Wine appreciation has dramatically increased in the United States over the last few decades. Both novice and experienced wine drinkers join clubs to learn more about wines, taste different varieties, and get good deals on quality labels. Award winning wine clubs earn their reputations based on several factors.
Criteria for Rating Wine Clubs
Pricing and quality are two major considerations. Don't judge by price alone, as low cost may mean inferior quality wine or poor customer service. Look for clubs that provide tasting notes and details about specific wines and vintners. Tasting notes provide information about the origins of the wine, the aromas you should smell in it and the complexity of flavors in the wine, all of which are helpful to new wine drinkers. Most clubs offer free gifts like corkscrews or wine glasses to new members to sweeten the membership deal, so be sure you are getting the maximum value from an award-winning club rated by satisfied customers and wine industry experts.
Five Award Winning Wine Clubs
There are many American wine clubs to choose from that offer general wine selections or specialize based on type, varietal, region, theme, price or shipping frequency. These clubs fall into the general category and membership fees are moderate.
Zagat Wine Club
A group of wine tasters founded the world-renowned Zagat Survey was founded 30 years ago, so it is not surprising that it is one of the top-rated wine clubs today. New members of the Zagat Wine Club get four free Luigi Bormioli wine glasses and free tasting notes in a handy binder. Annual membership fees are $69.99, which includes twelve quality wines in your choice of red, white or six of each type.
4Seasons Wine Club
This club, by Laithwaites Wines, was one of the first in the country, and customers love their competitive wine prices, as well as the quality of their world-class offerings. Their annual membership dues are the same as Zagat, $69.99, and newcomers get a free corkscrew, free tasting notes, and twelve bottles of wine, your choice of reds, whites or a mixture thereof.
Cellars Wine Club
Cellars Wine Club gets high marks from customers for its customer service and high quality wines. Members can prepay for three months for $89.95 for six bottles of wine in your choice of types, or sign up for a pay-as-you-go plan that is $29.95 per month. Members receive a monthly newsletter on featured wines and wineries.
Known for their selection of high quality domestic and international wines, Wine.com offers a variety of wine clubs to suit different tastes and wallets. These clubs were formerly run by My Wines Direct, where they were quite popular. Each club offers tasting notes and pairing recipes.
Cellars High End Wine Club
True to its name, Cellars High End Wine Club only sells 90+ point wines. It focuses on meeting the needs of seasoned wine drinkers who want to taste a wide range of international wines dating back as far as 1999 from South America, Europe, Australia and California. Monthly membership fees are $79.95 for two selections each month. A monthly newsletter keeps members informed about new wines and what wineries around the world have in store for the future.
Joining a Wine Club
Conduct a thorough search of different wine clubs before joining to make sure their offerings meet your needs. If you are partial to one variety or type, there are clubs that specialize in serving specific tastes so you don't end up with an undesirable selection. Also consider how often they ship and the shipping costs for your area to ensure the deals offered are actually more cost-effective than shopping for wine locally. If you are acquainted with a lot of serious wine drinkers, they can often provide recommendations for award winning wine clubs based on personal experience.