The Right Wine Club for Every Drinker
The right wine club should make our lives easier and more interesting. We all wish there was a perfect little wine store just down the street, but most of us are buying our wine at a big box beverage depot or grocery store.
Sadly, our selection is limited to the wine portfolio of major national distributors. Alternatively, if you are new to wine and don’t have a friendly staff member to help you navigate the inventory, the options may be overwhelming.
This is why we need online wine clubs. These direct-to-consumer services are the best thing to happen in the internet age. You no longer have to brave the elements or your own inexperience to get your hands on a few bottles. Take the guesswork out of the equation and don’t bother changing out of your pajamas, these wines are curated and delivered to your door. Whether you are a total beginner or you are cornering the Court of Master Sommeliers, there is a subscription for you.
Club W - Direct from the vineyard to your doorstep
Why: In the wine industry, middlemen take a cut of whatever passes their threshold. With unavoidable checkpoints like wholesalers and retailers come extra costs that drive up the price you pay for wine. Club W removes the extra players and works with winemakers to develop custom Club W labels, shipped directly to you. Almost all of the bottles Club W offers are under $20 (before shipping) providing newbies an affordable entry point to subscription wines. If you have wine-loving Millennial in your life, this is a good place for them to explore. Log in and get access to members-only videos and recipes for pairing, if you prefer to wine and dine. clubw.com
Pricing: The basic monthly plan is four bottles for 52.00. You always have the option to trade up to higher priced wines.
Bottom line: Club W’s list of Tastemakers and their accompanying videos and resources work best for someone looking for a lifestyle brand at a low price.
Priority Wine Pass - Making Wine Tasting Affordable
Why: We all love tasting wine surrounded by vineyards and beautiful winery grounds. For years, this experience was free. The winery wanted you to taste the wine and then buy some to take home. This is changing. Wineries now charge up to $75.00 in Napa for a basic tasting. Add in a tour and the cost just goes up. The founders of priority wine pass want to keep wine tasting affordable. They saw the trends toward higher prices and decided to do something about it. They have negotiated discounted tasting, tours and wine purchases with over 175 wineries. These savings are passed along to Priority Pass members.
Cost: With the California Winery Advisor promotional rate, you pay 44.99 for one year of wine tasting discounts!
The bottom line: You will cover the cost of your pass after tasting at 1-3 wineries!
Plonk Wine Club - We do the picking and you do the drinking
Why: Plonk does the thinking for you. The experts at Plonk scour the wine world for affordable boutique wines. Sometimes it's just easier to let someone else do the leg work. Boutique wines by definition are hard to find. You can't walk down to the local market to grab a bottle. Plonk solves this problem by curating a selection of wines that focus on craft production, excellent pricing and a commitment to sustainable production.
You tell Plonk if you want your monthly selection to focus on all reds, all whites, mixed red and white or a specific varietal like Pinot Noir.
Pricing: The Red/White/Mixed option starts at 49.99 per month. The varietal clubs start at 64.95
Bottom line: If you are looking for an easy way to explore a number of boutique producers from all over the world, Plonk is your best option
Gold Medal Wine Club - The Best Wine Club on the Planet. Period.
Why: If you prefer a vino source that has withstood the test of time, try Gold Medal Wine Club. Since 1992, this company has used strict criteria to select their wines, delivering top choices to members. Instead of them trying to assess your palate, (which is how newer wine clubs determine your shipment), you choose which club of six you would like to join.
Pricing: There are options for every budget from Gold Club, two bottles for $37, to Diamond Club, two exclusive bottles for $165-195. Those looking to specialize will enjoy the Pinot Noir Club for $74 or the Garagiste Club for $75. goldmedalwineclub.com
Bottom line: Gold Medal Wine Club is a trusted source offering a level of membership suitable for everyone.
Why: We all love wine for different reasons -- the flavors, the social lubricant, the challenge of new styles. But wine doesn’t get made in a vacuum and the people who make it enrich our experience of it. Winestyr understands the value of storytelling. This company knows that you want tasting notes as much as you want know the why, when and where of how it came to be. Wines available through Winestyr are small production (1,000-10,000 cases per year), and high in quality. Many of these producers don’t have tasting rooms or the licenses required to ship out of state. They have only limited availability at select retail locations; Winestyr links you to them. winestyr.com
Cost: $75 for the mixed wine club and $99 for the red wine club. You get some extras with your first shipment like a customized corkscrew.
Bottom line: If you’re looking for the next great thing, Winestyr’s inventory of small and specialized winemakers will not disappoint.
Need some wine right away? You can always turn to Drizzly. Check here to see if they deliver in your area!