Wine clubs can be a great way to explore new wines and expand your knowledge. But beware – not all clubs are created equal. They vary dramatically in terms of quality, offerings, price, frequency and many other factors. To help you navigate the dizzying number of options available on the market today, I’ve created this new series with the goal of helping you find the best wine club for you.
THE WINE CLUB FOR THE AVERAGE CONSUMER
When it comes to wine clubs, most consumers simply wants a convenient and affordable way to explore new wine. But with limited knowledge about wine, it’s very easy for consumers to be swayed by wine clubs that push deep discounts on ‘hugely popular and highly rated’ wines. That’s why I recommend Firstleaf for the average consumer. As a Firstleaf member, you rate the bottles you receive which they then leverage to personalize selections just for you that change each shipment based on your tastes. This model ensures you get a shipment of wines you’ll enjoy each and every time.
HOW IT WORKS
- Price: An introductory three-bottle box is $15 ($5 per bottle); subsequent six-bottle orders are $79 ($13 per bottle)
- Shipping: Your first order is $4.95 for shipping, while subsequent club orders are $9.95
- Frequency: Deliveries can come every one month, two months, or three months, with the option to schedule shipping dates
- Options: You have the ability to choose all reds or whites, U.S. wine or imported, and whether or not you prefer rosé or sparkling
Click here to learn more about Firstleaf.
THE WINE CLUB FOR THE HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS
Founded last year with the goal of supporting the natural wine community, Rae Vino is a monthly wine club that features high-quality, small-batch wines from organic or biodynamic farming practitioners that adhere to low-intervention winemaking. Through their carefully selected offerings, they introduce members to lesser known wine growing regions, varietals and producers, often promoting family-owned wineries and female winemakers. Aside from an impressive portfolio of natural wines from well-known winemakers and emerging talent, Rae Vino stands out from their competitors because their overall commitment to environmental sustainability. Rae Vino’s packaging is free of inserts, pamphlets, stickers, styrofoam, tissue paper, or any other extraneous material that creates avoidable waste in the name of aesthetics, consumer ‘unboxing’ experience, or marketing. They also donate 5% of profits to the California Certified Organic Farmers foundation, a nonprofit organization that advances organic agriculture for a healthy world through organic certification, education, advocacy and promotion.
HOW IT WORKS
- Price: Four-bottle box: $100; six-bottle box: $145; eight-bottle box: $190
- Shipping: FedEx standard shipping rates apply
- Frequency: Monthly delivery
- Options: You have the ability to choose all reds, all whites, or mixed
Click here to learn more about Rae Vino.
THE WINE CLUB FOR THE VALUE SEEKER
Digital marketing guru, Gary Vaynerchuck launched Empathy Wines last year with goal of making great wines at accessible prices. Empathy wines is a direct-to-consumer winery that is able to deliver high quality-to-price ratios by avoiding the traditional wine industry three-tier model, which lowers margins for wine growers and increases final cost to consumers. High quality wines produced with both the farmer and consumer in mind? That’s my kind of wine club!
HOW IT WORKS
- Price:3 Shipments of 3 bottles: $243 total ($27 per bottle); 3 Shipments of 6 bottles: $450 total ($25 per bottle); 3 Shipments of 12 bottles: $720 total ($20 per bottle)
- Shipping:Included in cost
- Frequency:Three times per year. Rosé ships in Spring, White Wine ships in early Summer, and Red Wine ships in Fall.
Click here to learn more about Empathy Wines.
THE WINE CLUB FOR THE WINE GEEK
Founded by Master Sommelier and star of the SOMM documentary series Brian McClintic, Viticole is an online wine club focusing on organically-farmed custom bottlings that he curates with his favorite winemakers from a broad range of undervalued places across the globe. Working closely with some of today’s most sought-after winemakers, Brian’s aim is to redefine what is qualitatively possible, in and around $55 per bottle. So if you geek out over hard-to-find unicorn wines from cult producers across the globe, Viticole is the club for you.
HOW IT WORKS
- Price: Single Allocation: $105 per month to receive two 12-bottle cases a year, 24 bottles in total. Double Allocation: $210 per month to receive four 12-bottle cases a year, 48 bottles in total.
- Shipping: Included in cost
- Frequency: Twice per year. One shipment before the summer heat (March/April) and one shipment before the holidays (October/November).
Click here to learn more about Viticole Wine.