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Weighing in on the wine club experience

August 10, 2023

Who hasn’t been to a winery and thought “this is amazing,” signed up for the wine club, and then realized, it is more money than you really want to spend on THAT wine? The experience and the time were marvelous so it’s natural that trying to extend those good feelings is accompanied by a membership in the same. There is a price for that, and on vacation we aren’t always in the best frame of mind to make sound financial decisions. It’s fun after all!

Let’s be clear, there are some wine clubs that offer wines that are a perfect fit for your individual tastes, and they are worth the price of entry because you really enjoy them, and at any time you can change your mind without costly severance. There are also wine clubs whose marketing made you the target and you couldn’t resist, but at home it was not what you remembered or wanted any longer.

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Surveying a plethora of available wine clubs, it’s obvious that there is more than one way to open your wine fridge to an ongoing delivery of bottles, cans, or boxes filled with an enjoyable elixir. The choices are not only in composition, but also in frequency, packaging, location, degree of exclusivity, and who makes the selection. Now that publications and retail outlets alike offer ways to regularly purchase wines, there has been a proliferation of choice. Some offers come from the wineries themselves, some from brick and mortar stores, while others are strictly online marketplaces.

The extent to which you can purchase diverse wines is limited only by your own appetite and the customs and tax boards of any given country. I live in the US so my version may sound a little different than yours, but there are similarities across all of North America, Old-World Europe, and now, the UK which (due to climate change) has a burgeoning wine industry.

Reading through the website language on almost all the sites, it’s difficult to differentiate between products. Almost all of them claim to be the best at whatever they offer, and they employ only the most educated wine professionals to curate the selections you’ll receive.

Here are a few example clubs from the US and Canada and one from the UK. Chances are the clubs included here are a replica of something you have available, too. To be clear, none of this is an endorsement of any product or club. It is simply a good old compare and contrast, just like you used to do in high school science.

United States

Wine ClubLet’s start with the educational concept. Wine Folly Club makes the club all about the learning experience. You can sign up for a monthly subscription which delivers the wine and a wine course. They pick the wine, and you join in online with the learning content. It’s a live tutorial and there is a member’s portal which gives you access to all the material presented in the course – in case you couldn’t make that time slot – along with all sorts of tasting notes.  The wines are sourced world over from small producers and the course runs US $150 – $200 a month and you are taught by wine aficionados who have plenty of experience and credentials.

A “born in Austin Texas (the founder) made in Napa California” concept is BOXT. The name defines the packaging, but not the total concept. Their website states the following, “We… use sustainable, 100% compostable and refillable packaging for our luxury boxed wine, so you can feel good about every sip.” Their ethos is clean, fresh, and eco-friendly. For every BOXT they make, they plant a tree. What about the wine? They blend their own. No single varietals. The wines are described by tasting notes rather than grape names.  Things like “Ruby Vibrant Soft Dry,” “Rich Buttery Full Golden,” and “Bright Clean Crisp Dry.” If you want to buy one BOXT it’s US $84. If you go clubbing, it’s US $64 per BOXT delivered each month or every two months.

Wine Club

Max Kogod

If you want a one-on-one experience from someone who has traveled to and lived in the places he sources the wines, welcome to Max Kogod’s wine club. Based in Carlsbad, California, Max buys wine, stores it at the optimal, constant 55 degrees Fahrenheit and 70% humidity. He sells it via his online retail presence. Small quantities of high-quality wines, mostly from Europe. The monthly charge is (US) $79, $159, or $239 for two, four, or six wines, respectively.  You tell Max what you like and any you don’t, and he sends you the things he personally selects to match your tastes. If you live nearby, you can pick them up and avoid shipping.

If a vast array of choices is your objective there is a set of clubs offered under one “roof.” Wine Access has a suite of no less than nine clubs spanning a price range of US $120 – $400 per shipment. The clubs are all curated to suit both pocket and palate. Numbers of bottles and frequency are varied, but the premise is they are exclusive. Boutique or world renowned wines selected to surprise or cater to the collector – and sometimes, both. Wines are selected from the world over and include almost all the US states that make wines and a significant number of old world options.  If you can’t get to some of the more prestigious restaurants and sample their wine lists, don’t worry, Wine Access will send them directly to you.


wine clubPurported to be the largest monthly wine club in Canada (according to their website) is The Wine Collective. The monthly charge is (CAD) $64.99, $109.99, or $154.99 for two, four, or six wines, respectively. There is also a three premium bottle subscription for CAD $137.99 monthly. This club also offers online tasting guides and subscribers can obtain a discounted pricing structure for purchasing additional wines that they enjoyed as part of their club shipment. The wines are from a mix of domestic and international wineries, giving Canadians similar choices for curated wines as the US clubs offer.

Opimian Wine CLubIf a club with case pricing and no minimum purchases is your best choice, check out Opimian. There is an annual membership of CAD $89 and once you are in, you will be granted access to 10 cellar offerings per year from over 100 producers in 13 countries. Opimian sources from 120 wine regions, worldwide. Shipping is generally 4-6 months after the order is accepted. Offerings chosen by Canadian Masters of Wine are either a surprise (by purchasing a curated subscription case), or you can go and select the half case, or case of your choice, including mixed cases.

Amazing Clubs has a wine of the month club that ships to both the US and Canada. This is a rare club as most subscription clubs in Canada are limited to Canadian shipping. The licensing structure is what poses the limitations. The wine club is only one of 44 clubs that ship to the US and 27 to Canada, all under the Amazing Clubs umbrella. The clubs will send a variety of gifts including flowers, olive oil, peanut butter, ties, coffee and cigars, to mention just a few. The club features “two different wineries every month, one bottle from each winery, and you can choose between red wine, white wine, or a bottle of each.” Subscriptions range from 3-12 months, shipments are monthly, and the costs decrease with an increase in months subscribed from CAD $82.95 to $80.95 per month. The selections are from smaller wineries just about anywhere in the world.

United Kingdom

Wine ClubThe BIB wine club offers what has been reported as “the best bag-in-box wines around.” After you subscribe and choose the first wine to be shipped every one, two, or three weeks or months, you then receive a free box. Because this is bag-in-box wine even after it has been opened it can be kept for up to six weeks and remain quaffable. Wines are single varietal and blends and they are sourced worldwide. The club ships wines free over an £80 purchase price, a 10% discount on additional purchases, a money-back guarantee, and you can cancel at any time. The flexibility they offer is that once a wine club selection is made, between orders you are able to swap or add wines. And, if you want to try before you buy, it is £30 for a taster box, which is credited towards the purchase price if you choose to have the wine in your subscription.


– Gillian Marks, PhD. is a contributing editor with VineRoutes


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