A Guide to Everything You Need to Know About Wine Clubs
A lot of people have been asking me where I buy my wine, and more specifically, what wine clubs I’m a part of. Rather than just repeating myself to everyone, I figured this would make a great topic for a blog post. Read on to learn what a wine club is, how to find the right wine club for you, and to see my personal recommendations!
First things first. What is a wine club? In general, a wine club is a regular shipment of wines from a particular winery or business. Members typically pay a regular fee (monthly, bi-monthly, etc) to be a part of the club. Wine clubs are offered by a multitude of wine businesses and come in many forms.
I would caution anyone early in their wine journey from joining a winery’s wine club, simply because it does tie you down and limit your options. Generally, I think it takes a person at least a couple years to learn their flavor profile when it comes to wine. For me personally, I love variety above all else, so I’ve yet to join to a winery’s wine club. But each person is different and where I enjoy variety, others might enjoy dependability. With that said, once you’ve found a winery that you love (especially if you also love the people running the winery), then by all means: join that wine club!
Local wine shops can also offer wine clubs. These are great if you’ve found a particular wine shop you love and you trust the merchant to provide wine you’ll enjoy. Wine clubs offered by wine shops are a perfect way to help your local wine merchant get to know your taste in wine while also giving you the opportunity to explore new styles of wine you might not always gravitate towards. If you’re in the Seattle area, check out wine club options from Portalis, Barrel Thief, and The Pantry! I’m not a member of any of the clubs currently (they’re on my wishlist for when my monthly wine budget increases), but I’ve purchased from all three spots and can vouch for great quality wine!
Outside of local wine shops, you also have small (or large) businesses that exist primarily as a wine club. These businesses were created with the primary goal of curating incredible boxes of wine to provide for their members. For a person like me, these are the perfect wine clubs to join! They provide variety and adventure, but I also can count on enjoying the wines if I know my tastes match with those of the business owner curating the boxes. Here are my two recommendations for wine clubs in this category:
Crunchy Red Fruit
This wine club is the next club on my list to join! I can’t speak personally for it, but there are plenty of people in the wine industry who speak very highly about her curated wine boxes. I will say that I’ve tasted many of the wines that made it into her past boxes, and I most definitely approve of them!
The person behind Kelly Selects, Kelly Mitchell, is a wine consultant and educator. She’s currently completing her WSET Level 3 Advanced Certification and has been named a “Rising Black Voice in Wine” by Wine & Spirits magazine. Her expertise is in food and wine pairing, so nearly all of her wine picks are food friendly as well as being approachable, and perfect for enjoying now. Her boxes are offered through the online retailer Wired for Wine.
This club is a great option for those not interested in a subscription, but still want a curated box of wine delivered to your door. Check out her Fall 6-Pack here.
And finally, you have the unique wine clubs. These wine clubs don’t quite fit into any of the other categories, but they certainly deserve mentioning!
Master the World
Master the World seeks to empower it’s members to explore new wines and determine for themselves what they like (and don’t like!) Along with the kit, you get full access to their online tasting evaluation grid and webinars with wine professionals. This is a great option for anyone looking to learn more about wine and develop their wine tasting skills. I’ve been a member of this club for a short time, but I’m highly pleased with the quality of wine and the enjoyment factor of blind tasting! Check them out at www.mtwwines.com.
Last Bottle isn’t a wine club per say…but I felt it deserved mentioning. If you enjoy fine wines, but don’t enjoy paying top dollar, this is the wine club for you. The company is run by three wine industry professionals with lots of connections in the wine world. They find incredible deals on delicious wine, and offer them to their clients at discounts of 30-70% off retail price.
Like I said before, they’re not actually a wine club, so there’s no subscription necessary. Simply sign up online and download their app. They offer a new deal each day until it sells out and ship it out to you right away!
There you have it! Are you a part of any wine clubs? How do you purchase your wines? Let me know in the comments below!