Wine Clubs: To join or not to join
Going to vineyards in Maryland are such a treat. You are enjoying the sweeping views, the time with friends, and the wine…oh good the wine. When the tasting is over you are faced with the dilemma: how can I get this wine again? Do you join or not join wine clubs?
Maryland wines distribution are limited and not widely available in stores. You can purchase wine at the vineyard, vineyard’s website or wine festivals. But, those channels do not guarantee the wine you fell in love with is available. Vineyard wine clubs are a sure way to get what you love all the time.
What is a wine club?
It is a subscription to receive an allocation of wine on a regular basis. Your subscription is available monthly, quarterly or annually. Most clubs are quarterly. The allocation also varies from three bottles, six bottles (half of case) or a case. You have the options of having your wine mailed or you can pick it up at the vineyard.
What are the perks of joining?
The wine, of course. But there is more!
- Club members discounts. You receive a 10 – 15% discount on the wine. Often this is not limited to your club allocation but other wines you purchase. Some vineyards offer discounted tasting fees in addition.
- Preferred access to new or small batch releases. Vineyards will prepare a limited edition or small batches exclusively for their wine club.
- Special invitation to vineyard activities. Vineyards organize exclusive events for its members, like food and wine pairings, barrel tastings, harvest events, etc. These events are really fun. There is always a special treat at these events. The winemaker is at these events. You have an opportunity to chat with the winemaker and discuss the wines.
What to consider before you join?
- 3, 6 or 12 bottles? If you are new to a wine club, start with the smaller allocation. You can always adjust the allocation throughout the year. Consider sharing your allocation with a friend if you want to purchase a larger lot. Not only will share the allocation, you can share the cost and realize a greater savings.
- Cost? Most clubs are free to join. The cost generally starts around $100.00 for quarterly commitment. This does not include the shipping fees. Vineyards will request a credit card to keep on file, and notify you before charging your card.
- Commitment? You have the option to end your commitment at any time. However, you do not always have the option modify the frequency. The vineyards usually sets the frequency.
- Wine selection? Some places have a white wine only, red wine only, or mix wine list you select when you join. Once you select your preference the vineyards pre-select your allocation. Not to worry, most places allow you to switch wines if you change your mind.
In full disclosure, I belong to five wine clubs and will join more. I know, I know, it is a hazard of the job. It is a good decision to join a wine club. Start slow, and you will not be disappointed. I hope this helps you make your decision.
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