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Favorite California Wine Clubs?

  • d
  • dl May 30, 2005 02:25 PM
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Hi,
I and a couple of friends want to buy a wine club membership for a recently-married couple moving to SF. I saw The California Wine Club online. It looks pretty good, but I was wondering if anyone had any other suggestions/experiences.

Thanks much!

Dan

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  1. m
    Michael Rodriguez

    Navarro has been sending me wines for quite a few years. Rarely has a bottle disappointed me. Their wines aren't available through retail outlets.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Michael Rodriguez

      We also belong to the Navarro Wine Club. Excellent wines at good prices. Clos Pegase in Calistoga also has an excellent wine club shipment.

    2. Some friends of mine subscribe to Seghesio's wine club, and I think their wine is excellent.

      http://www.seghesio.com/CenturyClub.s...

      But I imagine there are hundreds, if not thousands, of such clubs.

      1. What kind of wine does the newlywed couple like to drink? I think taking that into account woud make all the difference in the world. Most, if not all, vineyards in Northern California have wine clubs, but their wines are all different.

        I, personally, love Navarro and Ridge, but many other people have different ideas about what tastes good.

        Liz

        1. The suggestions so far have mostly been winery-direct. While I don't have personal experience with them, I have friends who have been very happy with the wine of the month programs at K&L and Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant.

          1. You may or may not be already aware, but wine club membership requires a continuous receipt of wines (with frequencies anywhere from monthly to bi-annually) that are billed prior to shipping. Hence, a very nice and generous gift would require you and your friends to pony-up for the the wine shipments up until an unlimited period of time.

            Anyway, I have friends who likes their membership with K&L.

            2 Replies
            1. re: rcc

              I would imagine that most wineries with wine clubs would have some mechanism by which you could specify how much money you want to spend. I know with my Benziger membership I can try my own shipment, then decide if I want to buy more for myself or send a particular bottle to a friend.

              I like Benziger for a few reasons: their dedication to organic and biodynamic farming (without sacrificing taste), the fact that the wines are shipped only 6 months out of the year (I don't drink THAT much wine), and the graciousness of their knowledgeable staff.

              Melanie: thanks for the tip on that 2003 Benziger Tribute! We had it straight out of the barrel the other week, and it was fantastic--IMO better than the 2002. I can't wait until they're bottled and shipped.

              1. re: rcc

                K&L lets you specify how many months to give -- I think that the minmum is 3. The recipient can then choose whether or not to continue the membership.

                I've liked my K&L premium membership, especially because you can pick up the bottles at the store if you don't want to pay shipping.

              2. Two worth looking into are a) The Napa Valley Winery Exchange 415 Taylor St San Francisco, CA 94102-1701
                (415) 771-2887. If you don't know what kinds of wine they like, that would be a good one as they can send out different kinds. I am also a fan of the wine club @ www.dutchhenry.com, a small winery in Napa Valley with yummy wines. Their website has a page about their club. Hope your lucky friends get something they like!

                1. I've been getting the mixed (1 red, 1 white) wine club from the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market since they started a few years ago.

                  I really love it and can't speak highly enough of the program. Most of the time the wine is something I might not have heard of or tasted (small producers/small lots from places locally as well as around the world). It helps me broaden my wine tastes as well as the friends I share it with. Some of the wines are truly spectacular. I get the feeling they have great relationships with a lot of wineries that gives them access to wines you just won't see most other places.

                  They have also started including recipes in the boxes for food/dishes that will go well with the wine that month.

                  Finally, the customer service is always very nice and friendly, which counts for a lot with me.

                  1. Cline Cellars in Sonoma has a no annual fee wine club. Shipment of 2 bottles every quarter. The highlight of the club is that Cline throws 2 parties a year (they just had their Spring one a couple of weekends ago), where you can eat and drink to your heart's content in Cline's warehouse. Wine club membership gets you 2 spots for their annual party @ $10 per spot (used to be free, but they started charging at the last party). Still a great bargain for good food and a chance to drink a bunch of different wines.

                    Cline is known mostly for their zins. I'm a cabernet/bordeaux guy mostly, but started to branch out a bit to add everyday drinking quality wines to my collection. Cline fits that bill well, and their bottles aren't an arm and a leg.

                    DISCLAIMER: I don't work for Cline, or have any financial interest in touting their wine club. It's just a good deal, from my perspective.

                    Link: http://www.clinecellars.com/club/desc...

                    1. Cline Cellars in Sonoma has a no annual fee wine club. Shipment of 2 bottles every quarter. The highlight of the club is that Cline throws 2 parties a year (they just had their Spring one a couple of weekends ago), where you can eat and drink to your heart's content in Cline's warehouse. Wine club membership gets you 2 spots for their annual party @ $10 per spot (used to be free, but they started charging at the last party). Still a great bargain for good food and a chance to drink a bunch of different wines.

                      Cline is known mostly for their zins. I'm a cabernet/bordeaux guy mostly, but started to branch out a bit to add everyday drinking quality wines to my collection. Cline fits that bill well, and their bottles aren't an arm and a leg.

                      DISCLAIMER: I don't work for Cline, or have any financial interest in touting their wine club. It's just a good deal, from my perspective.

                      Link: http://www.clinecellars.com/club/desc...

                      1. I have been a member of the PlumpJack wine club for years and have never been disappointed. They select 2 bottles per month, usually 1 red and 1 white, and the pre-shipping cost is around $40 per month. You can give a gift membership and specify the length of time. Paul's choices are always interesting, especially if your friends would like to branch out and try less familiar varietals (especially Italian wines), and his write-ups are informative. I also like K&L's wine clubs and recently signed up for the Sunset wine club, which isn't bad & focuses on California.

                        Link: http://www.plumpjack.com