Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wine Clubs are they for you?

Most wineries offer some form of Wine Club as a way to sell you their wines throughout the year. It is common for them to incorporate different forms of "perks" as a way of encourageing you to become a member. Some of these perks can be: barrel tastings, new vintage releases, parties of various types depending on the cycle production or holiday of the year.  Another perk is the price which you can buy the wine. Typically it is a discount of 20% or more for futures or pre-release wines.  As always it is in your best interest to try to taste what you will be getting in a few months or years.  This being said if  the winery meets all this criteria and you are fully committed to their wines and style you are in a perfect club for you.

What are the options to look for to protect you from ordering a wine or wines you my not want to own or drink?  Recently a friend of mine got a half case of wine which he paid for as part of his Club membership and opened two bottles to find that he was not happy with the quality of the wine. I suggested that he contact the winery and inform them of his problem.  They gave him a credit and encouraged him to visit the winery and taste.  The wine he bought is commercially available and being a member saved him some money. However he terminated his membership soon after because the wines no longer were made in the style he preferred and he did not want to incur the cost of more wine that was not to his taste.  Make sure you can opt out of a club if you are not happy with the wine you get. Also inquire if you can pick and choose or skip a shipment because this will meet your needs not the wineries.

I prefer to belong to a winery list that offers wines which are well thought of and very hard to find. This may be the only way you can aquire their wines.  Lists can take months to years before you are able to purchase their wine. An example are a number of Washington wineries: Andrew Will, Cayuse, Walla Walla Vinters and Reynvaan to name just a few who make a very small amount of high quality and well rated wines. Their mailing list offers the buyer their wines at their base price which is always higher in a retail store if you can ever find them. You will not be able to buy a large amount but something is better than nothing. Be prepared to spend some extra money but the quality is superior.  I have known of people who will get the wines and then turn around and sell them to a retail store and make a huge return on their money. This is provided that you are able to find a store that wants the wines.

The wine world is huge and Wine Clubs limit you to just one portion of the market. As stated earlier if the wines meet your needs then go for it.

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