There's Never Been a Better Time to Join a Wine Club
Wine clubs have historically had a reputation as hit-or-miss propositions. Though many of them promise the opportunity to taste wines that you otherwise may not have considered, there's an inherent risk in not quite knowing what you'll receive with each shipment. Fortunately, there are a number of excellent ones out there, and many of them are embracing the American drinking public's expanding palate. From clubs that are run by respected online retailers to selections curated by boldface names in the wine industry, this is a great time to reconsider what wine clubs have to offer.
Here are nine of the best, all worth serious consideration, listed alphabetically.
Belle & Bottle
Washington State-based Belle & Bottle offers a nice range of club options that run the gamut from monthly to quarterly shipments. Pricing starts at $55 for two bottles each month and goes up to $400 for six bottles per quarter, with plenty of options in between. And if you feel particularly passionate about one or two of the wines you're sent, you have the option of buying them individually, which is a nice touch.
Based in Napa Valley, Bounty Hunter lets you know right on their website what to expect from their monthly or quarterly mailings: "We like bold, fruit-driven, pure wines and we know you do too. You'll never receive lean, funky, oxidized, or austere wines in your shipment." $199 gets you into The Killer Cabernet Club, and The Most Wanted 6 Bottle Club runs $599 and includes some of "the best wines in the world each month." There are plenty of options in between, too, as well as six spirits-focused ones.
Want to take a deep dive into the world of Oregon wine? Check out Cellar 503, where each month, you'll receive either two or four bottles. The producers are excellent, with standout names like Keeler, Anne Amie, Maysara, and more. Since its inception, Cellar 503 has featured more than 50 grape varieties and nearly 200 wine producers.
Plonk Wine Club
With a focus on organic, low-intervention, and biodynamic bottlings, Plonk offers three main options: Mixed wines, reds, or whites, all of them branching out to seemingly every corner of the country and globe. From there, you decide how many bottles you'd like each time (four, six, or twelve bottles). Pricing ranges from $110 to $285 per month, depending on the number of bottles you choose to receive.
Founded by Master Sommelier (and one of the stars of the Somm films) Ian Cauble, SommSelect offers four wine-club options: Explore 4 includes four bottles each month for $99, plus shipping; the Somm 6 is $199 plus shipping for half a dozen bottles that range from drink-them-now reds and whites to more age-worthy ones; the Somm 6 Reds ($220); and the Blind 6 (also $220), a blind-tasting option in which the wines come wrapped and numbered and accompanied by guidelines on how to assess them like a pro.
Tasting Room is notably customizable. You have the option of receiving a mini-bottle tasting kit, which allows you to rate each wine and lay the foundation for a personalized selection of bottlings moving forward, based on your preferences. Full-size wines will be sent out at a frequency of your choosing: monthly, every other month, or quarterly. The tasting kit is $14.99, six-bottle shipments are $52.50, and full 12-bottle cases are $105.
Taylor Family Vineyards
Plenty of producers offer members-only bottlings that are well worth the effort of signing up for. Unfortunately, the most famous among them can often require waits of several years to make the list. Taylor Family Vineyards, a top Napa Valley producer, offers several options, from The Traditional Club, which includes four reds (or reds and whites) sent three times a year, to The Silver Lining Club, which is shipped once annually and includes a case of their top Cabs. As for stamps of approval for Taylor Family's clubs, my own father has been a member for nearly a decade, and eagerly awaits his shipment each year, which, thankfully, he shares with all of us.
Founded by Master Sommelier (and one of the other stars of the Somm series of films) Brian McClintic, Viticole features custom-crafted bottlings that he has made with organic winemakers around the world. $99 per month gets you the Viticole Wine Club (24 bottles annually, broken into two shipments of a case each), and $198 a month buys the Viticole Wine Club 2.0 (two annual shipments of two cases each, for 48 bottles in total). And it's not just limited to wine: According to the Viticole website, "Our subscription represents ciders, meads, botanical infusions, sake and multi-fruit ferments, featuring grapes and whatever delicious comestibles present themselves (apples, pears, quince, rice, plums, etc)."
One of the largest online wine retailers in the United States, Wine Access has become justifiably famous for its fantastic selection of wines from around the world and at all price points. The Wine Access wine club leverages the expertise of both a Master Sommelier and a Master of Wine, both of whom are on staff, and members benefit from video tasting notes, discounts on other purchases on the site, and more. Shipments are sent quarterly and cost $150, plus tax but with shipping included in the price.