A Wine Club is a Perfect Gift for the Holidays
By Elizabeth Schweitzer – Master Sommelier
My wine career has covered every nook and cranny of the industry; retail, wholesale, wine judge, wine writer, teacher, mentor and my personal favorite, fine dining service. There is no question that the guests, the customer (and in this case, your gift recipient), are the most important part of our industry. You ask the questions, you set the trends and I am here to provide some guidance.
Most recently, I am hearing questions like: Is it time already for holiday shopping? What type of wine gift sets do we get the boss, co- worker, clients, nieces and nephews, family members living in another state, the girls we lunch with, the guys we golf with, the boyfriend, girlfriend, wife or husband? Could you recommend some wine or wine gift sets?
So, to answer your question about your holiday shopping list here it is.
Unless you like circling around the parking lot to find a space, poking around crowded stores and waiting in lines to check out, I have a quick, fun and easy solution. You don’t have to leave your house or office!
The simple, most effective answer I can give that will please everyone: Sign them all up for a wine club gift membership! These memberships have plenty of options: once a month delivery, every 3 months delivery, or a one-time delivery and then they can decide if they want more. You can send 2 bottles or 12 bottle wine gift sets. All of the wine clubs I researched on wineclubdirectory.net (as well as tasted each club’s offerings), offer ‘anytime’ cancellation, so no one is locked in to a membership they don’t want- and each offers several levels and preferences.
Coming out on top, I found that wineofthemonthclub.com could very well be the ‘one stop’ get all your shopping done place! Yes, there are wine clubs: The Classic Series, The Vintners Series, The Limited Series and The California Series. They range from $152 for a 4-month membership up to $589 for 12 months and everything in between along with a free wine accessory with your order, a binder for the tasting notes, recipes and super attractive packaging for your wine of the month club gift.
But, that’s not all! Your recipient doesn’t drink wine? Wine of the Month Club will customize a gift basket or wine gift sets for you with just about anything you want to put inside. And, the “baskets” are beautiful, one made of tin, another of faux leather, one of wood and stuffed to the gills with various chocolate, cheeses, crackers, olives, salami, nuts, cookies, mustards, truffles and so much more! You could also send single shipments of wine as a gift, 2, 6, or 12 bottles delivered in attractive re-usable boxes. All you need to do is gather the addresses on your gift-list and call or contact them to send their wine of the month club gift. wineofthemonthclub.com or 1-800-949-9463.
Plonk might appeal to the younger crowd with their modern looking site and each shipment comes with a copy of IMBIBE, tasting notes and recipes from Food52. Each wine club gift they have put together are mostly made of wines from small, family-owned wineries and you won’t see them in the grocery store.
Another contender, Gold Medal Wine Club, has six tiers of wine deliveries ranging from $37 – $179 making another affordable wine club gift. They boast that all of their wines have high ratings and medals from Wine Spectator, Wine & Spirits, Wine Enthusiast, and Wine Advocate for the more sophisticated palates. They also have a gift link (Gold Medal Wine Store) for bottle stoppers, pistachios, wine totes, and Jazz music CD’s. These gifts are great for the non-drinkers on your list, too.
Virgin Wines, yes, same as the airline and music, offers 12 bottles for $69.99, plus shipping and includes 2 Riedel crystal glasses with tasting notes. They send tasting notes and serving tips and you can customize the wine club gift shipments.
Wall Street Wine Journal, has an introductory discovery 15 bottle-shipment for $69.99 plus shipping, with tasting notes. They also offer a higher tier, The Premier Club, which is 12 bottles for $239.99. The shipment has four wines, three of each bottle, and your first shipment includes three bonus bottles!
All of these clubs do a great job… why don’t you gift it to yourself so you will always have a hand selected wine to take to your next holiday party.
Happy Shopping and Happy Holidays!
Elizabeth Schweitzer is a Master Sommelier, wine author, Certified Cicerone and Stage 1 Candidate for a Master of Wine.