How to Choose a Wine Club
With the holidays approaching, a lot of people are hoping to buy wine club presents for their friends and family (or for themselves!). The present seems ideal - the recipient can learn about wine each month, the gift goes on for the entire year, and usually the price can be paid out monthly. What could be better?
There are a huge range of wine clubs out there - some offer starting wines for people just learning about wine, while others offer $100 selections of the finest wines available in the world. There are many clubs in between these two ends as well. How do you know which to choose?
Choose a Price Range
Probably the first thing you need to do is examine your budget. Would you rather just spend $20 or less a month on a single bottle, to learn about wines in an inexpensive manner? Do you have a bit more to spend? Decide what price range this wine purchase will fall within.
Choose a Wine Style
There are clubs on every type of wine under the sun. There are Californian-only wine clubs, red wine clubs, sweet wine clubs, port wine clubs. There are "all the best across the world," "the tiny wines you can't find anywhere else," and all sorts of other combinations.
What are your goals with this club? To learn more about a particular region? To have fun tasting exotic red wines you can't find in the store? Narrow down what kind of club would suit your needs best.
Examine your Options
You should have enough information now to be able to look through the clubs that meet your criteria, and see which best suits your needs. Here is a chart of the major clubs out there, with what they offer. Note that all wines in the table are sent monthly.
+ means shipping and handling is extra
$34/2||Quality wines from around the world; newsletter;|
ex: Tortoise Creek Syrah-Mourvedre
CA Wine Club||
$36/2||Small CA wineries not commercially available; newsletter;|
ex: White Oak Cellars, Somoma County
French Wine Club||
$22+/2||Various French wines; tasting notes|
Global Wine Club||
$32.95/2||Small wineries around the world|
ex: Cheetah Valley Chard from S Africa
Gold Medal Wine||
$26.75+/2||1 red & 1 white, mostly dry, can customize|
Passport Wine Club||
$35/2||CA, France, Italy, other main wine countries -|
ex: 93 Zaca Mesa Syrah 94 pts
The Wine Brokers||
$29.50+/2||Wines from around the world|
Things to Watch For
Make sure you understand all costs before you sign up. Ask about sign-up costs or any extra shipping costs. Find out if there is a minimum number of months you have to belong to the club, and what the cancellation and return policy is.
Also, see if you can find out how long the average member stays with the club. Do most members leave after a year? Are most members long-timers? Those figures will tell you how much the club tends to please its
Often, there can be many side benefits to belonging to a club, besides just getting to try great wines! For example, the CA Wine Club lets its members reorder favorites at up to 50% off retail. Other clubs noffer similar discounts.
Most of all, though, enjoy your wines! Sit back and wait for those wines to arrive at your home every month, and have fun exploring the world of wine!
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