How to Give a Wine Club Gift

How to give a wine club gift

Don’t know much about wine or wine clubs? In this guide I’ll help you sort through the options to give a great wine subscription.

I can’t think of anyone I know (who drinks wine) who was ever unhappy to receive wine as a gift. Their degree of happiness varies based on how well the gift giver did in selecting the wine gift, but some options will please almost everyone.

Learning how to choose the right wine subscription gift for your wine lover is worth spending a few minutes on as you can quickly take a ho-hum wine gift and turn it into a spectacular one.

Buying for yourself? Try my Wine Subscription Guide instead.
TL;DR? Skip straight to my list of best wine club gifts or browse these gift suggestions

FYI: I find great wine deals so you don’t have to. To keep me on the hunt, I earn a commission when you buy wine based on my recommendations.

Please select a state.

By selecting a state now, you will make it easier to know which wine clubs you might want to give as you read my lists and reviews. I'll also present three easy-to-give gift recommendations right now, in case you’re in a hurry.

How does a wine subscription gift work?

The California Premier Series Shipment with Gift+ Announcement The California Wine Club Premier Series Gift pictured with their Gift+ package announcing the gift before the wine arrives. Available with any gift membership at The California Wine Club.

There are three main ways of handling gift subscriptions. There are prepaid wine memberships where you pay for all of the shipments up front, ongoing wine subscriptions where you have to remember to cancel the membership yourself, and electronic gift cards which put all of the control in the gift recipient’s hands.

Companies who focus on sending out curated wine boxes each month typically offer prepaid wine memberships. They let you choose the number of months you want to give for any of their club options and you pay for it all at once, including shipping. These services typically offer “buy more, save more” deals on longer subscriptions.

Companies who offer a personalized wine subscription tend to offer electronic gift cards. These include, among others, Picked by Wine.com, Winc, and Firstleaf. The rationale here is that the recipient should set up the subscription exactly how they want it, in order to get the most benefit from the personalization. Often personalized subscriptions have variable pricing, because the wine selection varies with each shipment, so you give the amount in a gift card that you want to spend knowing that your gift recipient may end up sending some of her own money on wine.

Lastly, there are a few wine clubs who let you pay for a gift subscription on an ongoing basis. I generally suggest avoiding this option as it relies on you to remember to cancel at some date in the future according to the wine club’s shipping schedule. One exception to this is the International Wine of the Month Club which lets you pick a set number of months AND lets you pay as you go to help spread out the cost of the gift.

What kind of wine should I give?

Gold Medal International Series with Gourmet Adventure Gift Package The International Wine Club bottles wrapped in organza bags. Upgrade to include the Gourmet Adventure Package to give a great regional food and wine experience. The Gold Medal International Wine Club.

In a perfect world the answer is: whatever kind of wine your gift recipient likes to drink. Odds are good that if you’re reading this guide, you don’t know a lot about wine in general, and probably don’t know how best to answer that question. Here are some suggestions:

You can’t go wrong with any of these recommended wine club gifts as each of these companies chooses high quality wine for these wine clubs and aims for “universal appeal.”

3-Month Red Wine Club Gifts

California Premier Club

by The California Wine Club

California Premier Club

This wine subscription focuses on good-quality, well-priced wines from small family wineries in California. It is perfect to give as a gift or to join yourself.

Next Club

California Premier Club

Bold Reds Club

by International Wine of the Month Club

Bold Reds Club

The Bold Reds club features International red wines showcasing, yep, bigger and bolder flavors, that are more tannic and fruit forward. These are not your typical easy-drinking wines but they're perfect for pizza, grill nights, and all forms of meat.

Next Club

Bold Reds Club

Garagiste Wine Club

by Gold Medal Wine Club

Garagiste Wine Club

Garagiste is a term which describes up-and-coming winemakers who toil away creating artisanal wines in their, well not usually, garages. If you're someone who wants to be up on the latest and greatest future stars of California winemaking, try the mostly red wine selection of Garagiste wines from the Gold Medal Wine Club.

Next Club

Garagiste Wine Club

More Red Wine Club Gift Ideas

Likes to drink Get them this
Cabernet Sauvignon Bounty Hunter Wine: Killer Cabernet Club
Pinot Noir Gold Medal Wine: Pinot Noir Club
French red wine SomMailier: 3 bottles, 6 bottles, or 12 bottles
California red wine Gold Medal Wine: Garagiste Club
The California Wine Club: Signature Series
Zinfandel or red blends International Wine of the Month Club: The Bold Reds Series
Eco-friendly wine Organic Wine Exchange: Organic Wine Club
MYSA: Natural Wine Club

Or check my list of Best Red Wine Clubs & Gifts for a bigger selection of great red wine club gifts.

3-Month White Wine Club Gifts

Winning Whites

by WineExpress (Wine Enthusiast)

Winning Whites

From the wine sales partner for Wine Enthusiast magazine, this wine of the month club is a no-hassle way to try new white wine from around the world. The wine director at WineExpress, Josh Farrell, hand picks each wine for their subscriptions.

Next Club

Winning Whites

California Premier Club

by The California Wine Club

California Premier Club

This wine subscription focuses on good-quality, well-priced wines from small family wineries in California. It is perfect to give as a gift or to join yourself.

Next Club

California Premier Club

Winc Personalized Club

by WINC

Winc Personalized Club

Winc set out to change the wine industry by finding new ways to get better value to wine drinkers who spend less than $15 a bottle — and they’re succeeding. By delivering a broad range of wine which appeals to every palate, Winc is a standout wine of the month club.

Next Club

Winc Personalized Club

More White Wine Club Gift Ideas

Likes to drink Get them this
Sweeter wine Vinesse: Light & Sweet Wine Club
French white wine SomMailier: 3 bottles, 6 bottles, or 12 bottles
Eclectic wine Plonk: White Wine Club
Rosé The Wine of the Month Club: Rosé Wine Club
Sparkling wine Vinesse: Sparkling Wine Club
Champagne Henri’s Reserve: Champagne Club
Eco-friendly wine Organic Wine Exchange: Organic Wine Club
MYSA: Natural Wine Club

Or check my list of Best White Wine Clubs & Gifts for a bigger selection of great white wine club gifts.

Don’t want to spend $150 or more? Browse my handpicked one-time gifts of red wine and white wine to find something suited to your budget.

You know more than just “red” or “white”

If you’re close with your wine lover and know their drinking habits, there are a world of niche wine clubs you can give them. Use that search box up at the top of the page to get more specific reviews or feel free to contact me for help choosing the right wine club gift. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

This is probably the hardest part of the whole process since you may not know much about wine or what your wine lover specifically likes. You probably fall into one of a few categories regarding your own wine knowledge and the preferences of your wine gift recipient.

You know exactly what they like. They never stop talking about that latest Pinot Noir, their Bordeaux wine store find, or their beloved Napa Cab. Your favorite wine lover has a type and you should buy for it!

You have a pretty good idea of what they like. Either your wine lover has a vaguely defined set of wine preferences or you have a vague notion of what those preferences are. I suggest a more general choice based on...

You don’t have a clue what they like.

Have no fear, I have ideas for you, too! The best advice I can give you is to think about what you know about your wine lover...

Make the most of your wine gift budget

When it comes to wine, prices are all over the map. If you’re not into wine yourself, you might not understand the prices and how they correlate to what your favorite wine lover drinks. If that’s the case, here is a quick breakdown of what you get for your gift money.

Be sure to price your subscription gift including the cost of shipping (some are free, some are not). Deals are usually available during the holidays and other gift-giving seasons like February, May, and June. Shop my deals page for the current offers.

My personal recommendation is to decide on your budget and give the best 3-month wine club you can afford.


TIP
A rule of thumb is that an affordable 3-month wine subscription should cost $140-180 for good quality wine.

Your budget Wine gifts in this price range
Under $150 3-Month Wine subscription: Wine Awesomeness
2-Month Wine subscriptions:
The California Wine Club or The International Wine of the Month Club
1-time wine gifts like wine samplers and wine baskets
$150-250 3-4 months of good wine
$250-500 4-6 months of good wine
3 months of very good wine
$500-1000 6-12 months of good wine
6-9 months of very good wine
3-6 months of exceptional wine

Make a Statement: Give a Year of Wine

For certain occasions, a “year of wine” would be the perfect wine gift. Weddings, graduations, and retirements come to mind, but you can be creative in coming up with your own. There are three ways to do this:

Shop by your budget

Shop by how many shipments to send

How to present a wine club gift

Some wine club services specialize in gift-giving and they’ve set up their gift options accordingly. Most of these subscriptions only offer one way to present your gift and it’s important to make sure you know what these options are BEFORE you purchase the gift.

The California Wine Club Gift Card Organic Wine Exchange Gift Card

Electronic gift cards. In most cases, if you’re sending an electronic gift card, the recipient is emailed immediately when your purchase is completed. If this is the case for the wine club you’ve selected, you’ll want to wait until the big day to place your order.

In some cases, you can enter your own email address and then forward the gift card on the big day, but make sure you check that the gift card isn’t tied to the email address it was sent to.

Some subscriptions go the extra mile and let you set a future date to send the notification when you check out. They should all do this, but sadly, they don’t.


TIP
Choose the "download and print" option so you can create the notice whenever you want and then email it yourself on the big day.

DIY printouts and emails. For most of the curated wine clubs, they offer some kind of personalized gift note option. Either they generate it for you or provide a link to a form where you can set it up yourself. You can then print the PDF and put it in a card or send the PDF via email.

I’ve noticed lately that some of the wine clubs which used to have an online tool for this now ask you to email customer service to request a customized gift notice. It’s an extra step to plan for.

Some subscriptions go the extra mile and let you set a future date to send the notification when you check out. They should all do this, but sadly, they don’t.

The California Wine Club Gift+ Bright Cellars Gift Announcement

Fancy gift options that cost extra. Some wine clubs love to make a big fuss over their gifts and give you options to really zhuzh it up before the wine arrives.

The California Wine Club offers the industry’s best pre-wine presentation package. For $18 extra (just one time, not recurring) you can send a gift box for your wine lover to open in advance of the first wine shipment’s arrival. It contains a personalized message detailing what is on its way, a wine stopper, and a nice corkscrew.

Bright Cellars offers a similar gift package to announce your gift with flair. For $15 extra (just one time, not recurring) you can send a gift box for your wine lover to open in advance of the first wine shipment’s arrival. It contains a personalized gift certificate (because this is a personalized wine club) and a nice corkscrew.

Shop wine clubs with: immediate email notification, plan-ahead email notification, downloadable gift notes.

International Wine of the Month Club gift presentationInternational Wine of the Month Club gift presentation, included Gold Medal Wine Club gift presentationGold Medal Wine Club gift presentation upgrade and bonus bottle of red wine

Wait for the wine to arrive. If you prefer the wine to be a surprise when it arrives, there are options for you, too. Typically gift fanfare is only in the first shipment and includes a variety of options. These are usually included with the gift at no extra cost (though some options do cost extra) and are not customizable. Gift fanfare includes: wine in organza bags or tissue-wrapped bottles, a nicely printed gift note, a nice gift box inside the shipping container.

The Gold Medal Wine Club offers the industry’s best gift packaging on delivery day. My readers get an exclusive deal for a free artist-designed gift box, a matching personalized gift note, and a bonus bottle of award-winning red wine for any Gold Club gift of 3-months or longer.

Exclusive Deal For Gifts. Give a wine club gift of 3 months or longer and get a bonus bottle of wine, a free artist-designed gift box, free gift bags, and a free printed gift notice. Click for This Deal.

If you’re ordering a different subscription from Gold Medal (they have a great selection of premium wine clubs), you’ll need to pay extra for the gift box and custom gift notice (unless you’re giving 12 months or you happen to give your gift during their annual Early Bird Sale in October).

For some services though, you can only add a brief gift message that gets printed on the packing slip. If the presentation matters to you, make sure you check on this detail before you order.

Wine Club Gift Questions

Is there a difference between a wine subscription and a wine club gift?

On the surface, no. Convention dictates that gifts should include gift messaging and hopefully gift wrap. But those aren’t the only differences between joining a wine club or giving one as a gift. Most wine subscriptions are billed on an ongoing basis — they charge your card and then ship you wine. More on the different ways to give a wine subscription gift.

When will my wine gift be delivered?

It depends. When a wine gift will arrive is a highly variable subject. Some wine clubs send the first shipment immediately after ordering, some send it within 3-7 days of the order being placed, and some ship once a month. Additionally, where the warehouse is located that the package will originate from, how far the wine has to travel to reach your recipient, any other logistics/delivery hurdles can drastically affect when the gift will arrive.

This variability is why I strongly recommend choosing a wine club gift that has a send-ahead gift notification so you have something to give on the big day and to let them know the wine is coming.

If you’ve waited until the last minute but still want the wine there by the big day, two-day and next-day air delivery options are usually available (at a hefty premium). Expect delays during the winter holiday season and plan to order early.

What if they don’t like the wine in the gift?

Many wine clubs will replace any bottles your recipient didn’t like and modify their subscription accordingly. My favorite (and highest-rated) wine clubs honor this policy under the term “Satisfaction Guarantee.” This is usually a “replacement/refund” policy, not a money-back guarantee. There are a few wine clubs who offer a money-back guarantee and they get my highest ratings. Be sure to check the Satisfaction Guarantee rating on my review pages if this is important to you.

Does my gift recipient need to be home to receive deliveries?

Yes and no. All alcohol deliveries require an adult signature and this is pretty strictly enforced by the delivery companies like FedEx, UPS, and the local delivery firms used by wine clubs. If this is an issue for your gift recipient, there are two workarounds I recommend: have the deliveries sent to his/her workplace or have the recipient sign up for UPS MyChoice and FedEx Delivery Manager.

Have the deliveries sent to his/her workplace. This isn’t an option for everyone, but if your recipient can receive packages at work, this is ideal. There is always an adult around to sign for a package and the wine will be kept in a temperature-controlled environment until he can bring it home.

Have the recipient sign up for UPS MyChoice and FedEx Delivery Manager. These are free services offered by each of the companies and they are SUPER useful for wine club deliveries. In most cases the recipient can reroute a delivery to another address (for a small fee with UPS) or to a business who contracts with the delivery company (this option is free) — I get my FedEx packages at the Walgreens around the corner from my home when I won’t be around on a delivery day. These services can also be used to manage vacation holds (a big part of why they’re super useful).

Can I send wine to Canada?

At this time I don’t know of any U.S.-based wine clubs that offer delivery in Canada. There are a few wine clubs in Canada that you can purchase from the U.S. for Canadian delivery.

Are there any “bottle a month” wine clubs I can give?

Not exactly. I don’t recommend single-bottle clubs BUT there are some alternatives which offer that degree of affordability for you as the gift giver. I do not recommend single-bottle wine clubs because the economics of them aren’t good. In most cases, you might like to send a $20 bottle of wine once a month. The shipping cost for that bottle is likely around $20 also. This makes single-bottle wine clubs very expensive for what you get and so most companies don’t offer them.

Send a one-time wine gift that fits your budget instead.

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Jessyca Frederick

Guide by: Jessyca Frederick

Inspired by frequent questions from friends and family about different wines and wine practices, Jessyca writes Useful Wine Guides so that people she doesn’t know might benefit from her knowledge and desire to share information, too.