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In the (Wine) Club

Joining a wine club can be challenging, here are a few minority-owned wine clubs to choose from.

by Janelle Rucker

 

There are few greater joys than bottles of wine showing up on your doorstep at regular intervals. I’m talking wine clubs. The best clubs, IMO. There’s never a line and the bar is always stocked with your faves. The music is always your vibe and…the best part…you don’t have to leave the house if you don’t want to. (And if you do, BYOB restaurants and gatherings can’t be beat!) 

Wine clubs and subscription boxes are great for both new and experienced wine lovers. Even for more experienced wine lovers, each delivery can be a new lesson on a certain grape or winemaker. 

“I always look for clubs that feature wines that have a sense of place and come with stories about where the wine comes from, how the wine was made, the producer, and their history,” said Dwight Phyall, Beverage Director and Sommelier, V-NO Wine Bar & Shop in Baltimore, Md.

A great wine club can also help stretch us with wines we might not choose for ourselves when wine shopping. They often also come with member discounts and access to special events.

Wine clubs first started in the early 1970s in California. Today, wine clubs are everywhere with options for every palette. The hardest part of joining a wine club is choosing one (or two?). Here are a few things to consider to quickly start your new favorite way to consume and collect wine.

 

Decide on a wine budget

Wine clubs vary in price based on many factors including the number of bottles and frequency of deliveries. Figuring out how much you want to spend should be the first thing you do. Some wine clubs start at $60 per shipment while others can cost $200 or more. Decide what is affordable to you and continue your search from there. It’s very easy to join a few wine clubs at the same time and end up with a monthly or quarterly wine bill that you hadn’t planned for. 

 

Support your fave winery

If a winery has become your go-to for one or various wines, consider joining their wine club. In exchange for your support of that winery, you get to go on a journey with that winemaker through different vintages and possibly experiments with different blends or varietals. For smaller producers and wineries that aren’t in your area, this is often the best way to get your hands on bottles that can be hard to find locally. If you’re interested in supporting Black-owned producers, the Sip Consciously Directory is a great resource to find out which wine brands have wine clubs.

 

Start with local wineries

When you join a local wine club you get the additional perks of discounts and in-person events. Some local wine clubs have tasting events for members when a new shipment is released, a great opportunity to learn more about the wine and meet other wine lovers in your area. 

Remember, wine clubs aren’t only offered by wineries. Check your local wine bars and wine shops. These clubs tend to reflect the curiosity of the owners and/or wine directors, so if you’ve liked their wine lists or recommendations before, there’s a good chance you’ll like their wine club curation.

 

Pick a theme

Do you love sparkling wines? There’s a wine club for that. Do you want to explore wines from Black winemakers? There’s a wine club for that. Curious about natural wines? You get it.

Whatever your interest, chances are someone is curating a box of wines to address it. Choosing a wine club by theme is the best type of rabbit hole to go down.

 

Be flexible

Signing up for a wine club isn’t a life-long commitment. If you choose a club that isn’t hitting the mark after a few shipments – or if you just change your mind and want to try something else – choose another. 

 

Ask around

Still overwhelmed? Ask around. Ask your friends, your favorite wine educator, or the staff at your local wine shop. Here are some Uncorked & Cultured team favorites to get you started:

Brown Estate Vineyards: Membership to Napa’s first Black-owned winery has some serious perks, including access to the tasting room and the ability to get your hands on some hard-to-find bottles, especially if you don’t live in California. Brown offers three levels of membership and all include tasting credits and a discount on additional bottles.

The Sip: This Black, woman-owned subscription box focuses on high-end sparkling wine. Members receive a box of 2-3 bottles and tasting guides every other month. 

Natural Action Wine Club: Explore natural wine and support BIPOC winemakers with a subscription to Natural Action Wine Club. Members receive four bottles with awesome artistic labels created by BIPOC artists. Proceeds go to education, internships, and career support for Black and Brown wine professionals.

Oneoverse: Explore the wines of Blenheim Winery in central Virginia through the glass of your favorite Black wine professional. Members receive four bottles of Blenheim wines every other month, free tastings, and a discount on other Blenheim wines.

Boisset Wine Society: The Boisset Wine Society provides personally-curated seasonal selections of wines that are 100% customizable to fit your style, shipped from our wineries direct to your home. As a member, you get 20% savings on wine, complimentary tasting at seven Boisset Collection Estate Wineries in California wine country, and access to a personal wine concierge.

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