How we make our wine selection

It's a tough gig, but someone's got to do it!  

Each week, our tasting panel is filled to the brim with wines from all across the globe, but to make The Wine Collective list, you’ve got to be offering up something special. In our quest for wine perfection, in every selection, no stone is left unturned and it is for this very reason that only a handful ever make the cut (and that this handful is so special). 


We interviewed our Head Wine Buyer - Mark Pollard to ask him questions our customers have asked recently to better understand how The Wine Collective chooses wines: 


Q. How do you choose wines?

We select wines based on market demands and customer feedback. Our team of wine buyers request small samples from winemakers or local trade distributors and our tasting panel selects the best of the bunch (pardon the pun).

The tasting panel tastes either once or twice every week to ensure we are listening to your feedback, and always releasing access to new wines. The wines we select have to reach a minimum of 90 points from the panel's combined scores before they will even be shortlisted for purchase (and we are a tough scoring bunch!).


Q. Who is on the panel and why should I trust them?

Our tasting panel is currently a team of three, all WSET trained (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) at Level 2 or higher. We have well over 30 years of wine-tasting & wine buying experience throughout the team and are lucky enough to even have a qualified Sommelier on the team!


Q. What are the main things you are looking for in an exceptional wine?

That is a trickier question to answer as everyone’s experience with wine differs, however, for us there are some absolutely important elements to look out for. Wine is all about awakening the senses where aroma, taste & colour lead the way.

The vibrancy of colour, intensity of flavour and diversity of aromas all create a great wine that envelopes the senses. There are other aspects such as balance, where we look to see if all the parts of the wine like acid, tannin, sweetness and alcohol are in harmony. You also often look for the 'weight' of the wine on the palate and the length of the palate.


Q. What about the price of the wine? Does that play a part?

Value for money is a big one for us. The quality-to-price ratio; the more bang for your buck, or the more a wine outperforms its class, the higher the score. We also look at things like cellarability or drinkability. Is it a wine for tonight? Or is it something to lay down for life’s future moments.


Q. Anything else that catches your attention? 

Our mantra is to support the small to medium wineries of Australia, and to unlock the hidden gems (that only come in small packages), so we also assess each wine on how big the production is, how tightly allocated it is, or how widely available in the market it currently is.

However, this doesn’t just mean, the more scarce, the higher it scores, as it's a little more complicated! Scarcity is about production. The boutique-ness of the wine, where a wine's production is defined by the size of say a ‘single vineyard’ that gives the bottles its uniqueness. 

Finally - it’s the x-factor of a wine. It’s the undefinable feeling that elevates an everyday wine into something unique and special. It’s not just entirely related to the aromas and taste either…

We also wanted to assess what was unique or stood out about the wine, the packaging, the brand, the region, the place, the people behind it, the ratings, and the demand vs supply.

X factor to us can be summed up simply: if you took this wine out to a dinner party, and poured it for your colleagues and friends, how much excitement and conversation would it lead to?

If it’s the star of the night, then that's scoring 5 stars for us.


View some of our Top Critic Rated wines