Last updated: February 12, 2019
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|Rank||Wine Subscriptions||Bottles per Box|
|1||Nakedwines.com Wine Subscription||You choose|
|2||Case Club||12 per shipment|
|3||WINC Wine Club||4 per shipment|
|4||90+ Cellars Wine Club||6 per shipment|
|5||Plonk Mixed Wine Club||4 per shipment|
|6||Gold Series Wine Club||2 per shipment|
|7||Adventurer's Wine Box||2 per shipment|
|8||Wine Awesomeness Wine Club||3 per shipment|
|9||Firstleaf Wine Subscription||6 per shipment|
|10||90+ Wine Club||12 per shipment|
There's a persistent rumor among wine critics that wine clubs ship "bulk wine" made from inferior grapes with inferior winemaking techniques. We've reviewed several hundred wine club shipments from dozens of companies and we find that's actually very rarely the case (and we let you know when it is).
We define the best wine club values as those which deliver wine priced significantly below retail (for any level of wine) or wines that seem underpriced, whether it's because of their wine region, their winemaking, or their actual taste. We consider the quality-to-price ratio of every wine we received, and that's what fuels the decision to put a wine club on this list.
When you really want to push for more value, look carefully at the pricing structure of the club you want. Many wine clubs give you better and better prices (for the same wine) when you're a volume buyer. For a wine club, volume-buying might be 12-bottle shipments (get them quarterly if that's too much every month) or smaller shipments but pre-paid for a high number of months (6 or more usually breaks into discount territory). In addition to saving on wine on volume, the shipments can be delivered for less per bottle when they're larger, so larger shipments save on delivery fees, too.
This list focused specifically on value and not on affordability. Our Best Affordable Wine Clubs list is very popular and focuses on wine delivered under $15 per bottle, but this page is designed for people who want to get great value out of their wine budget while drinking what the industry called "ultra premium" wines. (Learn more about this industry term here).
Nakedwines.com isn't a new wine club, but we've only recently formally reviewed them. And we're sorry we waited. We were absolutely impressed with the 6-bottle introductory shipment we received. Before we get into that, it's important to know that Nakedwines.com isn't exactly a regular wine club, it's more of a wine-buying membership where your membership fees go toward your wine purchases and any unspent funds are fully refundable.
We wax poetic on the wine selection in our full review, but the selection itself isn't where the value comes in. The value in Nakedwines.com is infused at every step of the process and in the end, this equals unprecedented value (and simplicity) for you as the wine drinker. Here's how they get so much value into their wine.
How they source the wine. Instead of waiting until someone else has grown the grapes, made the wine, bottled and labeled it, and is now ready to sell it at market, Nakedwines.com starts at the very beginning — with the winemaker. They find independent winemakers who propose wines they'd like to make for the Nakedwines.com "Angels" (customers) and tell Nakedwines.com how much they expect to earn. If Nakedwines.com greenlights the project, all of the markups are worked out before they receive a single bottle.
How they price the wine. We see a lot of game-playing in how wine clubs "discount" the wine they sell. Some are legitimately offering customers valuable discounts below retail (they're on this list), but others don't. Nakedwines.com, from the wines we sampled, does an excellent job of pricing what a similar wine would cost if was produced and sold in the traditional manner, and then slashing those prices for their customers. Since you can purchase wine from Nakedwines.com without being an Angel (but why would you?), they are legitimately selling these wines at these prices. Sometimes even their regular prices are too generous.
Cutting out the middleman. Nakedwines.com is well-known for their adds extolling the virtue of cutting out the middleman. We think they oversimplify this a bit, BUT, they do increase your value by sourcing wine this way. The wine clubs that are best this, including Nakedwines.com, have some hand in the production of the wine itself — otherwise they couldn't legally squeeze out the distributor (the dreaded man in the middle).
Your money back. No wine club gets a great rating from us without offering a 100% money back satisfaction guarantee, we think it's one of the top reasons to join a wine club in the first place. Additionally, any unspent Angel deposits you make are fully refundable, so if you change your mind later, you're not out the money you put it in. If that's not "we stand behind our product" value, we don't know what is.
The California Wine Club, while always a good value for boutique California wines, has really gone out of their way to demonstrate outstanding value in this Case Club Series. Normally you pay around $27 per bottle to have their terrific California wine delivered on a monthly basis ($53.95 for two bottles). We knew that it would be even better to buy those terrific wines by the case and be rewarded for being a volume purchaser, so we begged The California Wine Club to create a case club... and did they ever!
At 48% below their normal prices, you can now get 12 bottles delivered monthly, every other month, or quarterly for just $14.17 per bottle! This is the exact same price as other widely-published case wine clubs, but the wine quality is leaps and bounds above what you'll find in those other clubs. In addition to the boutique California selections, each shipment also contains 1-4 wines from their other wine clubs — Pacific Northwest and International Series — so you can discover wines from all over the world, too.
As if their value pricing wasn't enough, The California Wine Club still offers their full complement of great customer-centric services to their Case Club Series members: personal wine consultants available any time and a Love It guarantee which replaces any bottle you're not satisfied with.
Note: The Case Club is not set up for gifting. If you're looking to give a monthly wine gift, try this best wine club gifts list instead.
Winc has long been one of our favorite wine clubs, particularly because they're constantly reengineering their company to produce more and more value for their customers at just $13 per bottle (or less if you take advantage of all of their deals).
Where does all of the value come from? Well, they're punching above their weight, so to speak. The biggest change they made was when they switched from purchasing existing wines for resale to producing their own. Cutting out the middleman is a time-honored method for reducing costs and the wine industry is rife with middlemen.
Not satisfied with just reducing their production costs, they've reduced their fuel costs (transporting wine to their warehouse in bladders instead of barrels or bottles), they don't use capsules (the little plastic or foil cork cover which is only there for show), and they reduce their cost of customer acquisition by keeping their existing customers extremely happy with great wine and great deals.
Our favorite way to stretch your wine value with Winc? After you sign up (and see what all the fuss is about) you can pre-buy credits at up to 20% off. Then, start buying your wine 12 bottles at a time (you can skip a month or two online if you haven't finished all that yummy goodness) and save another 10% on every shipment. Now that's value!
Note: We love Winc as a gift, but you should know that when you give Winc the recipient will be asked to take a quiz about their preferences. Not everyone wants their recipients to "do so much work," but we think it's fun! Winc gift subscriptions are given as gift cards in fixed amounts beginning with $60.
90+ Cellars excels at delivering wine value because, like others on this list, they cut out the middleman. As a modern-day négociant, they are the producer (winery, vintner, whatever you'd like to call it) and they are selling their wine directly to you as a customer. This keeps the cost of their wine closer to what a distributor/wholesaler would pay, undoubtedly increasing the value of what's in the bottle.
90+ Cellars isn't just cutting out the middleman, they're also looking for high-quality product they can offer to their customers. While they offer a broad price range for their wines, the wines in their subscription shipments tend to be the "value-priced" wines on the cheaper end of the scale. For someone on a budget, this wine club offers great value at competitive prices.
We think 90+ Cellars also offers great value in how they pick the wines they do sell. They always pick the best grape varieties from their best regions — think Barolo from Piedmont, Rosé from Provence, and Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley in California. These wines always taste like what they're supposed to, which is a hallmark of good quality wine, and cost less than what you'd expect them to.
Want even more value? Shipping is free for members and you get 15% off any wine you purchase from them outside of your quarterly shipments. Save 5% on 6-bottle memberships and 10% on 12-bottle memberships.
There are different ways to approach creating great value in a wine club. Other clubs on this list focus on deep discounts, or reducing their production/acquisition costs, but Plonk takes a different approach to getting amazing value into their wine club. They only pick great wine that's available to them at killer prices, sometimes by acting as their own importer.
Etty is both the wine club's proprietor and the wine buyer. Her bona fides speak to a well-trained palate: she has certifications at both Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and the American Sommelier Association and has been raved about by Food & Wine Magazine, Wine Enthusiast, Wine & Spirits, Snooth.com, Thrillist, Tasting Table, The Huffington Post, and on and on. All that press doesn't add up to value, but her adventurous, discerning palate and a willingness to go anywhere in the world to find great wine at great prices do.
So, now that I've established the value credentials for the Plonk Wine Club, let's talk about the wine itself for a moment. Each shipment features an eclectic collection of wine from around the world, for when you're bored with Cabernet and Chardonnay. I saw on Wine Folly's Facebook page the other day a request to share your favorite "esoteric wine grape" and Madeline suggested hers is Grenache Blanc. And I thought to myself... "That's an esoteric grape? It's certainly one of my favorites! No wonder I love the Plonk Wine Club!"
Whether it's a Zweigelt (red) from Austria, a white Rhone cuvée from Mendocino, or red blend from Portugal, you'll never be bored — or disappointed — with a shipment of Plonk Wine Club. And you'll never feel like you didn't get more than your money's worth, either.
Bonus! Your first shipment comes with a free double-jointed waiter's corkscrew (the best kind) and even when you order all red or all white, you get four different bottles in every shipment.
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 Adventurer's Wine Box implies you never know what you're going to get, but you can bet since it's coming from Vinley Market it's probably going to be pretty good. Great wine value delivered monthly.
What We Love: They don't make a big deal out of it, but the wines selected for this subscription are handpicked by a sommelier who loves the taste and the value of every bottle. And it shows.
Could Be Better: As wine clubs go, the options are pretty limited. They only offer monthly shipments and 3-bottle packages. But since the wine is a good value it's worth exploring the selections and trying it their way.
Overview: Among other "journey around the wine world" clubs Wine Awesomness stands out for exceptional educational materials. This is a great wine club for you if you're not sure yet if you're a "wine club" person or if you're looking to give a gift to a young wine-lover who's just starting to discover the world of wine.
What We Love: The level of sophistication in both design and writing of their monthly magazine and how the wine isn't expensive but is a very good value.
Could Be Better: So many people love to give wine subscriptions as gifts, and we think a gift packaging option and customizable gift notifications would add to the subscription gift option.
Overview: An affordably-priced personalized wine club that learns what you like as you receive, drink, and rate six bottle shipments. International, domestic, and award-winning wine from a thoroughly modern wine subscription box service.
What We Love: Compared with other wine subscriptions in this price category, we think Firstleaf has nailed ease-of-use, presentation, and offers reasonably-interesting wines. We also really like that they identify the body, acidity, sweetness, fruitiness, and tannin level for each wine they sell. You can review the wine before it is shipped and swap out wines that have characteristics you don't like.
Could Be Better: We think their marketing materials make them seem better than they really are, but with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and inexpensive introductory shipment, you can decide for yourself.
Overview: Among all of the case clubs (12 bottles, typically shipped quarterly), this 90+ International wine club is among the best two deals. The other focuses only on California wine, but this one takes you on a journey around the world. Enjoy eclectic wines at the best prices you'll find.
What We Love: It's so easy to get into a wine rut and stick with what you know. Wired For Wine ® helps you break out of that rut in a low-cost, satisfaction guaranteed way so you can find new wines to love. Also, when compared with similarly-priced case clubs, this one stands out for wine quality in a big way.
Could Be Better: Normally we'd ask for a deal for this club, but it's already priced as low as it can go, so it's nearly perfect as is! We'd love to see a little bit of customization available and also monthly clubs for people who drink more than a bottle a week.
Looking for a wine club subscription? We taste wine from nearly every wine club we review and rate the clubs objectively. Satisfaction guarantees, wine quality, convenience, discounts, and several other factors help us determine the best wine of the month clubs.
The best red wine can be pricey so pick a trusted wine club with a satisfaction guarantee. Quality & service is how you get on our list of best red wine clubs.
Wine clubs are the white wine lover's best friend. Excellent & affordable sums it up. There's so much more than Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, so join one!
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.
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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.