The Society of Vintners is a group of about 25 wine merchants located in the UK. They are family owned businesses that have banded together with similar interests and business goals. They bargain for better rates with suppliers and vendors.
The group began when five Nottingham Wine Merchants met and formed the Nottingham Wine Buying Group during the 1970’s. In the 1960’s another group in North London formed called the Allied Wine Buyers Consortium that grew to 25 members located in South England and the Midlands. Eventually the two groups joined each other.
They deal with shipping and making deals with major suppliers that provide wine to merchants. The Society of Vintners has an chief executive working from Sussex. They devote time to different wine producing regions like Chablis, Rhone, and Champagne. Their committee meets for tastings and reviews of purchasing about 4 times a year.
They sample wines from different regions and take recommendations from the group. Most often the Society puts its weight behind the groups decisions. The Society of Vintners puts its focus on quality rather than price when it makes decisions about wine. They look for quality and service in their suppliers.
The Society of Vintners often take trips to meet with their wine suppliers. Members benefit from the ability of the group to bargain and keep overhead low. To be a member a wine merchant must contribute to the product mix. The benefit is that wine merchants in the UK can talk and discuss business with each other several times a year. Its a chance to get new ideas for sales and marketing.
Wine merchants can get advice on buying from computers to supplies. Merchants have benefited with the increasing purchase of table wine in the UK. Often those that buy the most wine buy abroad. Cross border shopping account for about 8% of purchases for wine merchants. This is legal trade and has great value to the wine industry in the UK.
When the single European market was introduced the amount of wine purchased in the UK increased. The Society helps with the purchase of new products and the time it takes to get them in the store. They have found growth areas for wine are Australia, New Zealand and Argentina.
The Society of Vintners offers wines from all over the world and enjoys a market where consumers in the UK buy a variety of wine products and are willing to try something new.