HOME > Chowhound > Wine >


Reasons for Quitting a Wine Club

I recently quit Navarro's club(after 10+ years - the overall quality seems to be slipping, I was not treated very well during a visit to their tasting room -- Has anyone left a club recently, Why?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It's hard to quit when you've never joined, but that said, it's not because I haven't liked a winery's wine(s), but rather because I may not necessarily like ALL of a winery's wines. (In fact, I usually don't -- prefering, for example, the Zinfandels from this winery, the Pinots from that one, and the Rieslings from the one over there.)

    That said, I have to say that I haven't noticed the overall quality of Navarro slipping, but there is no excuse for poor treatment in the tasting room.

    2 Replies
    1. re: zin1953

      zin1953, often if you just call the winery and explain very graciously that you want to join the wine club but only want specific wines or want to exclude wines from your membership, the winery will customize a club for you. They won't publicize this in their wine club brochures because custom clubs are a headache on the backend, but just might accommodate you if you ask in a nice way.

      1. re: Ruby Louise

        Very true, Ruby -- I, too, used to run a wine club for a small winery in California -- and, quite right, it's something I used to do for our customers who, for example, only wanted red wines, or wanted all their white wines to be dry (e.g.: dry Riesling would be OK, but one with 1.2% r.s. would not). But although it can be difficult, many wineries will do it precisely because customer service is so important.

    2. That's too bad about the bad experience at the winery. That place can get pretty hectic at times, but I've never had a negative experience.

      I have quit two wine clubs. The first I quit because it became clear that they were using the club shipments not to introduce new wines, but to move stuff that wasn't otherwise selling. After getting the same wine three times over six months, I canceled. The second one I quit because of poor customer service. I had one shipment lost (it was sent and I was billed, but it never arrived and I never signed for it). The staff was initially very helpful and said they would resend it. But it never arrived, despite repeated calls. I then told them to forget about it and to cancel by membership, and it was a whole other ordeal to get a refund for the lost shipment. In both cases I probably would have canceled eventually as my tastes have moved away from their styles, but those issues caused me to quit far sooner than I might otherwise have.


      1. My friend quit his first wine club because we found him a better one (Benziger).

        Unfortunately, I quit the Benziger wine club when I moved to LA. When I lived in SF I could go every couple months and pick up my wine in Sonoma at a discounted price. Great prices, fantastic people, fun tasting room, delicious wines, and a great reason to get out of the city.

        With the shipping cost I would have to pay to have it shipped to LA, I could buy the wines I want retail, or have my friend pick up a few bottles when he goes for his shipment (and then pick it up from him a few times a year).

        3 Replies
        1. re: Pei

          Did you otherwise like Benziger? Sebby & I have been thinking of joining. We live in SF, but would probably have it shipped anyways since we only rarely get up to the wine country. Their Oonapais(?sp) is something else.

          1. re: adampaul

            I am a real Benziger fan, but do admit that half the fun is going to their lovely winery.

            Based on wine alone, I like what they make but need variety. If I still lived in SF I would look into wine clubs at one of the wine stores (K&L, Arlequin, etc). Then you'll get different bottles from different wineries every month. I think they have different programs, one of which might be CA wines.

            1. re: Pei

              Indeed, their winery is great - we'll surely have to return to try their organic & biodynamic tastings.

              Thanks for the pointer to K&L & Arlequin - I may have to check out K&L's "Premium" club.

        2. Disclaimer: I manage a small winery wine club.

          drobbia, thanks for posting this. I have two questions for you:

          1.) Did you explain to Navarro that part of your reason for cancellation was the treatment you received in the tasting room?

          2.) Could you explain a bit more what you mean by not being treated well in the tasting room at Navarro? From my experience that can mean different things to different people

          1 Reply
          1. re: Ruby Louise

            I would let Navarro know about your experience. Like Nick, I've never had a bad experience in their tasting room (most recent stop was about two weeks ago). However, I don't usually taste there: I am often on my way to or from Mendocino, and the tasting room is always crowded, so I typically walk in with my list and just let them know I want to buy. They are always efficient, pleasant and helpful, no matter how much or little I buy, and really seem to care about customer service...

          2. I quit a wine club b/c they continued to send wine AFTER I called and emailed them to NOT ship for specified months I would be out of town.

            They kept shipping, got signature from the neighbour and left it on my porch during the summer.

            1. I just resigned from a Paso Robles, CA winery's club because they send me a lot of big red wines that don't pair with the lighter fare I mostly eat, and that generally are supposed to be laid down anyway.

              I didn't think of asking them to tailor their selections for me, but I'm not sure it would work in this case because they produce more big reds than anything else.

              So why did I join in the first place? They hooked me with some medium-big wines. But shipping big red wines seems to be endemic to nearly all the clubs I belong to. It's as if the winemakers want to make big reds in order to be taken seriously in the wine world, and in turn they want to show off their stuff to club members. Most of these wines are not as good as they think they are.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Mr. Cookie

                True, but it's the big reds that get the big scores. That's why they keep making more and more of them.

                1. re: nagrom

                  And more and more, they're having to find a way to flush them out of inventory.

              2. We are also members of Navarro's wine club as are my in-laws and we both expressed a bit of disappointment with this latest release. Given that it's their winter release and the last one until late spring/early summer, I was hoping for more reds than what was sent. Granted, the Pinot Gris is a fantastic wine to start with on Thanksgiving (that's what we did last year and we'll do it again this year) and one of the reds was a Pinot Methode a'la Ancienne, but outside of that, I was hoping for more reds to enjoy over the cold winter months.

                But, given your long-standing relationship, they should be told why you are canceling. I've never been in their tasting room when it wasn't busy and having worked at a tasting room in Amador County a couple of years ago, I realize that it's not always possible to give everyone the best possible service when you are jammed with guests tasting.

                4 Replies
                1. re: rosielucchesini

                  I've been a Navarro member for many years now. The selection of wines in the shipments is almost always the same, and usually more whites than red.

                  Sauvignon Blanc
                  Chardonnay Table Wine
                  Estate Bottled Gewurztraminer
                  Pinot Gris
                  Pinot Noir Method a la Ancienne

                  Chardonnay Mendocino
                  Chardonnay Premiere Reserve
                  Dry Riesling
                  Dry Muscat
                  Pinot Noir (Mendocino)
                  Cabernet Sauvignon

                  Occasionally they make some substitutions or additions. They've shipped the rose in place of muscat lately. I've also gotten sparkling gewurz, Petit Sirah, and dessert wines, though it's been a few years since I remember getting more than 6 wines.


                  1. re: rosielucchesini

                    Navarro's Tastibg Room is small and it can get crowded - the day we last visited the room was nearly empty. As club members we receive a discount on nearly all bottles we purchase at the T.R.- the T.R. person refused to give us a discount on any wine(for our picnic there)I called the TR manager(whom I've delt with in the past and explained my reasons for quitting the club. -- There are too many T.R's and clubs to join that ALWAYS give good service.The last shipment was the 2nd release in a row that we felt the wines shipped had slipped from the normal excellance. The judgement of the wines are subjective - the tasting room experiance was not.

                    1. re: drobbia

                      Pre-Release members get a discount on all new releases for about two months after their release. Once that period is over we pay the normal rate on those wines. For example, today I can buy the six wines that came in the Winter shipment (listed in my post above) as well as the newly-released-but-not-shipped-in-the-sampler Cluster Select Riesling. But the other 9 regular wines for sale that were released previously, plus the 11 library re-releases, are all at full price even though I am a member. That's just how they work it there.


                      1. re: nja

                        You are 100 percent correct(I was a member for over a decade and am familiar with their tasting room policies) - Thats why in my reply to rosielucchesini(above) stated that"on nearly all bottles we purchase"-- the lady had a big dose of attitude. I still bought 2 bottles of wine for our picnic at Navarro (great picnic spot)
                        Our guests from New York were amazed at the behavior-I suspect there is some family connection - I want to enjoy the wines I receive not to be reminded of the attitude by continuing to support the winery.

                  2. I have been in several wine clubs and have quit most. The main reasons are:
                    1) Slipping quality of wines
                    2) Too many wines, not enough time. Related to number one. Why purchase wine at inflated winery prices when ther are thousands of equal or better wines at cheaper prices?

                    The only remaining wine club I belong to is Foxen. IMO, their wines rock!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Scottydog

                      Can not beat thier Pinot - I'll replace my Navarro with Foxen - thanks!!

                    2. There are still some good ones, though. Husch, which happens to be in the neighborhood of the "offending" Navarro which started this thread, has never sent us a wine which we didn't enjoy. They sell to club members at 20% off retail. They only ship in the spring and fall. Here in Oregon, the shipping from CA is free.

                      But don't call them, let's keep this to ourselves.

                      On a different note, a friend in our local wine club is in Navarro's club and he has brought some excellent Navarro wines; don't cut off your nose to spite your face.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Steve K

                        They make a great Gerwustz and some of their Pinots are super -CA has some great wines- I'll replace them with Foxen (thanks to scottydog above)

                      2. We belong to Navarro, as well as a few other clubs. What I love about Navarro are the whites -- great with spicy foods. I think that's what sets them apart (and makes it worth it) from the other clubs.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: The Dive

                          I wonder what your feelings might be if you recived the "Pour and Ignore" attitude along with disparaging remarks re:the club discount.
                          I agree that some of the whites(esp.the gerwurtz.) are really fine-however in my opinion the overall quality of the wines have slipped.
                          Time to move on for me - my advice would be if the wines arent what YOU have established,move on! If you love the whites and you perceive no change or increase in the quality(as you judge it)enjoy the wine and stay a member.

                        2. The only thing I would caution about quitting a wine club such as Navarro's is that their wines are not widely available in retail establishments and restaurants. Having said that, one could still buy from them directly without being a club member.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: rosielucchesini

                            Indeed, I don't believe they are available retail at all: only in some restaurants, and mail order (and the club of course). I think that there was a mention that you can sometimes get the (excellent) non-alcoholic grape juices retail...(and if someone wants to try the grape juices they are on the list at Chez Panisse cafe, among other places).

                            1. re: susancinsf

                              I have only seen them at one retail outlet and that is in Pt Reyes Station at Tomales Bay Foods (where Cowgirl Creamery is located)-the small wine 'shop' located in the corner next to the deli.

                              1. re: rosielucchesini

                                Thanks! are you referring to the wines, or just the grape juices?

                                Either way, good to know. That shop actually has a pretty good selection for its size.

                                1. re: susancinsf

                                  Just the wines...also, I was at the Copia museum in Napa for the first time yesterday and in their "Cornucopia" gift shop, they sell the Navarro Pinot as well (I didn't see any others though).