There’s not often an easy way to become an angel but I’ve been on the path for a few weeks and finally got my wings.
I really believe in buying locally and independently wherever possible. Buying the seasonal local specialities will generally yield a great result. Keeping the food miles low will result in a fresher, cheaper product. More importantly, the money you spend will stay in the local economy and benefit the community for years to come. For me – shopping locally makes me feel good because I feel I am contributing to something inherently good and I feel better afterwards.
This all sounds good until, living in Warwickshire, you have a cup of coffee or tea, or want a squeeze of lemon to add to a dish. You are not going to find a viable local alternative. You can still shop locally of course at your local greengrocer or independent convenience store. You can also take a different tack and look at Fairtrade to make sure you are benefitting somebody. In the same vein Naked Wines is a great example of how you can do more.
I buy wine through supermarkets typically. I like a bottle of wine but I’m no connoisseur. I know what I like and a pretty label is one of those things. In truth I buy what I am given and rely on price as some sort of indicator of quality – its virtually the opposite of everything else I buy – I hate spending more for packaging or paying an inflated price to a supermarket for something I can buy at a greengrocer.
I’ve bought online before through a couple of companies and enjoyed the experience but I still feel led by others.
With Naked Wines you have the opportunity to interact with the wine makers and try something a little different. As someone who works in an office environment I have a (probably) romantic and disproportionate regard for anyone who makes things. Bread, wine, and cheese are pretty much at the top of my respect list. I’ve written before about the story of the young Englishman who went to France to learn his cheese trade. Naked Wines is full of stories of budding winemakers crying out for the chance. The model is that Angel contributions of money are invested with winemakers who ask for help. They make interesting wines that they sell to the Angels at discounted prices…simple.
It’s all backed up by a quite sexy app which captures reviews and allows the winemakers themselves to interact with the Angels and comment on reviews.
The wine itself comes from around the world. In my first case I had an outstanding South African Chenin Blanc, various shades of Spanish Rioja and a couple of cracking Portuguese wines. The average bottle price before discount is £8-£10 which is at the upper end of what I would normally pay. The discounts bring the price down by a couple of pounds. Because the wines can’t be bought anywhere else I can’t really comment on the value for money but they are wines that you wouldn’t find similar in a supermarket.
I’m now into my second case and I’m very happy so far. You sign up, join a waiting list and have the chance to buy a case or two. Once you are signed up you give £20 a month which you can either buy wine with or withdraw. Its not a wine club in the traditional way. If you enjoy drinking wine and fancy something a bit more personal I’d recommend becoming an Angel. Oh…and for someone who likes pretty labels… how much nicer to have a label thanking me for being an Angel!