The Wine Society exceeds £100 million in turnover

With an active membership of over 140,000 people, The Wine Society has achieved a turnover in excess of £100 million for the first time.

The 2018/19 financial year was a particularly tough time for drinks retail sales in the UK, with consumption per head decreasing. Against this backdrop, The Wine Society managed to increase its sales by 3%.

Chairman Sarah Evans believes the not-for-profit firm’s business model of selling interesting quality wines at the best possible prices to its members has helped it succeed in a turbulent financial climate.

“This way of working, whether you call it mutual or co-operative – we do both, really is at the heart of the way we do things here,” she said.

Chairman of The Wine Society, Sarah Evans

“We are often told that we are a ‘best kept secret’. We used to be proud of that, but in today’s fast-pace competitive world, a best kept secret is a recipe for disaster.

“Instead, we want to be loud and proud of what we are, to shout about what makes us special and unique, and to champion the joy of good wine,” she added.

Chief executive Steve Finlan believes the two core values that have helped The Society flourish, and will sustain it going forward, are authenticity and trust.

“Mutuality is many things, but authenticity and trust are the two qualities I would pick out. It is this authenticity and trust that, with the support of the members, will carry us through the next 145 years,” he said.

Among the ways The Wine Society does things differently is by investing its profits back into fairer prices and better services for members.

“We’re able to vouch for every single wine we ship and our reputation for paying growers on time and negotiating fair prices for our members and suppliers means we are regarded with the utmost respect by the international wine trade,” said head of buying, Pierre Mansour.

Rather than selling to restaurants and merchants, the Society only sells wine to its members, who are all allowed to own a maximum of one share each in the company. 

“The Wine Society has become the finest example of a business in the 21st century that can succeed based on respect and valuing longer-term relationships,” said Australian winemaker Mac Forbes, who makes the Blind Spot range exclusively for The Wine Society.

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