wine club at a winery

This lovely picnic area at Madrigal in the Napa Valley is for exclusive use for wine club members

Winery wine clubs – Should you join one?

When you visit a winery, the chances are that you will also be getting a pitch about joining a winery’s wine club. Almost all wineries have some form of wine club. Wineries with successful wine clubs can make a huge profit. The more members they have, the more wine they sell. It is very tempting to join a winery’s wine club. Should you join a wine club?

The pros and cons of joining a winery’s wine club

Most all wine clubs work the same way. Members of the wine club receive 3 to 4 shipments of wine per year. Usually, two bottles are sent in each shipment. The number of shipments and the bottle amount will vary from club to club.

The wine club is a marketing strategy used by the wineries to promote and sell their wine. In some wineries, you will be prodded to join the club, while in other wineries, the wine club may not ever be mentioned. Often, the winery employee will get a commission for getting visitors to join the wine club.

Benefits of joining a Winery’s Wine Club

  • Wine clubs may ship you varietals before they are released to the public.
  • Wine clubs may offer you select wines such as reserve wines or special releases that are not available anywhere except at the winery or to members.
  • Wine shipments are usually discounted 10 to 20%.
  • Wine club members receive a discount on any wines or merchandise they order from the winery or purchase at the winery.
  • Wine club members say they enjoy and look forward to receiving the wines and the element of surprise that comes with each shipment.
  • If you like the wines produced by a winery, it is a convenient way to taste the latest offerings.
  • A winery may offer special events at the winery for wine club members only.
  • There is no cost to join a wine club. This is often the first pitch or reason to join a wine club.
  • You can quit a wine club at any time. Some say that you must join their wine club for one year.

Disadvantages of joining a Winery’s Wine Club

  • Shipping charges may exceed the discount advantage
  • The selection made by the winery might be a wine variety you don’t enjoy.
  • The discounts are based on full retail pricing. With many of the wineries, especially the larger wineries, you can actually find a better deal at various wine shops that deal in volume sales.
  • Even though you can quit a wine club at any time, most people don’t get around to notifying the winery. You will need to call or email to notify the winery that you want to quit the wine club. Human nature usually means that you won’t quit a wine club anytime soon.
  • You live far away and can never take advantage of wine club parties or dinners.