Wine clubs—for some, they’re the ultimate in wine-lover luxury.
But is joining a wine club actually worth it?
We’ll answer that question by walking you through what a wine club is, how it works, the benefits and downsides of joining one, and some things to consider before signing up.
What is a wine club?
A wine club is a program you join where a company sends you selected bottles of wine on a regular basis.
These packages are usually sent monthly, but some companies allow bi-monthly or quarterly selections as well.
How does a wine club work?
Wine clubs offer different varieties of wines, depending on what the consumer wants or likes.
Often, each wine delivery will include information about each varietal in the shipment so members can learn more about the wines they’re drinking—though some may find this feature more helpful than others.
There are many different types of clubs to choose from: some will sell their own private label wines, while others work with vineyards directly to provide customers with exclusive selections.
You’ll also find options for all budgets, including high-end clubs that offer expensive vintages that have been carefully curated by experts in enology (winemaking).
Wine clubs often share similar features and benefits, and if you are a big wine drinker they can seem like a great deal.
But are they worth it? Let’s take a look at some reasons why you might want to consider joining one—and others that might make you steer clear.
Benefits of joining a wine club
Benefits of joining a wine club include:
- Convenience and time saving – you can choose your preferred wines, delivery frequency and quantity, and sit back and wait for the wine to arrive on your doorstep. A good wine club will also offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. This means you can return any wines that aren’t to your liking for a full refund.
- Value – Wine club prices are often lower than those in a bottle shop, especially if the wine is sourced directly from the winery. Remember that the wine club doesn’t need to pay for large retail spaces like regular bottle shops and supermarkets, and these savings can be passed on to customers.
- Access to new wines – if you love exploring new wines but don’t have the time (or inclination) to spend hours searching for the best ones, consider joining a wine club. You’ll often be able to discover new wines that you would not have chosen yourself. Many clubs also offer exclusive access to new wines before they are released in bottle shops.
- Discounts & offers – many clubs offer discounts on additional bottles when you buy club cases or six packs plus member-only events and tastings at wineries throughout the year.
- Expert advice – some clubs employ expert tasters who can select the very best wines from their chosen region. Others allow you to choose your favourite varietals or styles of wine so that they can tailor their selections according to what they know about your taste preferences. In addition, some clubs offer friendly phone support if you need help choosing which bottle is right for you.
Downsides of wine clubs
However, there are also some potential downsides to consider before signing up for a wine club subscription. Here are some of the most common:
- Fees – There may be monthly fees required in order to access the best savings or other benefits. Of course, fees are an important part of any business model, but it’s still worth finding out about them ahead of time so you aren’t surprised by anything unexpected on your bill.
- Value – It can be difficult to determine if you’re actually getting good value from a wine membership club, especially if the bottles you receive aren’t available for sale elsewhere. It’s exciting to receive a new box of wine each month but it’s easy to overlook how much money you’re spending until after the fact.
- Cancelling memberships – A quick Google search will reveal the difficulties some people run into when trying to cancel their wine club subscription. If this is something that concerns you, make sure you read all terms and conditions carefully before committing yourself to anything—and feel free to contact customer service with any questions or concerns.
How to choose a wine club
- Look for a club that offers a wide range of wines, particularly in the wine styles you prefer.
- Choose a club that has positive customer reviews.
- Look for a club that will allow you to cancel at any time, or skip a delivery.
- Look for a club that offers a variety of subscription plans; this allows you to choose one that best fits your needs and budget.
- Look for a club that offers a money-back guarantee if you don’t like some of the wine you are sent.
- Try to choose a wine club that supports local winemakers. This is often beneficial when it comes to sharing information about the wineries, as well as tours and tastings at their vineyards.