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are there any reputable wine clubs out there that don't cost an arm and a leg?

HabaneroJane May 5, 2009 11:38 AM

I got roped into a few mail order wine clubs that were vile. canceled memberships, of course.

then i used to belong to some specific wineries' clubs---Cakebread, Grgich Hills and Duckhorn.

I'm a white wine girl.

Thing is, those aforementioned got waaay too expensive.

Is there a wine club out there that offers great wines, whites in my case, at a reasonable, rational price?


  1. m
    mamaheil Feb 24, 2011 08:01 AM

    Yes ~ Highly recommend Fernwood Cellars (www.fernwoodcellars.com) wine club. XLNT wines, great people, great setting, award winning... and the prices are totally reasonable for the amazing quality. We've never been disappointed. The Cab just took gold at SF Intl Wine Competition. Enjoy :-).

    1. s
      Sallie May 28, 2009 02:32 PM

      You might try MyWinesDirect.com. They don't do a club, but you can buy six-packs that are just white or just red. They change their stock pretty often so you can try different things. I haven't ordered from them for a while, but the times I did, I was pretty happy with the quality. They're "Wednesday wines" generally--good quality everyday wines.

      1. a
        anneburns May 27, 2009 09:42 PM

        I am a big fan of Duckhorn too, but the Napa wine clubs are pretty spendy. My suggestion, since you clearly like California whites, is Brander in Los Olivos. It is known for its award winning white wines - mostly Sauvignon Blancs, but also Grenache Blanc, Chardonnay (done in steel - not oaky at all) and some fabulous white blends as well. If you enjoy dry roses, they have a wonderful one called Chateauneuf de Pink (as it is made in the dry style of Chateauneuf du Pape).

        1. r
          Rick Azzarano May 5, 2009 12:54 PM

          Also, check out Celebrations Wine Club. They have an "All white wine" option.

          11 Replies
          1. re: Rick Azzarano
            maria lorraine May 6, 2009 12:59 AM

            Actually many if not all wine clubs have a white-wine-only option or a red-wine-only option. Having worked for a half-dozen wineries, I know this to be the case. It's a rather common request to specify one color only of wine. Ask.

            1. re: maria lorraine
              bclevy May 6, 2009 03:47 PM

              Here is a suggestion that combines Steve Timko's answer and ML.
              Holly's Hill in the Sierra Foothills has a white wine only club
              called Au Contraire. They make a very nice vignier-roussanne
              blend called Patriarche Blanc, as well as fine standalone
              viognier and roussanne. Prices are very reasonable.

              1. re: bclevy
                PolarBear May 6, 2009 04:03 PM

                Tasted some of HH's wines at the Hospice du Rhone last weekend in Paso Robles. Was favorably impressed.

                1. re: PolarBear
                  bclevy May 6, 2009 08:37 PM

                  I agree. In addition to the Patriarche Blanc mentioned above,
                  HH's Wylie-Fenaughty's Syrah is excellent. However the gold
                  standard for Rhone Valley varieties in the Sierra Foothills
                  remains Cedarville.

                  1. re: bclevy
                    PolarBear May 7, 2009 08:09 AM

                    Thanks for the tip. I found a three year old article from the SFChron that mentioned their 03 El Dorado Syrah and the 03 Naylor Vineyard ED Petit Sirah as being outstanding ($25 ea, at that time). Do you have any other recos for them, any GSM blends by chance? TIA



                    1. re: PolarBear
                      bclevy May 7, 2009 10:09 AM

                      The most elegant wine produced by Cedarville is their
                      Grenache (typically 90% grenache 10% syrah). In Northern CA
                      the only 2 other places where I have tasted grenaches
                      approaching this quality are Unti and Ridge, and I still prefer
                      Cedarville. Cedarville has also a fine viognier, and among non-Rhone
                      varieties, a Zin and a cab. Their Zin is very different from most
                      Sierra foothills zins which tend to be over the top. It is really a finesse
                      food-friendly wine. The cab is a great value (just below $30) and
                      quite good, but at a much higher price point, better cabs can be found in Napa or Sonoma.

                      1. re: bclevy
                        PolarBear May 7, 2009 11:31 AM

                        Now you've really got my attention, is the Grenache available other than at the winery? I tasted Unti at the HdR, along with Denner, Torbreck, and McPrice-Myers (every thing M-M poured was excellent), which were all very good I thought. Pretty much my only prior base for comparison has been Beckmen's lower end offering.

                        1. re: PolarBear
                          bclevy May 7, 2009 01:20 PM

                          A few stores in Northern CA carry some of Cedarville's wines,
                          but I have never seen the grenache there (basically
                          Cedarville sells out of it quickly). So here in Davis, I have seen the
                          Cedarville syrah, zin and cab in stores, but never the grenache.
                          Cedarville has a mailing list and this is probably the way they
                          sell most of their wines.

                          I have never visited Santa Barbara wineries, but I am due to take my
                          son for a visit of CA colleges (he graduates next year) next month,
                          and I was planning to visit Beckmen, Curtis and a few other
                          Santa Barbara wineries (a friend just came back from a trip there
                          and gave me a map and a list of wineries to visit).

                          1. re: bclevy
                            PolarBear May 7, 2009 02:26 PM

                            Thanks, I'll check with the winery. Lots of good places to explore in SB, Alma Rosa, Andrew Murray, Fiddlehead, Foley, Lane Tanner, Rusack, and Whitcraft come to mind immediately. Have a great trip.

                            1. re: bclevy
                              SteveTimko May 7, 2009 02:27 PM

                              Got to try the 2000, 2004, 2007 and 2008 Cedarville Viognier two weekends ago. The 2008 was probably still suffering from bottle shock but the rest completely rocked. Posted a couple of photos from the trip to Cedarville here:
                              The 1998 Cedarville Syrah was going strong, too.
                              Supposedly all of these photos can be seen by the public, not just my Facebook friends, but I have more here.
                              While at Cedarville, co-owner Jonathan pointed to where Holly's Hill was, so when I went to Holly's Hill for a tasting I took a photo looking back at Cedarville.
                              The Holly's Hill lineup was strong, especially the 2007s. I loved the mourvedre.

                              1. re: SteveTimko
                                PolarBear May 7, 2009 05:35 PM

                                ST, thanks for the reminder about HH's Mourvedre, it had slipped my mind in the purple haze, but found it on my list. Other Mourvedres at the HdR I found tasty were Denner, Edward Sellers, and Unti. Couldn't find Minassian-Young, which I really had my sights set on.

            2. SteveTimko May 5, 2009 12:20 PM

              Consider Ridge ATP (no cabernet), K&L Wines and wineries from places outside Napa, like the Sierra Foothills and Paso Robles.
              Oops, I just saw the White Wine comment. Scratch Ridge. K&L offers a mix of red and white.

              2 Replies
              1. re: SteveTimko
                HabaneroJane May 5, 2009 12:33 PM

                Thanks Steve, will check out K&L asap!

                1. re: HabaneroJane
                  HabaneroJane May 5, 2009 12:48 PM

                  curses, they don't ship to Florida. Any other suggestions out there?!

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