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Last updated: December 9, 2014
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Every November we take a look back at the year's customer favorites. We decide which wine clubs were most preferred by how many memberships, subscriptions, and gifts they sold through our reviews in the previous calendar year. These were the favorite wine clubs of 2014, as decided by customers shopping for a wine club.
Overview: Club W is now Winc Wine! Everything we said about Club W is still true and applies to Winc, except Winc is even better because they keep finding ways to improve it. Personalized selection every month (including picking your own wines), great value because they've eliminated the middle man, lots of rewards for loyal customers.
What We Love: We love the great selection of quirky wines all priced at $13 or $19, and are especially impressed with the whites and roses. We love that you can put as many wines in your box as you want, and that shipping is free on 6 or more bottles.
Could Be Better: The wine descriptions tend to purposely avoid helpful terms that experienced wine drinkers look for in selecting bottles (i.e., no references to "buttery" or "acidic").
Overview: A 12-bottle personalized wine club that begins to get to know your preferences with a six mini-bottle wine tasting kit delivered for $6.95. By signing up for the tasting kit experience you are automatically enrolling in regular wine club shipments, 12 bottles delivered quarterly for $149 plus $19.99 shipping.
What We Love: Their best feature is total control of your account online without having to contact customer service — change the contents of your shipment, change your shipment size, have your next shipment sent exactly when you want it, or even cancel online.
Could Be Better: The wines offered in the $6.95 tasting kit have extreme profiles (likely the best way to identify the boundaries of your palate) but the experience is fun anyway. It's important to note: rating the wine triggers the first full-price case to be shipped.
Overview: California is home to some of the world's best wine regions and wineries, many of which are boutique wineries. A boutique winery is typically a small-family operation with limited distribution beyond their tasting room. This wine of the month club is a great way to get introduced to what California wine has to offer at reasonable prices and it makes an excellent gift.
What We Love: Consistency. We've been receiving their shipments for years and we've never had a wine we didn't like. You can't really ask for more than that from a wine club.
Could Be Better: As a general rule, we think Gold Medal Wine Club has little they can do to improve. Whether you're buying for yourself or as a gift, they've really done a lot to create a wine club worth joining.
Overview: The Plonk wine club has always been among our favorites because of the proprietor's preference for quirky but delectable wines. Etty Lewensztain sources interesting wines made from grapes and regions you've never heard of (and some you have). Whether you choose four or twelve bottles you'll be glad you picked Plonk.
What We Love: Lately we've come to think of Plonk as the "Somm club" that isn't run by a sommelier. With a focus on wines under $30 that will delight any curious wine drinker, we think the value is top notch. Also, unlike most wine clubs, if you're thinking of going red-only or white-only, you'll actually get four different selections (three of each if you upgrade to 12 bottles).
Could Be Better: When it comes to Plonk we have little to ask for in the improvement department. Because the wines are so great, we'd really like to see a more giftworthy version of the subscription which includes gift wrap and maybe even store credits so gift recipients can order more of their favorites.
Overview: This 12-bottle case of wine club really jumpstarted this type of affordable wine subscription in the US and features value-focused white and red wines from around the world. Their $12 international wine selections typically offer better value in white wine than red. Take advantage of their introductory offer of just $69.99 for a case, but be warned, you are signing up for recurring shipments at $149.99.
What We Love: We've received many shipments of wine from the WSJwine Wine Club over the years, but we continue to hold the club in relatively low esteem. It's perfect for a wine lover who wants an inexpensive selection of International wine delivered to their door every quarter. It's not a good fit for anyone who likes wine that sells above $15 at the grocery store.
Could Be Better: Because of the success of the WSJwine club, many other wine clubs are competing with 12-bottle case clubs priced around $170 per quarter (including shipping costs). Some of them are offering much better quality wine for that price so we know they could, too.