If you're a wine enthusiast, joining a wine tasting club is a natural choice. Whether you choose a national club or join a club in your local area, this is a great way to experience wines you might never otherwise encounter. A wine club membership also makes a great gift for that special wine lover.
Join Online Wine Purchasing Clubs
Online wine purchasing clubs are less about sharing your love of wine with like-minded individuals and more about getting good deals on bottles and expanding your wine horizons. The following clubs may be a good choice if you're looking for this type of experience.
Laithwaites Wine Clubs
Laithwaites Wine has two different wine clubs. The Four Seasons Wine Club includes 12 bottles of wine every three months and tasting notes for experiencing and serving the wines. It has a $150 fee every three months. The Laithwaites Wine Reserve Club includes 12 bottles of boutique wines from around the world, as well as tasting notes for each bottle. Membership is $220 for three months.
According to Wine Club Reviews and Ratings, Laithwaites wine clubs are a good choice because you don't have to make any long-term commitment. However, the facts that you can only get wine quarterly and you have to pay for shipping keep this club from getting five stars.
Wine of the Month Club
The Wine of the Month Club bills itself as the "original wine club." It offers five different levels of membership, each of which includes bottles of wine and a newsletter each month:
- Classic Series - Two $12 to $15 bottles of red and/or white wine for $25 per month
- Vintner's Series - Two $18 to $20 bottles of red and/or white wine for $35 per month
- Limited Series - Two $25 to $30 bottles of hard-to-find red and/or white wine for $46 per month
- California Wine Series - Two bottles California red wine for $30 per month
- Cellar Series - Six bottles of red and white wine for $75 per month
Consumers on Yelp.com gave the Wine of the Month Club good reviews, citing the quality of the wines. When customers give poor reviews, it relates to poor customer service or not understanding the terms of the contract. Read the contract so you know exactly what you're getting, the term of the club, and how to cancel.
Cellars Wine Club
Offering a number of membership levels, the Cellars Wine Club is another great choice. This is one of the few companies to offer a single bottle club. You can choose from these popular membership levels, all of which also include a newsletter:
- Single Bottle Wine Club - One bottle of red or white wine for $29 per month
- Premium Wine Club - Two bottles of red or red and white wine for $45 per month
- 90+ Point Club - Two bottles of highly rated wines for $79 per month
- International Wine Club - Two bottles of wine from around the world for $49 per month
- Sparkling Wine Club - Two bottles of sparkling wine or Champagne for $59 per month
This wine club has a number of different selections aside from those listed above, so if it's variety you seek, this is a great choice.
Joining a National Wine Club
There are several national clubs that may have a local chapter or be holding an event in your area. In addition, many of these national clubs give you the chance to interact with other wine enthusiasts online via their website. Consider some of these options.
American Wine Society
The American Wine Society is one of the largest wine enthusiast organizations in the United States. Membership costs about $25 to $100, depending on the number of people joining and the length of the membership. There are local chapters in many major cities, including Detroit, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and more.
American Institute of Food and Wine
The American Institute of Food and Wine (AIFW) has more than 30 chapters around the world, including local chapters in Boston, Dallas, Milwaukee, New Orleans, and many other US cities. Individuals membership costs $75 per year and includes discounted admission to AIFW events in your area.
Joining a Local Wine Club
When you join a local wine club, you'll meet in person with other wine enthusiasts and possibly get together to purchase cases of wine at a discount. The types of clubs will vary greatly depending on your location, and there's usually a better selection of clubs in urban areas.
No matter where you live, use these tips to find a wine club near you:
- Check Meetup.com. This site specializes in helping people form groups around interests, including wine. There may be a wine club in your local area.
- Look for notices on message boards at your local wine shop, or speak to the shop owner to see if he or she knows of any clubs accepting members.
- If you live near wineries, contact them to see if they sponsor or support any wine clubs in your area.
Forming Your Own Wine Club
If you're having trouble finding a club in your area or you can't find a club that corresponds to your specific interests, don't despair. You can form your own wine club. Here's how to do it:
- Gather a small group of like-minded individuals who want to form a club.
- Meet to agree on monthly dues, budget, and wine interests.
- Speak to area wineries and wine shops about getting special deals for your group.
- Hold monthly tasting meetings to sample that month's bottle of wine.
Learn More About What You Love
Whether you join a local wine club or belong to a national club, this is a great way to learn more about what you love. As part of a club, you'll try wines you wouldn't ordinarily sample, giving you expanded wine experience and possibly leading to your next favorite bottle.