Online Wine Clubs
I have a confession: I LOVE wine shops. I visit wine shops for fun. It’s not a casual love. Going to fine wine shops for me is like a shopaholic going to Neiman Marcus. I love strolling down the aisles, reading wine labels, discovering new varietals, and taking advantage of weekly wine tastings. Part of the fun is the hunt for new and interesting wines. Engaging all my senses; see, smell, touch and taste heightened my experience. Traversing the wine shop aisles was my only mode of discovery. Skepticism prevented me from trying shopping for wine online. I did not think you could have the same experience. I was wrong. Online wine clubs are an exciting way to appreciate wines and great gifts to share with others. Wine clubs no longer randomly select wines for you. It is a personalize experience.
Single Serving – Wine by the glass
VINEBOX was my first plunge into the wine clubs’ membership universe. Recently, I purchased the Twelve Nights of Wine. The Twelve Nights of Wine is VINEBOX version of the Wine Advent calendar. I was pleasantly surprised. The wine was presented in a beautifully decorated box. The decorated box contains 12 sexy glass tubes. Each tube is single serving (3.3 ounces). A closed nitrogen system is used to bottle each tube, preserving the wine up to three years. Beyond the sleek packaging, the quality of wines is exceptional. The wines were interesting and multi-dimensional. My inventory was dry European wines, from France and Italy. White and red wines from popular regions, such as Medoc, Brouilly, and Sicily, were among the selections.
VINEBOX is the perfect sample gift. You do not commit to a bottle of wine. This is great for the person who likes to try a little of this and a little of that. You can choose between two sample boxes. The original VINEBOX has nine wine tubes. They have a new brand called the Usual. It is “a large glass of real wine, in a bottle”. It is six ounces per wine. The Usual is a box of six glasses of wine. The Usual does not offer white wine, just red and Rosé. You can make a one-time purchase or quarterly subscription. Prices range from $48 to $72 per package.
Taste Profile Subscription
Bright Cellars Wine personalize your wine subscription based on your taste profile. Before you select your wine, you are prompted to take a seven-question quiz. “How do you like your tea?”, is an example of a question asked. Once you take the quiz you can select white, red or combination. I took the quiz and my selections were close to the types of wines I like, with one exception. They selected a Moscato, not my first choice. I was able to swap it out for another wine. Four wines were selected. All of the wines were California wines rated on a 100-point scale. Most of the wines were 92 points or higher.
The cool part about Bright Cellars is that they encourage your feedback. They are all about personalizing your selection to better match your taste profile. You can choose the frequency of your subscription. Monthly subscriptions start at $80.
Winc is another taste profile wine club. You are asked similar questions before your wine selection is presented. In addition to the flavor profile questions, you are asked what price point do you normally pay for a bottle of wine. Which is great! They are conscience of your wallet. Prices range from $15 to $25+ per bottle. Winc started with a California winery and partnered with other domestic and international vineyards that produce small batch wines. You won’t find these wines at your local wine shop. In addition to red and white wines, they offer sparkling wines and ciders. They even offer Vegan wines. The monthly subscription starts with three bottles. You can cancel your subscription at any time without penalty. They often run specials and shipping is inexpensive. My first order was $79, but with the specials and discounts I paid $47.00 Winc is offering a special for your first time purchase. You can take $20 off. Click here to view your deal.
Click and Order
WSJwine is The Wall Street Journal wine club. It is one of the most well-known clubs. You pick and click. There is not a big selection process. You can purchase 1, 6, or 12 bottles without joining the wine club. If you are looking for a regular allotment, the wine club is available and wine shipments are quarterly. You can get a mix case, or select white or red wines. There are two clubs Discovery and Premier Club. The Premier Club are rare find wines. You can customize your case with this membership. The Discovery Club membership is $149.99 per shipment (not including shipping cost) and Premier Club is $239.99 quarterly. The holidays are a perfect time to join because they are offering a lot of incentives.
Keep in mind shipping regulations and time when deciding on a wine club. Make sure the club ships to your state. An adult 21 years or old must sign for the shipment. Consider having the package delivered to your job so there is someone always available to sign for the package. Usually it takes longer than you think to ship the package to you. Allow for shipping time, especially if you are giving this as a gift.
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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.