Last updated: December 10, 2017
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We've sampled shipments from nearly every wine club on our site, and even from many wine clubs that aren't working with us any longer. We get these shipments for free, so there's really never a reason for us to join a wine club. That said, some incredible wine clubs come across our desks. If were going to buy a wine club, for ourselves or as a gift, it would be one of these five.
We chose a wine club for each type of wine we drink throughout the week, making sure we always have something on hand that we can't wait to open. Across all levels, these are our definitive Editor's Picks for best wine clubs.
Note: This list is different than our other Best Wine Clubs which take into account general consumer preferences, our reader's favorite wine clubs, and those we think deliver the most value. We're not really average wine drinkers around here anymore, so this list is reflective our personal tastes.
For ultra-premium California wines, I can't think of a wine club I'd rather see arrive at my door. These hand-selected small-production gems represent the very finest California has to offer in collectible and drinkable wine. Stunning depth, roundness, balance, and fruit-forwardness will delight you with every sip.
We belong to winery wine clubs throughout California and we found the wines we received from The Signature Series were comparable in both price and quality to the best wines we get from our favorite wineries at their members-only price. The nice thing about The Signature Series is that we can get those terrific selections from more than just the wineries at which we're members!
The Signature Series monthly, bi-monthly, and quarterly. Of course we'd upgrade to their 4-bottle option to have a "special occasion" wine on hand for every week of the month, but there is a 2-bottle and a 3-bottle option as well (if you're buying for yourself). This makes a GREAT gift for your favorite California Red wine lover if you're feeling generous.
The California Wine Club is, in general, one of the best wine clubs to belong to. In addition to a $25 member credit for their store and a personal wine consultant, they offer all kinds of members-only deals on their excess inventory, and $1 shipping sales, too — because woman can not live on 4 bottles of wine alone...
No matter what time of year it is, we never get tired of sparkling wine and rosé, and especially sparkling rosé! Many people think of rosé as a seasonal wine because it's marketed that way, but the reality is rosé is generally very food-friendly (particularly the less fruity and drier selections) and is a delight with any lighter fare.
This Bubbles & Rosé subscription is one of our favorites because the selections are chosen by a team of sommeliers who are always looking to bring new and great wines to the market at prices that would make their producers blush (you see what I did there?). Vinley Market does a great job of sourcing interesting wine (in their other wine subscription, too), so we feel confident we'd want to see this wine box every month.
Vinley Market also offers gift subscriptions of 1-time, 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month terms. All shipments are two bottles and are delivered monthly with tasting notes.
When it comes to "daily drinkers" we think Plonk would be our go-to. We have curious palates and love to try new and unusual wines, which we can be sure will arrive in a box of Plonk wine. While they offer 2-bottle and 4-bottle versions of this club, we'd be 12-bottlers — they offer a pretty decent discount on the 12-bottle subscription and we're pretty sure we'd like three of everything Etty sources for this fun wine club.
A big plus for Plonk is this: every wine Plonk ships comes paired with recipes from Food52.com. Since we cook a lot of our own food at home and frequently bottles of wine with us to restaurants this is super helpful. Some wine club's recipe pairings are sort of generic and based on the grape and region's typical characteristics, but these chef-inspired pairings are specific to the wines you receive.
Lastly, when you're ready for a different type of wine adventure, Plonk offers what we lovingly refer to as The Doppelgangers. (Doppelganger is a German word which typically refers to two people with uncanny resemblance. It has been borrowed here to describe two wines.) In three varieties — Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc — you'll get one of your favorite variety and a second wine with similar characteristics, but from an unusual grape or wine region or both. So much fun!
Lately the sommelier has risen to superstar status among wine experts, and everyone (not really) wants to drink what the somms are drinking. To that end, one of the collective sommelier perennial favorites is "grower Champagne." Grower Champagne is similar to boutique or Estate wine in the US, but because the wine system in France is quite different then ours, they use the term grower to describe a winery which grows it's own fruit and produces it's own wine.
Henri's Reserve Champagne Club features only grower Champagne, most of which doesn't make it into the US markets, and if it does, it gets sold out in New York before it ever sees a store shelf or a distributor's truck. If you want access to these kinds of Champagnes, then joining Henri's Reserve is an excellent idea.
You can choose shipments on a monthly, every other month, or quarteryl schedule. It also makes a great gift for an aspiring Bon Vivant.
When it comes to Pinot Noir, we're pretty finicky. We have a strong preference for California Pinots, with all of the fruity, juicy, cola flavors we can get. While we go gaga for Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, we're serious sippers of Santa Barbara County (especially Santa Ynez), and Central Coast Pinots, too.
The Pinot Noir Series from the Gold Medal Wine Club features only California Pinot Noir from top wineries. Since they also tend to focus on award-winning wines and below-retail pricing, the selection of Pinot Noir they ship tends to be outstanding. Recent selections include mostly wines rated 92 points or more and priced $30 or more by the winery.
Some of the really special Pinots we've seen include Dragonette Cellars 2014 Pinot Noir (Santa Rita Hills) with fruit from favorite Pinot Noir vineyards like John Sebastiano, La Encantada, Cargasacchi, Radian, Fiddlestix, and Duvarita; 2012 DuMOL Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley) and raved about by nearly every wine critic includes fruit from Dutton Ranch, DuMOL Estate, Gunsalus, Hanna, Barlow, Abbot, and Sonoma Stage vineyards; and Sojourn Cellars 2014 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast), also raved about by all of the major wine critics, including the Pinot-specific critics, it's fruit is single-sourced and comes from the Sangiacomo vineyard.
Want to try new wines every week? We taste wine from nearly every wine club we review and rate the clubs objectively. Then we look at which subscriptions wine lovers like you actually join each month and rank them for you on this list.
Find budget nirvana by combining two smart wine shopping tactics: Buy by the case, get a subscription. These are the best quarterly case clubs on the market.
Looking for a cut above the regular wine selection in your next monthly club? Try one of these Premium wine clubs. The wines typically cost a little more, but you’ll find you have access to a more unique selection, and wines that are much harder to find at your local store or in another wine club.
There are many “standard” two-bottle of the month wine clubs out there—one white, one red, virtually (and often literally) guaranteed not offend anyone. But if you’re intrigued by the unusual, distinctive, or boutique wines of the world, we suggest you take a look at this list of Most Interesting wine clubs.