Watch Our Video Review For Wine Insiders
- Pros: VIP memberships
- Cons: Quarterly deliveries only
For more than 100 years, Wall Street Journal has been an expert voice on a variety of matters, including wine. So, it makes sense that such an expert establishment would hit the ground running after founding its own wine club. Its actually been around for quite a decent amount of time, having set up back in 2008. What started as commentary soon became a trusted supplier of some of the most premium wine thats available right now, with red, white, and rose provided from some of the most prestigious, otherwise inaccessible locations from around the world.
What sets this club apart is that the offerings are somewhat like what well find in print – theyre divided by monthly specials, new arrivals, and there are even guides to help the uninitiated find their feet. This is the perfect club for all wine hobbyists – no matter how experience you are.
We all know WSJ for its journalism, but can it be counted on for curating the best wines? Get to know this club a bit better in our review.
Regular Supply Of Wine
Wine clubs typically offer shipments of 4, 6, and 12 bottles, but some also deliver two bottles , and there are a few that even have one-bottle subscriptions! Usually, these plans have a range of delivery timings spanning monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, and bi-annual shipping.
You select the frequency that suits your needs. Want a dozen caseloads to arrive every month? No problem. Prefer four bottles every three months? Job done.
Youre in control of how much wine flows to your home, and it keeps coming until you make a change. If you find you have too much or too little wine, customer service will let you know your options. This could mean more or fewer shipments or higher or lower bottle counts. Some clubs even offer a penalty-free skip-a-month service if you want to hold off on more wine but dont wish to change your overall plan.
Wheres The Customer Service
Customer service isnt an obvious factor you need to consider when it comes to a wine club, but at some point, youll likely need to reach out to someone at the company for any number of reasons including, but not limited to:
Broken bottles during shipment
Skipping a shipment
Some will prefer to handle all of these types of transactions online, but they dont always have an easy self-help website interface, assuming theres a member portal at all. Others could be limited to email-only.The best wine clubs have clear ways to get into contact with them when something goes sideways. You may need to reach a live customer service representative on the phone and have a conversation, allowing you to fully explain any questions or concerns you might have. While it might not seem like a deal-breaker, youll want to know your options.So, what now?
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How Winc Wine Club Works
Business Insider reviews Winc as the best wine club overallfantastic wine selection, reasonable prices and fast delivery.
When it comes to Winc Wine Club, there are no strings attached. The team gets it, sometimes you need to take a breather and so you can skip a month or cancel any time, no hassle, no questions asked.
Delivery occurs monthly and the aim of the subscription is to rate, review and perfect your bottle selections. Winc knows your sips are sacred. Flexible memberships are also available so that you are able to choose your own bottles. You can even accommodate a mixture of preferences within the family with red, white, and rosé. Buzzfeed comments that the process takes roughly 10 minutes and a shipment of wine very quickly.
Your journey with a Winc Wine Subscription begins with an entertaining quiz and from there, Winc tailors four wonderful wines to your taste buds each month. Reviews are an important part of helping the team to cater wine selectionimmaculately to your tastes. So far, there are 5 million reviews of the wines and counting.
A monthly Winc Membership order starts with 3 bottles a month for $39 plus $9 flat shipping rate and tax. If you order four or more bottles, then shipping is free. You are welcome to add as many additional bottles as you wish to your monthly shipment. The baseline price for bottles is $13.
Key Things To Consider
For most people, the benefits of a wine club will far outweigh any issues. But, you still need to choose a club that fits your needs. This isnt always an easy feat, as there are so many to choose from, including red wine clubs and white wine clubs, not to mention those that focus on sweet wine or on champagne.
To find a good club, youll need to think seriously about what youre looking for.
First, what type of price range do you have in mind? Are you looking for relatively cheap wine, where you might be paying an average of less than $15 per bottle or a club where youre wine that is higher quality and more expensive?
Next, what type of wine do you want?
While many clubs simply provide red wine, white wine, or a combination of the two, some clubs provide you with extra choices. There are even chardonnay of the month clubs and clubs that are themed around specific vineyards or parts of the world.
The final question is what do you want from the subscription?
Some people are looking for an easy and inexpensive way to buy wine, where the type of wine that they get may not matter much at all. Others may be interested in learning about wine. If this is you, then you may be looking for a club that selects wine for you and provides important details, like tasting notes.
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Why We Dont Recommend Subscribing To Winc
Good customer service was one of the key criteria we kept in mind while researching clubs for our guide to the best wine subscriptions. If you have questions about your wine or issues with your order, or if you need to pause or cancel shipments, a responsive customer service team can make or break your experience.
A branch president of the Better Business Bureau told us that part of the reason Winc has an F rating is because it hasnt responded to multiple complaints the bureau has sent.
For basic questions about using Wincs service, I resorted to texting a representative. The process was excruciatingly slowin some cases it took over 40 minutes for them to answer a single question, and our chat went on for hours. Frankly, it seemed as if they wanted to get rid of me. When I emailed Winc our questions, I received only generic automated responses. I even tried reaching out to current and former employees of Winc to see if they could help answer my questions. I never heard from anyone until I emailed the companys customer support team telling them Id be writing this article. Eventually I spoke with Ashley Carone, a public relations representative for Winc. She told me she was surprised to hear that Id had such a poor customer service experience and said it wasnt indicative of a typical users experience. But this wasnt an isolated incidentI had used Wincs text feature and tried emailing multiple times over the course of my research.
Beware Of Introductory Specials
A tried-and-true marketing technique, ‘intro promos’, will often dangle wine club special offers for first-time orders or additional purchases on the day of sign-up. An example of this could be something along the lines of, “New Members – Only $25 for 6 bottles when you sign up today!”. The key is to find the small print. Oftentimes, that initial low price will be replaced for subsequent shipments that is double, triple, or quadruple the price of the intro offer.
They make it easy to say yes!
While wineries often waive tasting fees and give discounts on bottles to new wine club members, the fine print can require you to spend a certain amount of money or a set time as a club member before you can drop your membership.That fantastic deal may cost you hundreds of dollars that you werent planning on spending over the course of the next year.
Club membership agreements vary greatly.
Some club agreements obligate members to accept a minimum number of shipments before being able to cancel. Other wine clubs require members to spend above a certain dollar amount on each shipment.That complimentary tasting that you enjoyed on the afternoon you signed up may also be part of the agreement. If you cancel before a set period of time, you could be charged for any comped tastings that you enjoyed for early termination of your membership agreement. Buyer beware.
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Best Wine Club For Intermediates
I tried this wine club and have to say the hit rate of solid wines was extremely high for my moderately experienced palate. If you’ve graduated from the Gallos and the Cupcakes and want to include more nuanced, complex and higher-priced premium wine in your life, First Leaf wine club might be good for you too. Its palate quiz is one of the most involved, asking for varietal preferences in addition to using several household name wines as taste benchmarks. This intelligent wine subscription service gets to know you by asking about certain tasting notes and qualities you might prefer in your perfect wine — such as minerality — in contrast to similar quizzes which assume many don’t know what that means. In short, this is probably the best wine club for a wine enthusiast who has the basics down and is ready to launch into expert wine tasting territory.
First Leaf offers six bottles of wine delivered per month for $80. You can schedule the delivery frequency however you please , and can swap out each of your selections through your account, but if you don’t like the replacement, you’ll have to email customer support. Otherwise, skipping a single order, putting your account on hold, reactivating it, and canceling your subscription altogether can all be done through your online wine club account.
The Best Wine Club For French Wine
For Francophiles, this wine club seeks to replicate the sommelier in a fine French restaurant or wine bar but from the comfort of your home. For one, all the wines come from France, but the team selecting them also lives and works in French wine regions and thus are intimately acquainted with the nuance of the product. To further drill down on the sommelier experience, SomMailer includes thoughtful food pairings and in-depth descriptions with every bottle.
To sign up for SomMailer, you’ll choose either three bottles or six bottles to be delivered quarterly and then select all red wine, all white wine or a mix of both. Subscriptions to SomMailer can be canceled anytime, but if you want to just try one box or gift a box of three or six French wines to a friend, you can do that too.
The best part is if you find a wine you really love, SomMailer will sell you a case of either three, six, or 12 bottles a la cart. This is great because you may not be able to find every wine you try in your local package store.
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How To Get More Value Out Of A Wine Club
Look for the clubs that offer discounts for bulk orders thats one place to start. Also, virtually every club will run some kind of promotion or discount at some point. Since most of these clubs offer instant cancellations, dont get too friendly keep moving around to find those that work best for your budget.
Is A Wine Club For You
There are plenty of reasons why a wine club may or may not be a good fit for you. Here are some things to consider:
Reasons to join a club:
- Youre stuck in a rut of buying the same wines, and you want more variety.
- You get intimidated when buying wine in person, and/or youd rather have an expert choose for you.
- Youd like the convenience of having bottles delivered to your door.
- You dont live near a good wine shop that carries the bottles you like.
- You want to learn more about wine and prefer to have detailed information about the bottles youre drinking.
- Youre open to receiving different styles of wine from around the world.
- You want to get a wine subscription for someone as a gift.
Reasons not to join a club:
- You want to have more control over your selection.
- You don’t want to deal with the hassle or cost of delivery.
- You already have a good wine shop nearby, with knowledgeable staff members who can choose bottles for you based on your preferences.
See our section on how we picked wine clubs to learn about red flags you should watch out for when choosing a wine club.
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How We Tested The Best Wine Clubs
Well, thats an easy question to answer. By drinking.
It goes without saying that 2020 was a weird, weird year. Our alcohol consumption most definitely upticked and we became a wee bit inspired after Tyler, our editor who tested all of these wine clubs, made his first Splash Wines order at the very beginning of the pandemic. This was an unintentional 18-bottle wine delivery that lasted him, his roommates and his boyfriend at the time around a week in the beginning of quarantine. That said, he even got a viral TikTok out of it that landed on the popular meme account .
The rest, as they say, was history. Our readers began finding more of an interest in wine clubs and so did we. We began testing wine club after wine club initially through boredom, then through science. We found what we loved, what we hated and any unique qualities various wine clubs had to offer that others did not.
When testing the best wine clubs, we eventually found ourselves in sort of a routine with specific guidelines we were following, which are as follows:
As mentioned, the SPY team has tested around 10 wine clubs since 2020. For this guide, we chose the 7 best options. We will continue to update this guide as we test new products.
What Is A Wine Club
Wine clubs are a way to get great wine without having to do all the legwork to find new kinds to try. When you sign up to be a member of a wine club, youll commit to getting multiple bottles of wine sent to you monthly or quarterly. You wont have to shop for them though theyll automatically arrive on your doorstep.
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What About All Of The Other Wine Clubs
This page contains my current list of the best affordable wine clubs . My reviews are sometimes snapshots of a monthly wine service, and sometimes I track the quality of a company closely for years. I also change my mind about wine memberships when the quality or value goes up or down.
If youre wondering about a specific wine club that isnt on the list above, it is because the wine costs more than $20 a bottle, I didnt rate the club 4 stars or more, or I havent reviewed it yet.
They Sometimes Offer Rare Or Unusual Wines Not Widely Available In The Us
High-end wine subscription services like Usual and Vinebox specialize in rare grapes, obscure wine regions, organic wines, small-batch runs, or all of the above.
In essence, they replicate the specialty wine shop experience without the physical shop and often go further, offering wines you literally cant find in U.S. stores.
Even if youre fortunate enough to have a first-rate wine shop in your neighborhood, theres no guarantee it matches the subscription service of your choice on novelty .
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Best Wine Clubs And Subscriptions In Australia
Knowing the best wine subscriptions in Australia can be tough, but joining a club will save you endless time and from making more uninformed, brash decisions in the bottle shop aisles. Whether youve got your eye on a new bottle of Grange, shiraz, resiling or champagne, getting your hands on the best wines in the country has never been easier. Completely curated, convenient and reliable, wine clubs and wine subscriptions are the way of the future. Weve done some digging across the entire country to narrow down some that you cant afford to ignore.
The California Wine Club Best California Wine Clubs For Artisan Wines
Tip: Expect smooth and easy reds from this club.
The California Wine Club has been in operation since 1990 and works directly with artisanal boutique wineries around the state. They focus on small-batch wines or limited production wine of the highest quality.
They start by carefully visiting each winery, talking with their managers, and identifying the best wines available for their club members. Then, they create various tiers for membership.
We love this club because of the diverse array of different club levels. In addition, the wine club gifts that are perfect for events like holidays, birthdays, weddings, and more.
Each of the wine subscription services comes with at least two wines and serving suggestions. A copy of Uncorked magazine is also provided with tasting notes, stories of the up and coming winemakers and the wines.
Even better, you can select what types of wine you want to get with each shipment. For example, are you a red wine fanatic? Then, you can let them know you only wish to buy red and no white varietals.
If you are not sure what to get, you can connect with one of their personal wine consultants for additional guidance.
This type of service is not always available with other wine clubs. Here, you get to design what you want while minimizing disappointment and usually feel satisfied with what you get.
As we enter Fall and the temperatures start to drop, get luscious and warming red wines from California Wine Club.
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