Wine clubs have been sprouting up in recent years as a result of an increased interest in wine and greater wine consumption. In fact, according to figures from the Wine Institute, sales of wine in the United States went up four percent in 2004. Exports of wine by other countries to the U.S. remain steady since foreign wineries have found the United States to be a lucrative place to do business. For wine lovers and would-be wine drinkers, joining a wine club would bring numerous benefits.
Many wine clubs count expert vintners or sommeliers among their members. But you don’t need to be a wine aficionado to be able to join a wine club. A great many clubs welcome both newbies and experts. They offer much information not only about various wines out in the market, but also about many wine-related topics; for instance, which type of wine should be served with a certain entrée; or news about the latest goings-on in the wine industry.
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Wine clubs offer varying membership programs. For the fee you pay, you will receive wine selections from vineyards whose offerings meet the club’s standards. Clubs can send you their handpicked selections, or give you the opportunity to make your own selections. Most clubs usually send two bottles of wine to each member per month; they can be two bottles of red or two of white, or one of each. Along with the wine, you will also receive pertinent information about them, such as the winery where they came from, any awards, publicity or accolades that have been accorded to the vintner, and a description of the conditions under which the grapes used in the wine were grown.
Wine club membership offers several other perks. For instance, premium members are offered the ability to buy wines at discounted prices. If they have a Wine of the Month program, you can be sure that you’ll realize significant savings from being a member than if you just bought the featured wine at regular prices. Joining a wine club would be a good investment if you are a regular wine drinker — which many people are becoming because of much publicized news about how regular wine consumption has numerous health benefits. Also, most of the wine clubs today offer gift membership program, which you can give to people who would enjoy wine either by itself or with a meal.
Many wine stores or retailers have their own wine clubs, which you can join for a fee. Some clubs offer open-ended programs, meaning you can cancel your membership anytime. You should base your wine club choice on several factors. Are the services they offer worth the rate they are charging? What are their expert credentials — do they have wine experts who can give sound wine recommendations? Do they have additional activities for members, such as wine tastings or perhaps visits to vineyards? You should evaluate these factors and more before you select a club to join. There are hundreds of wine club web sites online, and they provide detailed information on what you get for your money.
People enjoy the benefit of receiving their wine at their doorstep — no more need to zip around to a wine seller’s physical location for a bottle of vino. However, you should remember that most U.S. states have strict laws regarding the shipping of wine from state to state. Perhaps you might consider choosing a club that has a branch in your particular state because in such cases the law is not as strict. This is another factor that you should look at when you are evaluating which club to join.
You can choose to join a wine club that has international coverage — one that features wine produced in the world’s most popular winery regions, and whose membership runs in the thousands — or you could opt for a smaller, more specialized wine club, which focuses on only one or two specific wine-producing regions. Then there are clubs that concentrate on providing only a certain type of wine, such as red, white, or champagne.
As you can see, there are many factors to consider when choosing a wine club to join. But then, as you can also probably see, there are numerous benefits you can experience if you choose the right wine club.