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Club W is a new kind of wine club—get a personalized list of available selections each month and then choose your own wine. Very flexible in size of shipment and what goes in the box each month. This makes for a great gift, too!
We love the great selection of quirky wines mostly priced at $13 with some better wines sprinkled in. We are especially impressed with the whites and roses which deliver knockout value. We love that you can put as many wines in your box as you want, and that shipping is free on 6 or more bottles.
The wine descriptions tend to purposely avoid helpful terms that experienced wine drinkers look for in selecting bottles (i.e., no references to "buttery" or "acidic"), and the red wines haven't been our cup of tea. It's hard to sell a good red wine for $13, but we think they can do better here.
Club W is not your ordinary wine of the month club—they've essentially reinvented the concept.
You're probably familiar with the model where every month two bottles of wine arrive at your door. You get two wines that will appeal to the broadest number of palates, and that presumably are worth roughly what you've paid for them. Today, when we can buy anything on the internet and companies are bending over backwards to personalize every shopper's experience, this model is becoming outdated.
Enter Club W. They smartly offer a selection curated to your palate, let you choose your own wine, and let you buy as little or as much as you need, er, want.
Club W breaks the traditional wine of the month club model by doing the following:
Club W's selection is aimed at the casual wine drinker who is interested in discovering wines that are more unusual. The bulk of what Club W offers is priced at $13. They're offering you a personalized selection of wines that you won't find at the grocery store, even though these are grocery store prices.
The pricing model and their dogged focus on using little to no wine jargon makes this a great site for people just getting started with wine drinking, a.k.a. rookies. Considering their target audience, the selection is actually quite sophisticated, which makes Club W an excellent choice for experienced wine drinkers, too.
In an effort to make Club W accessible to a broad range of wine drinkers, they use unique descriptions that avoid traditional jargon used by professional wine tasters (i.e., no references to “buttery” or “acidic”). While we appreciate the attempt, the fact is that we're picking our own wines, so we'd like to see some traditional wine terms included in the descriptions, too.
Two things that make us love a wine club include: Great customer service and Unusual wine at a fair price
Club W delivers on both of these fronts. We also really enjoy their “Curator's Picks” selection—wines priced at $19 per bottle. You can order any number of these each month, or none of them if that price is outside your budget, but you don't have to change a club membership level to make that choice.
It is obvious to us that Club W thought about the wine-buying process from top-to-bottom. They really want you to love their service, and it shows.
We mentioned earlier how fun the Palate Profile is. Here's a preview of the kinds of questions you'll be asked... it's worth noting that no wine knowledge is necessary to answer these questions, but it's fun to think about how your answers correlate to your wine-drinking preferences if you're not a rookie.
Your Curated Selection
When you finish the profiler and specify your preference for shipment setup* you are taken to a page with 12 wines on it. The first three wines are the ones most recommended for you based on your Palate Profile results and your shipment preferences.
* We started with 1 red and 2 whites, and quickly discovered that you can really add as much as you want to your wine box... this is very different for wine clubs which usually enroll you in one size/configuration of shipment until you call them to change it. Choose six or more bottles and shipping is free.
You might notice a few fantastic things about this initial wine selection:
The easiest thing to do now is click the plus signs for the three wines in the first row, and then go check out. The FUN thing to do is to explore these wines. There are tasting notes and tasting videos available for each wine. Many of the videos are also educational, like the one we watched about the Geronimo Chardonnay.
Once we got over the fact that we put eight bottles in our box, because we were so excited to try most of the recommended wines, we whittled the selection down to three and placed our order. We were very impressed with the level of detail put into the Club W Experience. Friendly, well-timed emails communicated what we'd selected so far, when our order would be finalized, and when it would ship—and then reminded us to keep our eye on the package tracker and look for the shipment when it arrives (wine should not be left sitting around outside).
For our first order we opted for 3 bottles and used some of our credits to cover the incredibly cheap $6 flat rate shipping cost. On our second order, we smartened up and ordered 6 bottles in order to enjoy the “always free shipping on 6 or more” feature.
From the minute the doorbell rang, we knew we were in for something different... this was no ordinary corrugated brown box, it was a sleek, custom-printed magenta and black beauty—with a handle! Those of us who struggle with lifting heavy, bulky wine boxes can rejoice in the ease of picking up the box by the handle!
We were super impressed with the packaging overall, and think that a little delight before you even open the bottle is a great way to start the experience. Especially when the packaging is ergonomic!
Editor’s Note: Jess reviewed these wines.
I'm a serious white wine lover. Kind of an ABC (“Anything but Chardonnay”) white wine lover, really. I like oddball white wines from lesser-known wine regions, especially French white wine from anywhere but Bordeaux and Bourgogne (Burgundy)—Rhone, Loire, Provence, Alsace, you name it. I also have a soft-spot for Rose, which is not to be confused with your mother's (pink) White Zinfandel.
Why am I telling you that? I was giddy with excitement at the varied selection of $13 white wines. I've never seen a selection like this anywhere—online or bricks-and-mortar.
First shipment: I picked a red wine, too, because I know most of you are red wine only drinkers (that's okay... wine preferences are deeply personal and you should embrace whatever it is you love). I chose a Malbec for my red, because I've had good Malbec's under $15 and though it would be a great test of Club W’s wine-buying prowess. The Malbec didn't thrill me, but I'm not usually a fan of reds that cost less than $18, but it was a good quality wine that would be a terrific accompaniment for any flavor-packed meal.
Now back to those white wines. Remember I had to remove things from my box because so many wines looked delectable? Well, they impressed me every bit as much as I hoped they would. A beautiful 2004 Semillon from Hunter Valley, Australia and a lovely 2010 Sinols Blanc from Catalonia, Spain.
My next order had 2 Reds, 2 Roses, and 2 Whites in it. I also upgraded to a couple of the Curator's Picks for $19 each. Mostly because a winery that I love, Infinite Monkey Theorem from Colorado*, was featured and I wanted to try more of their wines—a Petit Verdot and an Verdehlo (a white Portugeuse varietal).
* The wine is made in Denver, but the fruit mostly comes from Grand Valley. This region, and the Front Range region of Colorado are up and coming wine regions worth knowing about. Impress your wine friends with something they don't know!
We think Club W makes a fantabulous gift idea. (Yes, we know we made up that word.) Most wine clubs are great last-minute gifts because you can print out a gift notice and stick it in a card, but if you plan ahead by as little as a few days, you can deliver a gorgeous, wax-sealed gift card announcing the fun that is to come.
If you’re looking for a way to make regular wine buying exciting and convenient, we highly recommend signing up with Club W. If you’re bored with your current wine club and want to try something new, give this one a whirl. If you’re looking for a great wine gift, you’ve found it.
How it Works
No Jargon. No BS. Just great wine.
Learn as you Drink (or don’t)
Learning about wine should be fun, not overbearing or pretentious. We produce a short video for every wine featuring one of our curators that includes tasting notes and other background information such as the producer’s story, an explanation of the growing region or a primer on the varietal. A QR code on every bottle that we ship will take you directly to the video. It’s an easy, un-obtrusive way to learn about the wine you’re about to enjoy, if you’re so inclined.
Last Updated: 6/29/2014