Starting out in the World O’Wine it’s normal to look for shortcuts to get your wine into your gullet sooner. In fact, as soon as we have our wine epiphany/moment the sooner we feed our new hobby the better for all concerned.
For me, a couple of decades ago, I started with wine classes to taste and learn different varietals, buying inexpensive brands and going to winery tasting rooms. Fast forward those decades and everyone seemed to be offering wine clubs too: the wineries, magazines, newspapers…and in the last 10 years in the U.S. wine bars.
When I visited a winery and liked a wine as well as the tasting experience, I wanted to duplicate that experience at home. So we joined one or two a year, changing as our tastes changed as well as when the winery experienced changes (new winemaker, owner, weather or pricing).
I’ve heard from wine pals (and sampled some myself) that the Wall Street Journal Wine Club has stellar selections, while the original Wine Club of the Month continues to offer little-known wines for very reasonable prices. Most wine bars have different tiers so that you can also control how much wine per year you commit to and at what cost.
That’s a lot of club choices.
For me, as my wine world is pretty large, I base my choices more on wanting to put my money into a business I would like to see flourish. Just like your old favorite restaurant around the corner that closed up (that you hadn’t been to in awhile because of all the new places opening up) I don’t hesitate to support a business that appears to need and appreciate my support. (As well as having great wines over and over again.)
Also keep in mind that wine club memberships can be equivalent to the bread and butter for a business. It’s a constant influx of cash that will allow a business to reinvest in their business. Your support today will definitely contribute to their continued growth tomorrow.
You could chose to invest your wine club money with your neighborhood wine bar. Or it could be your local newspaper’s club. For me, to be honest, I go the route of the winery. Maybe the winemaker was particularly endearing. Or the blends were innovative. And the prices were more than reasonable.
There is no one right answer, but I would suggest that you select your wines wisely. Don’t get caught perusing the supermarket shelves or the giant wine warehouses because you didn’t plan in advance, spend your time and your money wisely.
Now, go fill that glass!
Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years. She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a guest judge for the L.A. International Wine Competition. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com