From time to time I have toyed with the idea of joining a wine club, whether it be one associated with a specific winery or an independent one. Both have their pros and cons.
According to the so-called experts, the best wine clubs give you key features including access to unique, curated wines for special occasions, last-minute gifts or simply to satisfy your own palette.
Wine clubs can help take the guess work out of deciding what to buy or drink, but more importantly a wine club can introduce you to new wines.
There are lots of clubs to choose from and most are accessible online. At any given time there are as many as 20,000 Ontarians subscribed to wine clubs. With over 200 wineries in Ontario and an additional 300 across the rest of Canada, as well as several independent wine clubs, it’s good to know all the facts first.
Most Canadian wineries have wine clubs although there is difference in how the various club subscriptions work. So it’s important to understand things like frequency (when you’ll get your wine) and quantity (how much you’re getting) and what their rules are for opting in and out.
Things that are important to take into consideration are variety of wines on offer, exclusivity, early-access, value and quality.
It is beneficial to join a club that offers its members exclusive and early-access deals. Check to see if there are any savings from purchasing through the wine club versus through your local liquor or wine store, the quality of the wine being offered (award-winning, sommelier tested, etc) and the guarantees provided to its members regarding satisfaction with the product and service.
Some of the largest wine clubs (Peller, Hillebrand, Jackson-Triggs, Inniskillin, Great Estates of Niagara) are a good place to begin your investigation, but some of the smaller, boutique wineries should not be ignored.
Clubs, like kwäf’s ClubK, are not tied to just one winery, but instead offer an array of quality wines, providing the opportunity to enjoy the wines of many wineries. They work with top sommeliers to offer the best wines. Kwaf is Ontario based and curates the best of Ontario wine and delivers it directly to your door.
The Exchange is a wine club that offers wines beyond what is available through your local liquor or wine store. The Exchange will provide a curated, mixed case of top quality wines directly to your door. They work with top Ontario wine agencies to find jewels for Exchange members. All the wines are rated at 90 points or more and have been carefully selected by their panel of critics for quality and value.
With an Exchange subscription you become part of a cooperative consisting of hundreds of like-minded wine lovers to ‘Exchange’ a purchase of a full case of a single wine with a mixed case of twelve different wines. The Exchange does everything from the curation, ordering, purchasing, warehousing, repackaging and delivery. The curated case of high-quality wine is delivered to your door once every three months.
With any wine club you should be able to:
- Access exclusive discounts
- Save time
- Discover new wines
- Have flexibility
- Gain from loyalty and rewards
Before making your ultimate club selection you need to determine whether your drinking habits and style suits the terms of the club. The main things to look out for are to ensure that there are no contracts or obligation to purchase wines; that the company has a large selection and variety of wines; and their prices are less than the retail outlets.
If you are a wine drinker and like discovering new wines, then wine clubs are worth joining.