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The Wine Society marks 150 years with new ranges

Published:  21 December, 2023

The world’s oldest wine club, The Wine Society, has announced a calendar of celebrations in 2024 to mark its 150th anniversary.

Founded on 4 August 1874 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, The Wine Society was created and still operates as a co-operative with each member being the owner of one share.

Next year, those members will be granted exclusive access to two new wine ranges, launched by The Society to commemorate its landmark birthday. 

The first is the Generation Series, led by wine buyer Matthew Horsely and inspired by copies of the society’s original lists, dating back to 1880. For each quarter of the 150th year, a new release of wines will be available, sourced to reflect 50 years of The Society’s history.

Horsley said: “Back in early 2020, I started pouring over old Lists to find the wines, styles, regions and producers that dominated and defined each 50-year-period of the society, immersing myself in what members of the time would have enjoyed, before putting together a shopping list and letting our team of buyers loose. 

“Each wine has been handcrafted with some of our longest-standing suppliers and some newer relationships, each with a thread in the rich tapestry of The Wine Society.”

To appeal to as broad a spectrum as possible, all wines have been sourced to be under £20 and are ready to drink now.

The first release, comprising 11 wines will be available from 10 January 2024, reflecting the styles of wines popular between 1874-1924. In March the next selection of wines will reflect the 50 years thereafter, and so on. 

In September, the final tranche of Generation Series wines will be made available, looking to what the future may hold in the next fifty years.

The second range of wines is the Anniversary Series, for which sourcing commenced a decade ago to ensure the wines would be aged and ready to release in 2024.

Led by wine buyer Sarah Knowles MW, she said: “The collection features some first-time collaborations between producers, as well as one-off bottlings. The wines reflect the very best fine wine styles across the world today, chosen for their ability to mature and improve with bottle age. We don’t want the wines to break the bank either, so have purposefully selected more accessible styles of fine wine, for example, Ridge’s Zinfandel, rather than Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Chianti Classico from Fontodi instead of a Gran Selezione.”

She continued: “The society is well placed to be able to secure top cuvées from a strong and loyal set of suppliers who were delighted to have been asked to provide special bottles for our members to enjoy and celebrate with.”

As well as the aforementioned new releases, the society has scheduled its biggest-ever programme of tastings exhibitions and events to commemorate the anniversary. More than 20,000 tickets to events across the country have been made available and 70% of these have already sold out.

For more information on the society's 150th celebrations, including its new Climate & Nature Programme, click here.