Wine clubs are curious things. You might love a particular wine so they give you a 20% discount, they’ll ship wine to you and offer complementary tastings while visiting (including tasting of your current visit.)
Does it make sense to buy overpriced wine, have it shipped in a hot truck and you have no choice of which California Bottle of Wine you receive?
Winery club shipments are generally free to join (though tasting fees were complimentary once upon a time so we’re awaiting a time when fees are charged for joining.)
CBW’s 8 Problems Wine Clubs Should Fix:
✰ Some clubs ship quarterly (too many shipment & shipped during warm months)
✰ Some clubs offer no options (you may love one of the wines but are shipped your loved bottle amongst many others that may not be your favorites.)
✰ Some clubs dump poor selling wine in their club shipments.
✰ Some clubs dump premium bottles in the club shipments to escalate the ‘value’ of the shipment and you might not like them.
✰ Some clubs don’t insulate their packaging. Your wine is bouncing around in the back of a hot delivery truck.
✰ Shipments of alcohol require a signature (somebody has to sign to receive.)
✰ Shipments generally occur in the afternoon, but you still have to be there in the morning, just in case (Ok, we know wineries cannot fix this.)
✰ Some clubs charge you for wine pick up parties (one local winery here charges $65 per person to participate, $130 per couple, so you can pick up your $300 purchase.)
CBW’s 10 Reasons to Join a Club
✰ Some clubs ship six bottles twice a year (spring and winter) so the wine is not bouncing around in the hot truck in August or July.
✰ Some clubs allow you to specify shipper (FedEx, UPS or other ground carriers.)
✰ Most clubs throw free pick up parties at their winery.
✰ Some clubs throw free pick up parties in your city (Cass Winery has parties around the country.)
✰ Some clubs let you specify white only, white and red of just red only.
✰ You receive great wine at your doorstep.
✰ Some clubs give prizes, hotel stays and bottles of wine at their pick up parties.
✰ Some clubs include branded tchotchkes with their wine shipments (coasters, T-shirts, wine coolers.)
✰ Complementary tastings at the wineries and your guests (and sister wineries.)
✰ Some clubs’ discount their wine and accessories (hats, clothes, sweatshirts, you name it)
We’ll shortly post guidelines for choosing a wine club that fits your needs.
Some notes on our wine ranking system.
Bill & Erin Hodge write about California Wine, the estates & winemakers producing them and educational information about Vino. Living in California Wine Country provides a front row seat to the places you want to visit the most here in the Golden State.
– -✰ means -What’s next on your list of wines
-✰ means -Not liking it too much
✰ means -We’ll drink this wine, especially if it’s hosted!
✰+ means -You’ve got our attention and we might buy this wine.
✰+ + means -We’re hooked and we’re going to buy this wine.
When you see -✰/✰+ with a slash, it means we disagree.