When you visit a winery you will often hear about their wine club. What is a wine club and how do you choose the best one for you? Wine clubs are intended to turn sippers into buyers. Most wine clubs have a variety of plans that commit you to a specific number and types of wines per year at a discounted price. Wineries also offer a variety of benefits to wine club members ranging from discounts to special events for members. There are wine clubs that are not directly linked to a particular winery, but we’ll save that for another day.
Deciding which wine clubs to join can be a difficult choice. We have been members at one time or another of dozens of wine clubs. We try to add new ones every year or so and then drop an equal number simultaneously with an average of three to five at any given time. We drop wine clubs, not because of quality or service, but because of sheer volume and price.
Winery Wanderings currently belongs to five wine clubs. Each club shares some similar benefits and some that are very different.
We’ll give you our rationale for joining the ones we currently belong to.
- Free tastings for member and up to 6 guests
- Discounts on wine purchases up to 20%
- Member-only parties and other wine club special events
- Winery tours by appointment
- Pre-release wines to taste
- E-mail updates on winery happenings
- Ability to trade out wines you aren’t happy with
Here’s some reasons why you might want to skip membership :
- No free tastings for you or guests during regular non-pick up events
- No trading out of varietals you don’t like
- Too many bottles per shipment and frequency of shipments
- Poor customer service from staff
- Limited hours of operation
- Distance from home
Wine clubs give members a unique perspective of the winery and its staff. You get to know the wine club manager and have an insider’s view of what’s going on. Events like barrel tastings, parties, food pairings and member dinners are just some of the great bonuses of being a member.