Best Wine Clubs: Tested and Ranked
If you want to sign up to a wine club, then check out our recommendations here. We also cover some FAQs and a guide to finding the best wine club!
The best wine clubs | tried and tested
An ever important part of modern wine culture is the very popular trend of wine clubs.
For those of us who love and appreciate fine wine but want to broaden our horizons and palette, signing up for a wine club is the ideal way to do both. Plus, you get to interact with like-minded people who share your affinity for wine and indulge in the fine art of wine tasting. So, it just makes sense for every wine connoisseur to sign up to a wine club.
However, no two wine clubs are alike and some offer more benefits than others. There are also some important factors you should consider before signing up – but what are they and how would they affect you?
If you are thinking of signing up for a wine club but have no idea where to start, then this is the place for you. We have tried and tested some of the most popular wine clubs here in the United States to see which ones meet our impeccably high standards.
This way, you can find out which wine clubs stand out against all the others and which one is also the best one for you and your situation. So, without further ado, let’s get into our pickings of the best wine clubs!
what is a wine club?
The term ‘wine club’ is very vague and open to a lot of interpretation. As such, it comes as no surprise that there are now lots of different types of wine clubs out there on the market.
To sum them up quite generally, wine clubs are like subscription services but with wine. You pay a fee for membership and in return, you receive a new wine for you to drink and try out. How often you receive this wine depends on the wine club itself but most wine clubs release a new bottle every month or quarter to its members.
Wine clubs are a relatively new trend as the first official ‘wine club’ opened in 1972, with another club soon following suit in 1985 in Los Angeles. After that in 1992, the Gold Medal Wine Club was established and focused on featuring boutique wineries, allowing their members to try out high-end wines from all around the world.
Over the years, wine clubs have grown and grown until in 2003, nearly a quarter of all wine sales in the United States were made through wine clubs.
Now, there are hundreds of wine clubs all across the States, as well as other countries. A lot of magazines and sommeliers all have their own wine clubs – even Martha Stewart launched her own wine club back in 2017!
There are a lot of positives and disadvantages to a wine club. They allow those who love wine to try something new and receive recommendations from often underappreciated and lesser known varieties. Alternatively, it can give some oenophiles a chance to try out some more expensive and rarer wines that they may never have given a second thought. This could result in you finding your next new favorite wine!
However, some people are quick to point out the flaws in the wine club business. Some wine clubs are more cost-effective than others, while some offer up wines that would have been more affordable for you to have bought straight up instead of going through a wine club. Not only do wine clubs vary in what wines they focus on, but they also seriously vary in price too. One wine club in the Napa Valley Reserve actually charges a huge $150,000 membership fee!
Because of this, a lot of people may feel a little hesitant about signing up for a wine club but that is where we come in.
We have tried and tested many wine clubs up and down the country so we could pick out the best wine clubs based on everything they have to offer. We are going to deep dive into each of our favorite picks so you can filter out the wine clubs that are so not worth your time or energy – so let’s begin!
best wine clubs ranked:
- Wine Club of the Month
- We loved the amount of choice on offer when it comes to membership plans. You can choose between a wide range of wines and even sign up for surprise crates!
- Each plan is customizable so you can choose white or red wine only options (or mixed), how often you receive your wines and how many bottles you want per delivery!
- Wine Of The Month Club also offers great customer support that has made them one of the most recommended wine clubs out there!
- Although one of the most affordable wine clubs thanks to its range of subscriptions, the delivery charge does up the price considerably depending on your address.
- Naked Wines aims towards making the wine industry a fair and better place for future generations of winemakers, allowing them to grow their businesses and not be fleeced by markets and middlemen.
- Their monthly subscription is fairly priced and you receive quite a few benefits from it beyond free wine.
- Cancellation is easy and customer service definitely deserves a shout-out for how kind and accommodating they are!
- There’s not much on offer in the way of free wine, but you do get money off the other wines on sale through Naked Wines.
- California Wine Club
- Many series to choose from
- Budget friendly
- Small family owned winery focused
- California wine dominant
- Firstleaf tailors the packages you receive to contain the kind of wines you are most likely to enjoy. You also have the option to be more adventurous and try out new wines, or stick to flavors you are more familiar with.
- This wine club offers a lot of other benefits with membership, including access to their wine school program and discounted prices on purchased wine.
- It’s a great starting point for beginners, but can also adapt for those who are more experienced in the world of wine.
- It’s full-priced monthly subscription charge is a bit on the pricey side compared to some other wine clubs.
- Cellars Wine Club
- Wine gifts start at $29
- Wine deals and coupons available
- No bad bottle guarantee
- Eight different clubs to choose between. Make sure you know the palate of the person you are gifting wines to.
- Dry Farm Wines
- Dry Farm Wines are dedicated to providing a very high level of quality wine, even going as far as hiring an independent enologist to ensure every bottle of wine is to their standard.
- Their wines are low in alcohol, sugar-free, vegan and organic - making it ideal for those with specific dietary requirements that may hold them back from signing up to a wine club.
- Their 100% Happiness Guarantee gives you the option to swap out a wine you don’t like with a new wine, or a refund - no questions asked!
- The most frequent you will receive your wine is every three months, and each shipment is pretty costly to pay up in one block sum.
Here is the original, the ‘OG’ of wine clubs!
The Wine Of The Month Club is the oldest wine club in the US as it was started in 1972 in a liquor shop in California. This business has been passed down in the family and still continues to follow the same traditions as it did all those decades ago.
This wine club is one that is designed for variety to appeal to all kinds of wine drinkers. From the casual to the connoisseur, The Wine Of The Month Club aims to please all with the wines it offers up every month to its members. There are a lot of different memberships on offer so there is something for everyone’s independent level of wine consumption, from beginner to expert.
However, sometimes too much choice can be a bad thing as we seriously struggled to choose just one membership subscription we wanted to try out. Even if you just opt for the Classic Series membership (the most affordable option which is great for beginners), you still have to choose how many bottles you want to receive and how often.
Despite this, we still enjoyed browsing all the different memberships on offer from The Wine Of The Month Club. We would consider all of this freedom a huge plus as you get to customize your membership to suit your wants and needs.
Our top recommended membership is the fun and creative Mystery Case Club. With this membership, you will receive at least $200 worth of wine for the discounted price of $119! All the wines are hand selected and a mixture of The Wine Of The Month Clubs’ ranges including their Classics, Vintners and Limited Series! This makes it our recommended membership for wine lovers who really want to broaden their palettes under the experienced guidance of the club’s owner, Paul Kalemkiarian Junior.
Cost-wise, they are all very fair and affordable considering what you get in return - there is a minimum monthly membership price plus you have to pay for shipment. This is the real downside to this wine club because shipment will vary depending on where you live. Otherwise, it’s a very affordable wine club that also offers great customer support, instant cancellation, and gift memberships!
Some people may argue that Naked Wines shouldn’t really be on this list as they aren’t really a ‘wine club’ in the conventional sense but there are still a lot of features that come with the Naked Wines membership that makes it a solid choice if you are looking for a wine subscription service.
Naked Wines is mostly used by some people to just buy wine. They source their wine straight from the winemaker, giving them a fair deal when it comes to selling their wine and allowing Naked Wines to cut out the middlemen of importers and retailers. As a company, they have a huge focus on how they source their wine and making it a fair for talented winemakers to make their business thrive.
It really is a win-win situation: the winemakers make more money selling their products (in this case, some amazing wine) and you get to purchase that wine at a discount price compared to what you would pay at the supermarket or at your local store.
However, there is more to Naked Wines than just being an ethical place to shop for wine. They also offer a monthly subscription plan of $40 so you can become an Angel. Every month your $40 goes towards helping out more winemakers cover the costs of their business such as buying new barrels, purchasing grower for their grapes, etc. This helps reduce the cost of wine and makes it more accessible for all. In return, you get a bunch of benefits.
From a ‘wine club’ viewpoint, the benefits are not that great - you get a monthly free bottle of wine when you make an order so you have to make another purchase on top of your subscription to get that free bottle. However, you do get a discount on all wine prices sold at Naked Wine, with some as high as 60%. You also get access to more exclusive, premium wines and experience online tastings with winemakers.
So, depending on how much wine you buy per month, Naked Wines is very hit-and-miss - but we wanted to cover it because the work Naked Wines does for the wine industry is huge and very admirable.
If you are the kind of person who is invested in how wine is made and not just how it tastes, then this could be the wine club for you. You will be able to feel a part of something bigger and there’s a very sweet satisfaction in receiving that single bottle of wine knowing that your subscription fee is going towards a good cause. However, that won’t be enough for everyone - and that’s fine!
You can even try it out and cancel if you find that it’s not for you. Naked Wines offers satisfaction guarantee so you can receive a refund for any wine you are not impressed with, plus policy cancellation is instant. So, we think it’s one worth trying out if you often buy a lot of wine online.
Wine clubs have been around for decades now and they have learned to grow and change with the times. No wine club is evident enough of this than the California Wine Club.
For the more modern and experimental wine tasters, the California Wine Club is definitely one wine club you want to consider trying out. It has a very wide range of wines available to try and it has an aim to be one of the most widely accessible wine clubs out there, so everyone can enjoy the benefits of fine wine.
A lot of the wines available at this wine club are very unique and not well known, meaning that you can’t find them at your local winery.
The way this wine club works is that it does not only focus on specific notes or tastes but rather experiences or themes by way of selecting from different series. They put their wine expertise to great use to make a small collection of wines that all work together to suit a certain feeling or setting, such as the best wines to drink on rainy nights when you want to bundle up under a dozen blankets and binge-watch your favorite shows.
This is definitely a very unique but also very interesting technique and we were very surprised (and pleased!) with it. It definitely makes you think out of the box when it comes to drinking wine and makes you consider not just how it tastes or smells, but what you want the experience to be. Clearly, the owners behind the California Wine Club put a lot of thought and care into each package - something that serious wine connoisseurs can appreciate and respect.
Another great wine club to go with is Firstleaf, which is also one of the most awarded wine clubs in the US.
Set up in 2016, Firstleaf is also one of the fastest growing wine clubs that completely customizes your monthly package based on your tastes and preferences. This makes it very unique and also very popular when it comes to wine clubs (especially for pickier wine enthusiasts) because wine wastage is a huge problem with wine clubs.
Each package you receive from any wine club is always a hit or miss opportunity. You may end up with eight bottles of wine that you despise, and all that wine may end up going to waste.
Firstleaf combats this by tailoring what they suggest to you based on what you want to try and what kind of wines you already like. This means that you get to be as adventurous as you like, or stick to a more restrictive group of wines. Firstleaf takes your opinions and choices into account and will hand-pick a collection each month that you are far more likely to enjoy and drink in full.
This is why all kinds of wine drinkers, from beginners to sommeliers, are signing up for Firstleaf.
From the very first steps in your wine club journey, Firstleaf will prompt you with an in depth quiz that asks you a multitude of questions surrounding your tastes and knowledge about wine. You can rate how much you like flavors like floral or fruity, tannic or earthy, and the quiz even asks you if you like ingredients like mushrooms or almonds. Plus, it will even personally ask you how adventurous you want to be so they know that they can throw in something completely different or risky to see if you can broaden your palate and just try something new.
For subscription, Firstleaf charges around $80 per month although there is a discounted price of $40 for your first six bottles. Although the full price is a little more on the pricey end of the subscription spectrum, it’s not outlandish so plus you can customize your membership plan to different frequencies to help handle the price.
Firstleaf also has a great variety of wine and also offers a bunch of benefits along with their wine club’s membership, including a wine school to help teach you more about wine (which is great for beginners) and you can also enjoy discounted prices if you want to buy more wine through Firstleaf.
Our process is simple, with every part of our business in done in house. This includes all sourcing, shipping, and still taking orders over the phone. Our subscription services offer multiple tiers for all budgets, and we take great pride in offering our “no bad bottle” guarantee. Simply put, if you ever get a bottle that has gone bad or just didn’t travel well, let us know and we’ll replace it, no questions asked.
From 90-point wines to our premium choices; our 6-tier selection includes West coast wines, sparkling wines, domestic US wines, and other international choices for just about any price point. Our expert curators and tasters choose from the best of international wineries, local boutiques and limited releases. If you like wine, but don’t really know where to start, we can set you up with a quick recommendation guide and access to a wine consultant. Plus all of the shipments include tips and tasting insights for you to learn as you go!
Finally, we also offer an opportunity to local wineries in Washington state to use our platform and infrastructure to promote their local bottles. We have a dedicated team to help growing wineries expand their audience of enthusiasts beyond their normal reach.
A common issue holding back so many people from signing up to a wine club is the side effects of drinking so much wine. If you were previously not a frequent drinker of wine, then you may be concerned about your sugar levels and carbohydrate intake now you are drinking at least two bottles of wine a month. Another concern some people may have is if the wine is vegan guaranteed, or drinking wines with a high concentration of alcohol.
If these are concerns you are harboring about signing up to a wine club, then Dry Farm Wines is definitely one to consider.
Their wines are designed to be the healthy alternative to mass-produced wine products that often suffer from high levels of sugar, alcohol and additives that can spoil their flavor. Instead, Dry Farm Wines source their wines from specific wineries that aim to create pure wines that do not have any added sugar, are organic, and have relatively low alcohol levels.
For extra guarantee that their wines are the level of purity that they want, Dry Farm Wines even have every wine independently lab tested so you can drink the wines they have to offer with full confidence that they are vegan, organic and low in sugar and alcohol.
This lower alcohol level can be a negative to some people but we think that it is a strong positive that Dry Farm Wines offer up such a specific type of wine so their wine club is the one for those with stricter dietary requirements to go to. This makes tasting fine wine a more inclusive experience that is achievable for all people.
Another great feature about the subscription club here at Dry Farm Wines is that if there is a wine in your package that you did not enjoy, then you are protected by Dry Farm Wines’ 100% Happiness Promise. This means that you have the choice between a different bottle of wine or a refund - unlike with other wine club’s happiness guarantee policies, Dry Farm Wines offers you a choice on how you want to proceed!
However, nothing is perfect and Dry Farm Wines is a pretty costly wine club to sign up to. Subscription plans can range from every three months to once a year but each shipment will cost you $159 - yikes! However, considering that some wine clubs can cost $80 per month, it’s not that bad when put in context.
So, if you want to join a wine club that is healthy and won’t make a huge change to your diet, Dry Farm Wines is definitely the wine club for you.
the wine club buyer’s guide
When it comes to signing up to a wine club, there are many factors that you need to take into consideration before you take the plunge. Because you are signing up for a long commitment, it’s definitely worth checking out every thing the wine club offers and all the finer details that may catch you out.
Here are some of the main factors you should have a think about before you make the commitment to any wine club!
Shipping And Delivery
The first factor is where you live. Many wine clubs charge you for shipping and the further away you live from a wine club’s base, the more shipping will cost.
Some wine clubs will not even ship to your state (only a few states on this list) so double check this when you sign up. If the shipment cost is too high for you, then you can back out and look elsewhere.
When you sign up to a wine club, you will be asked to put in your address and the wine club should come back to you with either the news that they do not ship to your state, or how much shipping will cost per package (depending on how frequent your subscription is). You can add this into your budget and reconsider a wine club if you think it’s too high.
Speaking of budget, you will want to set yourself a limit on how much you are willing to spend per month on your wine club. This is to stop you from spending more than you desire.
Most wine clubs are very up-front about their membership costs and some may even offer certain deals to help ease the cost. For example, you may be able to have your first month half price or take off a certain percentage if you pay for the year’s membership in advance.
Remember to keep shipping and delivery costs in mind as well when calculating how much your wine club membership will cost you monthly.
Some wine clubs will offer you other benefits other than just your subscription package of wine. Some will give you access to special courses or information, like an app or magazine that contains lots of useful and interesting facts about wine and wineries, others may give you discounted prices for the wine they sell on their website.
Other benefits may include feel-good benefits like knowing that your wine club helps out wineries businesses so they can receive more profit or reduce the costs that come with running a winery. Others have made pledges towards fair trade or the environment, so you know that your wine is eco-friendly and fairly sourced.
So, it’s worth browsing what your wine club offers its members and also how they source their wine.
Stock And Range
The main reason why a lot of people sign up to a wine club is because they love wine and want to try out something new – but if your wine club only has a limited range and stock available, then you will quickly go through everything they have.
Because of this, you will want a wine club that has a lot of stock to offer and a wide range of wines that come in different varieties – white, red, rose, sparkling, the list goes on!
Choosing a wine club with a wide range of wines will allow you to broaden your horizons when it comes to wine and potentially find a new favorite.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Wine Clubs Good Value?
Depending on the subscription plan you go for, most wine clubs are better for value than buying each bottle individually at your local wine shop or retailer.
This is because most wine clubs either produce their own wine or buy their stock straight from a winery, cutting out the middle men that often rack up the cost of importing and selling wine. Because of this, wine clubs can afford to offer up wines at a lower price than most places, plus some wine clubs offer cheaper prices for their club members.
So, on average, joining a wine club is an affordable way to try out lots of different types of wine.
Can I Give A Wine Club Membership As A Gift?
Most wine clubs offer gift memberships so you can pay upfront and hand over the membership to someone else. This makes it super easy to give a wine club membership as a birthday or wedding gift, so you can give a gift that keeps giving for as long as you want it to. Plus, it’s a very creative gift idea that the recipient can also share with others if they want. For more on wine club gifts click here.
How Do I Cancel My Wine Club Membership?
Each wine club will have a different cancellation policy – some may allow you to end your memberships straight away with an email or phone call, others may include hidden fees and charges, or require you to quit a few months in advance before renewal.
Before you sign up to your wine club membership, it is worth checking out the cancellation policy and contacting customer support before you make any commitments.
To cancel your policy, most of the time all you have to do is log in to your membership account on the wine club’s website, scroll down the menu or account settings to cancellation and follow the steps there.
flagstaff house review page is reader-supported. if you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
You must be logged in to post a comment.
+ There are no commentsAdd yours