Another wine club question - especially regarding Bonny Doon
In general, how many varieties should I expect to get in a case of wine (12 bottles) from a wine club?
Background - we joined the Bonny Doon DEWN wine club last August, while on a trip to California. We live in Massachusetts which doesn't usually permit wine shipments but they assured us they had made the proper arrangements. We had no membership paperwork and never received any email or regular mail regarding our membership - in hindsight that seems odd to me (and I am usually kind of anal about that stuff, but maybe the 10 wines we tasted at their tasting room that day had something to do with it... ).
We did get our wine shipment a little over two weeks after our credit card was charged for it. It contained 6 bottles of Rose of Pinot Noir and 6 bottles of Puglia. We liked the Puglia and fortunately my mother liked the Rose (we are not Rose drinkers).
Do other wine clubs only ship 2 varieties for a 12 bottle shipment? I was expecting maybe 3 x 4? Or 4 x 3?
Clearly I didn't do my homework at the time. Should we stay with Bonny Doon? They are apparently changing their operation drastically from what I have read on Chowhound, would it make sense to stick with them and maybe get some fabulous new wines, or cut it off now? Again, being from Massachusetts kind of puts us in a tough spot.
MOST wine clubs generally ship an assortment of wines, say six shipments a year, one red and one white each time; three shipments a year, one bottle each of six different wines, etc., etc. DEWN often ships wines that are not available elsewhere.
That said, I don't know what special arrangments/concessions had to be made to ship into Mass. A call to Bonny Doon could probably provide the information you seek. "Straight from the horse's mouth" is probably the best approach.
I think you signed up for the wrong membership level. I just looked at their website and these are the options you can choose:
A. All DEWN Wines
B. Reds Only
Number of Bottles per Shipment:
A. 2 (1 of each new wine)
B. 4 (2 of each new wine)
C. 12 (6 of each new wine)
Number of Shipments per Year:
It looks like you signed up for the 12 bottles per shipment. To be frank, I can't understand why Bonny Doon would even offer such a thing. The purpose of any wine club should be the chance to regularly try new wines, then allow you to reorder in quantity, preferably at a discount, those you enjoy. I'd suggest changing your membership to the 2 bottles per shipment option, try them quickly after they arrive, then order larger quantities of the ones you like. You may end up paying a little more in shipping, but you'll probably more than make up for it by not buying 5 extra bottles of a wine that you may not enjoy.
I'd also recommend inviting a bunch of family and friends over when you try the wines, and let them order more of their favorites through you. This is especially useful when the club gives you larger discounts for larger orders. I do this with one of my clubs and typically get 20% off my wines because of the volume we order together, whereas it would only be 10% off if I ordered only the wines for myself.
I too am a DEWN member in MA and while I agree with your premise, Nick, the shipping rules to our state are just crap. To the best of my recollection, we can only sign up for the "4 times a year" option, we can only order from a short list of pre-approved wines (this is comprised of the 8 that would ship over the course of the year via the club) and I *thought* the max we could get was 4 bottles at a time. Or perhaps we cannot order more than one case per year beyond the standard shipment? Either way, I am pretty sure there is a heavy restriction on quantities we can get, so I wonder about the case deal the OP got.
I definitely second the suggestion to get in touch with the club manager who will be able to explain the rules and change your club subscription. I had an issue on our first shipment and they were very very very helpful.
Weeks later than I expected, I finally contacted BDV yesterday after trying to register as a member on their website with no luck. As soon as they heard I was from Massachusetts, they told me a letter was on it's way to us telling us that they could no longer ship here and our membership was kaput. I haven't gotten it just yet but I wanted to follow up as promised. I'll still buy BD retail when I see it.
I got the letter on Friday. Oh thank you thank you glorious MA state legislature, who never fails to protect the special interests of the status quo (distributors in this case) at the expense of the average person (who simply wants to get some great wines unavailable outside of a wine club requiring direct shipping). The new shipping laws are so convoluted, I think they will prevent anyone from every attempting shipment to MA again. Which I suspect is exactly what they were looking to achieve.
It does not hurt to call your state rep and hassle them about their views on the state's direct shipping laws.