine and listening to wine experts, I have no idea how to simply describe the joy of some of NWs wines – not often you get someone who has spent a lifetime in advertising being lost for words!

  46. Angus McPhee says:

    I signed up to pay £20 a month, That’s about half what I’d spend on wine anyway, I thought it was very clear what I was doing. There’s no commitment to do that and I had to activly decide to do it. Are you people blindly clicking without reading? I don’t see how You could do That Accidentally, maybe the internet isn’t for you!

  47. Vivek says:

    After reading all of the above and doing more research with the help of google, I have decided NOT to use the £40 voucher that came with a delivery from Interflora. The aggression from the “Angels” helped me to make the decision.

  48. John Winstanley says:

    Hi Angus,

    No when I signed up (6th November 2011) to naked it was not clear, the £20 monthly was not on the voucher, in fact the voucher I used explicitly said that signing up to a wine club was not necessary (I had a hard copy from amazon and a virtual one also from amazon – I clicked through from the virtual one) and the purchasing process did not refer to £20 monthly commitment , at the time I did read the web site and since that time I have read the Terms and Conditions and they did not imply that the purchasing process would lead to a £20 monthly commitment as the Terms and Conditions separate the use of a voucher and the commitment to become an Angel.

    However the last time I checked on 3rd December (this issue really annoyed me), they may have changed their marketing recently, some of their vouchers do now mention the £20 commitment (from my greener homes) and their website is significantly clearer and although not perfect it does now talk about the £20

    So no I don’t think its a case of blind clicking, and I don’t think people who have been caught out should avoid the internet, I think its a case that Naked’s marketing material needed some adjustment, there are alot of complaints (search google) about this issue.

    The wines were in my opinion were actually pritty good – thought 8 out of 12 were great and 4 were just ok.

    Vivek do use the voucher, its a good buy, just make sure you log back into the site and ensure that your not signed up to being an Angel and yes they probably will send you a few emails (I found those emails annoying and dismissive of my complaints), but again you can limit that a bit by logging into the site and unpicking all the boxes about you being contacted by them.



  49. John Winstanley says:

    Hello There,

    As a follow up to this maybe someone from Naked could confirm if the marketing materials (website, vouchers, on-line vouchers and the purchasing process) have been updated or confirm if there has been an inconsistency in presentation depending upon where the voucher comes from because some people who clearly did not intend to sign up to £20, ended up getting signed up, whilst others feel that the process was clear. It would be nice to hear from the company.

    Angus when you say you ‘actively decided’ to sign up to the £20 monthly commitment, I believe you, but what were you asked to confirm exactly, or do you mean that when you sent to the website you went through the new screens that tells you how the process works, I’ve been through those screens and the £20 should be in a bigger font but I agreed that that is now much clearer, however did you have to tick a box, or click a button during your purchasing process to agree to the £20 monthly commitment?



  50. Geoff Pedlar says:

    I am speaking as a “not yet a customer”, having received a voucher via a magazine.

    I NEVER trust an on-line company that does not show its physical address !! Nothing to do with the products and service, just simply “will I get my stuff or is it a scam”, and where do I go to beat somebody over the head (metaphorically) if I get the stuff and it turns out to be rubbish.

    Oh and its now a legal requirement on web-sites, along with VAT number etc !

    And no a phone number isn’t good enough, it could now be received anywhere in the world (try “boiler houses”). And no of course I’m not going to open an account to find out !!

  51. John Walsh says:

    I don’t get Naked Wines.

    The wines are really bad, thin, alcoholic, completely lacking in originality and often with no sense of place. They’re expensive (especially if you’re not an angel) and on top of that, you’re tied in with minimum £20 a month commitment which is hidden away until the first of the month when you see it on your statement.

    Why is this company still going? I am amazed so many people continue to buy from them. These are clearly €2 wines, anyone with any tasting experience can tell this is absolute dross wine. If you want to pay £10.99 for wine per bottle, it should at least have some balance and express a sense of place?

    Lastly, they are not even supporting “small” winemakers, some of the producers on there are huge wineries. I’m amazed at the success, all I can imagine is you are all too lazy to cancel your automatic payments. Please, go educate yourself about wine, try a £10.99 bottle from the wine society and really analyse what you are getting for your money, if you’re that hooked on sugar, buy a £9.99 bottle and a couple of Mars Bars to go with it.

  52. Louise says:

    I’ve just used a £40 voucher that I received following an Amazon delivery, and signed up to the £20 a month.
    1) Good marketing – it was my choice to use the voucher (no one from NW held a gun against my head)
    2) Geez, before handing over any money be sure to read all the info that is clearly available on the website. If you are still skeptical, then research some more to get a more rounded opinion.

    As for how much the company spends on marketing, why do you really need to know? Marketing in all forms (bought or not) is how business works. Look at Amazon… they are everywhere and very successful. A business is only charged for paid ads if a user clicks on the ad – therefore if you don’t want to be sucked into their paid marketing, then simply don’t click.

    I’m looking forward to receiving my 1st delivery. If we are not happy with the service, quality of wine or £20 debit – I will cancel. But at least I can form an opinion once I have experienced the product.

  53. Les says:


    Sounds to me like a lot of the people that post here might have a connection to Naked Wines that stretches further than just an account. Makes sense to me after all if I ran such a business I would constantly trawl the net for negative posts and flood any I found with positive ones.

    Heres my experience with Naked wines, if you want any discounts you have to sign up to make regular payments.
    If you have stored up some cashback in your account they will take it back off you if you should dare to cancel your account.
    The wines are mediocre at the best and you will find a far better selection at much better prices in your local supermarket.

    They sell thier wines with the “supporting independant winemakers” slogan but independant of who or what?
    Are they not just getting some wine makers to label up and ship out huge batches of cheap plonk to pass on to the guilible masses?
    I think perhaps so.

  54. mark says:

    I have tried many wines from NW and I have never had a bad one. A couple I don’t like but we don’t all have the same tastes.

    I think the £20 pcm charge is clear if you bother reading what you are signing up to but I have some gripes

    1. What is independent about a wine grower? I guess they aren’t owned by a multinational drinks company but they can still be industrial scale – in fact they need to be to get volume and keep the price per bottle reasonable

    2. I don’t think the wines themselves are value for money without the angel discounts. I can buy cracking wines in majestic or Waitrose at lower prices than the full prices on NW wines. With the discount, the pricing is OK. Looks like to get a reasonable price you have to be drawn in to the NW Brand and pay the £20/month. No problem for me either way but I don’t think you are getting special value

    Interesting the guy comes from Virgin. Virgin made a lot of money by being “for the little guy” and getting you the value the big conglomerates wouldn’t provide. They have been a triumph of branding over content and NW seems to have follwed that lead

    I will stick with Oddbins/Teco/majestic/aitrose etc. No need to pay them £20/month to get a reasonable price

  55. £20 says:

    The £20 commitment should be a clear and prominent part of the advertisement I’ve got vounchers that don’t even talk about the £20 monthly commitment.

    Come on Naked make it really clear.

  56. Terry McGarry says:

    I am another who has been conned by Naked Wines into £20 per month debit unwittingly.

    When complained I was sent a pro forma reply which indicates to me that my complaint is very common!


    Terry McGarry

  57. d a burcombe says:

    I am a very sceptical Yorkshireman and was, at first, highly suspicious. Time told, however, and in spite of looking for flaws, I’ve not been able to find any, in over a year. There may be only 200 different wines from which to chose (how many wines can one drink, for heaven’s sake,) but they are fantastic and honestly made by people who care, if anything, too passioately. Go to Tesco’s, even M&S and pick a wine at random and see what you get! I used to run a small wine society and buy wines with pedigree at auction and know about wine. The service NW offers is unparrarelled; once I phoned up to query something about a wine I had just opened (and tried to drink without letting it breath, if the truth be told.) I didn’t ring to complain, but, before the words were out of my mouth, the money for that bottle had been put back in my a/c. Actually, I don’t want too many other people to get in to this, because it’s a model which is best at this sort of size and I like it just as it is, but I’m a realist and look forward to seeing the changes over the months ahead. David, now of Norwich

  58. Viv says:

    Thanks to all for the comments here, I was about to sign up for Naked Wine, when I thought I would carry out a quick google check on them first, before handing over my bank details.

    I am so glad I did. What has put me off is not the number of people who say they are not happy with NW, but the number of supposed customers who, within hours, if not minutes, of Annie’s original comment rushed to slate her comments. How did all these customers get to hear of Annie’s comments so quickly? Either it is an amazing and unprecedented coincidence, or it is fake.
    I think I will try a more straightforward wine club.

  59. Sue Hill says:

    I’ve just encountered pretty poor customer service from Naked Wines I’m afraid.

  60. Karen McKinlay says:

    I have also encountered pretty poor customer service – strangely enough whilst trying to place an order with a voucher and thus not paying full price for their case. The person I spoke to insinuated I was lying or going mad – not my idea of trying to encourage customers to stay. Maybe it’s because I didn’t sign up for the £20/month?

  61. Lynn says:

    What I though was odd was that in ‘Steve Godley’s’ response the work ‘rowan’ was used (instead of ‘reason’). Looks like a Freudian slip.

  62. Duncan Craig says:

    I should start by saying I’m a ‘real’ person with no connection to NW other than being a customer. Here’s my take, good and bad. On the bad, I was one of those (as was the friend who recommended NW to me) that ended up an angel inadvertantly after buying an Amazon case – it just happened automatically. When I raised this they were good in that they delayed angel status to see whether I wanted to go ahead (I did) but I never got an explanation as to how this happened in the first case. I also share the view that blog sites, including their own, where negative comments appear are jumped on by NW employees (openly stated) which feels a bit sinister. On the good, I think the wines are terrific and the prices for what you get competitive, the delivery service is excellent, the refund system if required is highly impressive, I really like the feeling of contact with the winemakers and the whole operation feels fresh and innovative. Overall for me, the good heavily outweighs the bad. Just one suggestion – it would be good if customers could have some sort of personal diary of what they thought of the wines rather than an open blog for those of us that are shy about our opinions and just want to keep a record of what we particularly liked and why.

  63. Jim says:

    Its all a scam! I had an email saying I had £40 sitting my account but after talking to Sharni Poyntz at NW(who had no manager for a week to speak to so she said) apparantly i didnt even though she read through the email word for word! this firm could go bust at any time….. Put money aside by all means but into an account of your own!! Not someone else’s!!!! Then you can spend it anywhere you want! Not to a dubious online firm… Don’t you people get it?? If NW had honoured its £40 voucher I would have stayed but saw the light in time! Also don’t leave a young girl to try and explain your small print without a supervisor NW….ROWAN. People out there you have a vast choice of wine outlets, use them! NW if you send me an email saying in bold print that I have £40 in my account then honour it!! You have been warned people…

  64. Sam says:

    I received a voucher for £40.00 and have just redeemed it. I am very dissapointed with the Naked Wine policy of having one price for those with a voucher and another for non voucher clients called Angels. I have ended up paying £54.00 more for a case of wine with a voucher !! How can this be fair. Unfortunatly I had already paid £60.00 into the pot so I just want something for my money. I have now stopped all subs and will never deal with this company ever again. Its dishonest selling !! Beware folks, these vouchers are worse than usless and its a scam. Tesco is a far better option.

  65. James Wilkie says:

    Well it would seem that some of these negative comments are starting to get reflected in the business performance of NW. The recently released 2011 financials are pretty horrendous. Revenue increased a lot for 2011 vs 2010 but gross margin collapsed from 26% to 22% and the net loss ballooned from £861k to over £1.6 million. If I was one of the people with the £1.3 million on deposit with NW I would be extremely concerned about the security. The company is heading for the buffers based on these numbers.

  66. john jones says:

    I posted a comment about NW on a similar site and quickly got into a tete a tete with Rowan himself! Clearly their staff do read these things then even if they don’t post replies under ficticious names. I have nothing against them retailing wine – good luck to them. They appear to have some satisfied customers. My gripe is all the misleading advertising blurb. They tell their “Angels” they invest their money (£20 a month) in winemakers. But surely this money is a balance in the angel’s account which they actually spend on wine? Am I wrong here? If they spend it on wine how can it be invested in wine ventures around the world? Or is this where their cumulative loss of £5.5 million has gone? Perhaps an Angel would be kind enough to post a reply to clear this up because I’m confused. And if any of the 100,000 of them would like to invest £20 a month with me I’d be thrilled! I’d invest it in a new Aston Martin which they could hire from me for a day at a competitive price. A very clever strategy, perhaps very necessary too given the losses they seem to make!

  67. Godfrey Smallbottom says:

    Interesting how there was a flurry of supportive comments at the start now nothing. Does seem a bit suspicious. Or maybe they were all genuine and are now put off by the replies to their comments…
    Who knows.

    NW does seem a bit like a DotCom company and that didn’t end well, but good luck to them – this country could do with some new business models.

  68. Mike wear says:

    The whole point is unheard of wines..so much better for it..if you prefer to pay the marketing man go to the supermarket and enjoy the extensive choice!!!!!!! I think not. Long live naked wines

  69. Kellie Heatherly says:

    My problem with NW is not the $40 a month. That was pretty clear, at least to me. My problem is with the deceptive “pricing”. A lot of these wines are “exclusive” to NW and therefore it is hard to find out their actual retail value. But comparable wines are just not as pricy as their “retail”. And the ones I have been able to find at other retailers? They have all been at or even BELOW their alleged “discounted” prices. So the “retail” prices they are claiming are just plain BULL. These are NOT discounts. And if you aren’t doing their “angel” pricing, you are just being ripped off. If you want to pay extra for the privilege of talking about this mediocre $8.99 wine, then go for it. And you can’t just buy a bottle or two, you have to buy cases. I have also noticed that on any forum where NW comes up, IMMEDIATELY there are all these “customers” to vehemently defend it. I mean, come on….

  70. John E says:

    I’m a UK customer of NW and subscribed to their Fine Wine bond. I don’t buy wines from supermarkets except for the occasional bottle from Waitrose because their pricing games and tricks make it too time consuming to work out whether you are paying the real price. It seems all we care about is the size of the discount.
    I buy 50/50 from the Wine Society and Naked. The Wine Society is my No. 1 tip, but Naked is ahead of the rest of the pack. I have no complaint at all about their service. I did make an adverse comment about one wine online and got a detailed response from the wine maker which impressed me. I had another bottle where the closure was not properly crimped, and it was replaced immediately.
    And I have no connection with Naked beyond being a happy punter. I am a real person and not a creation of a PR agency.

  71. colton says:

    I purchased a case of randoms from naked wines. 9 wines in total. I agreed to be an angel in waiting; excited for the opportunity to get great wines at even greater prices and a regular basis. I was not happy, whatsoever.
    first of all, naked wines isn’t even that cheap. They place their wines around $30-50 and then give angels a “discount”. Making it usually around $15. That still fairly expensive, being that’s the low end.
    I was highly unsatisfied with all the wines I received with the exception of one. Some wines were over-oaked, while others were just plain over-fortified. Needless to say I took my name of their waiting list and will never buy from their again. Although, like I had mentioned earlier, there was one wine. Out of my shipment of nine bottles there was one that was truly exceptional. It was a pinot noir from Semilla. The Jarvis-Tomeii family. I highly recommend it, and I might in fact still continue to purchase that one wine.

  72. Geo says:

    I was going to buy some wines from NW as I have got £60 voucher. I have worked about 3 hours to choose wines from NW website and found that they are quite expensive. Also £20 per month to become an angel is even too much. One has to drink irresponsibly to make it a value for money investment! My conclusion is good wines can be found in every good shop, provided you should know about wine to choose a good one. Also it depends on ones palate too. If the wine is not good or ruined one can get their money back too very easily. (e.g Ocado and Waitrose). So I have decided not to buy from NW. I stick with my regular supplier Ocado. Quality wines cheaper than NW. Quality wines are everywhere, not NW’s monopoly.

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