Wine clubs can be a great way to taste new wines and expand your knowledge. If you consider yourself a bit of a sommelier and would like to discover some new blends — your favorite Chilean shiraz seems a bit too sweet nowadays — or maybe you're just looking for a no-hassle way to up your reserves, a wine club may be for you.
But just like choosing the right wine pairings, finding the right wine club can seem complicated. There are so many things to consider: Should I stick to just Cabernets or Chardonnays or go with a mix? Do I want to expand into roses and Zinfandels? How long is the commitment? What are the shipping costs?
Before signing up, do a little homework. Discover if there are any hidden costs, if it is run by a certified sommelier and if the wines they include are highly rated. A wine subscription is also a great gift. Here is a look at eight wine clubs that are bound to fill the wineless void in your life (or someone else's).
For the connoisseur
Husband-and-wife team Bryan and Abigail Maletis want to change the perception of champagne. Instead of reserving the bubbly for special occasions, the duo believes champagne should be enjoyed anytime. While champagne is considered sparkling wine, not all sparkling wine is champagne. Only sparkling wines produced in France's Champagne region can have the eponymous name. Every bottle that Fat Cork sells is imported from Champagne. Fat Cork also hosts monthly wine tastings at its Seattle headquarters. There are three memberships to choose from, and shipments arrive every other month.
The Bachelor: Two Bottles per shipment, $119
The Expert: Three Bottles per shipment, $169
The Master: Six Bottles per shipment, $319
Subscribe now: Fat Cork
If you've ever dreamed of owning a vineyard, Nakedwines.com may be the wine subscription for you. Members are investors; each month, "angels" invest $40 into their nakedwines.com account. That money is then used to invest in independent winemakers instead of marketing or sales expenses. Angels in return receive exclusive offers on wines, typically 40 percent to 60 percent off the retail price.
Shipping is $9.99 for orders under $100. Flat rate of $19.99 on orders to New Jersey, $130 to Alaska and $70 to Hawaii.
Subscribe now: Nakedwines.com
For the entertainer
Hosting a dinner party is difficult enough. Between entertaining guests and preparing food, picking a wine pairing can be intimidating. Blue Apron makes it easy to pair your favorite foods with the right wine. Wines are curated and selected from winemakers around the country and are chosen to complement Blue Apron's seasonal recipes.
Each shipment is $65.99 and includes six 500 mL bottles.
Subscribe now: Blue Apron
Wine Down Box
Positioned as the most delicious wine subscription, Wine Down Box focuses on offering consumers some less-known or hard-to-find small-batch California wines, along with artisanal cheese, handcrafted charcuterie and scratch-made crackers. The club also offers four different subscription options: one month, three months, six months or 12 months. Consumers can also view previous months' pairings.
One-month subscription, $70
Three-month subscription, $207 or $68 per box
Six-month subscription, $390 or $65 per box
12-month subscription, $756 or $63 per box
Subscribe now: Wine Down Box
For whoever wants to enjoy wine without breaking the bank
Winc was founded with the belief that wine should be accessible to everyone. To identify wines that will best suit your tastes, new users are instructed to complete a taste profile. Do you prefer citrus or mushrooms, spicy peppers or dark coffee? Winc's winemaking team creates unique wines using grapes from vineyards around the world, while also partnering with independent winemakers. With has more than 100 styles of wine, Winc will deliver creative and adventurous wines to your doorstep every month.
Four bottles a month, starting at $13 per bottle.
Subscribe now: Winc
Wine club of the month
Founded in 1972 by Paul Kalemkiarian Sr., Wine Club of the Month claims to be the original monthly wine subscription club. It is now run by Kalemkiarian's son, Paul Jr., who tastes nearly 400 wines (sometimes more) every month and selects two vintages, a red and a white, to join the wine club. Only about 15 percent of the wines tasted are added to the club. Along with the two bottles, each shipment includes its famous 24-page "Wine Letter," which reveals who made the wine, where the wine is from, what to look for in the wine, how to cellar the wine and what foods to serve with the wine. You can also cancel at no obligation anytime.
Each monthly shipment contains two bottles at $23.95. plus $9.95 shipping.
Subscribe now: Wine club of the month
For the traveler/adventurer
Master sommelier Brian McClintic was the subject of the documentary films "SOMM" and "SOMM: Into the Bottle." Inspired by travel, McClintic launched Viticole in 2016 as a wine club and travel blog. Each month's offering features wine from organically grown farms and collaborations with winemakers from around the world. All wines are exclusive to Viticole. There are two clubs to choose from, shipments arrive monthly and bottles typically cost between $35 and $55.
Viticole Wine Club Waiting List: Two to three bottles per shipment, $105 per month, plus tax and discounted shipping
Viticole Wine Club 2.0 Waiting List: Four to six bottles per shipment, $210 per month, plus tax and discounted shipping
Residents of Arkansas and Hawaii receive shipments in full cases three times a year, in January, May and October.
Subscribe now: Viticole
Plonk wine club
If you're tired of the usual Cabernet or Sauvignon blanc, Plonk might be the wine club for you. This personal wine concierge service scours the globe for adventurous, off-the-beaten-path wines. Plonk will introduce you to indigenous grape varieties that broaden your wine horizon. Independent farmers and winemakers organically produce all of Plonk's wines.
There are three wine clubs to choose from: a mixed wine club (including reds, whites, roses and sparkling wines), a red wine club and a white wine club. Customers can choose from a four-bottle case or 12-bottle case, with the average bottle costing $24.
Three months, $330
Six months, $660
12 months, $1320
Monthly, $285 per shipment
Quarterly, $285 per shipment
Subscribe now: Plonk wine club