Gold Series Wine Club ReviewLast Updated: September 12, 2015 / Original Review: October 12, 2010 by WineClubReviews.net
We've been reviewing Gold Medal wine club for more than five years. Without a moment's hesitation we can say that they have the most consistently excellent two bottle wine club out there. They have an extraordinary expectation of wowing their customers—and their customers' lucky gift recipients.
In this latest shipment—sent to us in full gift regalia just in time for the holidays—we found a personalized gift experience, beautiful packaging, and informative wine literature. The loveliness doesn't stop at the box or the notes, though—it continues into the organza wraps for each wine bottle, color-coded, too.
Being a member of a Gold Medal Wine Club is like being a member of every winery wine club in California. Gold Medal wine club members get very similar pricing to the winery's own wine club members (sometimes better). Of course you do miss out on those fun wine-club pick-up parties, but then again, you get the wine shipped right to your door and don't have to lug it home!
But what about the wine? Isn't it all about the wine?
Because of our historical knowledge of Gold Medal Wine Club, the wineries that Gold Medal works with, and their preference for selecting wines that express a specific region's best characteristics, we'd put our money squarely on these being excellent choices.
The Gold Series from Gold Medal comes with its own magazine called "Gold Series Wine Press." This issue is loaded with wonderful photos and stories about each winery and the winemaker, and also includes food pairing recipes chosen by each winemaker.
One of our favorite things about the Gold Medal wine club is how they really push hard on quality, but also on rewarding their loyal club members. Find a wine you love in this shipment? You can reorder two or more bottles at further discounted prices. If you're a four-bottle member you're rewarded with better discounts. And of course with either membership, the more you buy the more you save.
And of course, like any proper wine club, there are no sign-up fees and you can cancel any time.
Gold Series Wine Club Ratings
At WineClubReviews.net we take an objective approach to our star ratings system. Our written reviews are very much subjective, based on our 5+ years of wine club review experience and our own ideas about what good wine and good value mean. The star ratings are based on 11 attributes that we feel define what a wine club should be. Here is how Gold Series Wine Club stacks up on these traits.
We've been drinking Gold Medal wine on a regular basis for five years now. If you're looking for a taste of smaller-production, family-owned wines from California, this is a terrific choice. They specialize in wineries you probably haven't heard of and turn that into deals that leave similar quality wines from the same regions looking steeply priced. They tend to prefer the more traditional California wine styles—oaky chardonnays and big fruit-bomb reds—because that's what their customers expect from them.
This is an area where Gold Medal shines. Your regular club shipments are up to 40% below winery retail (that's cheaper than what their wine club members usually pay) and they reward you for buying more. Get a 4-bottle shipment instead of 2 and save another 10%. Pre-pay and buy 6 shipments, you'll save another 5%—buy 12 shipments and you'll save another 10%!
We look at three areas when evaluating the discount opportunities offered by a wine club. Is there an introductory offer to sweeten the deal? Are there discounts available for buying more of wines you loved in your shipments? Are there special discounts only available to members?
Gold Medal does not regularly offer an introductory offer, though during peak holidays like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Christmas you'll find free gifts with purchase like gourmet truffles (chocoalte) and wine accessories.
Gold Medal offers generous discounts on reorders, while supplies last—buy 2-5 bottles more and pay the regular price, buy 6-11 bottles and save up to 10%, buy 12-23 bottles and save up to 12%, buy 24 or more bottles and save up to 15%. Four-bottle members save more on reorders.
Lastly, members-only special deals are limited. There are occasionally members-only sales. Since their wines are already very competitively priced, we don't mind that there aren't more offers coming from them.
In six years of working with Gold Medal we have never had a single customer complaint. That's amazing to us. Our usual Internet sleuthing failed to turn up any customer complaints. Kudos to them!
Gold Medal relies on a team of knowledgable wine professionals to choose their wines. At this price range, there aren't any other wine clubs focused on award-winning (hence Gold Medal) or highly-rated wines by professional critics. This adds an extra level of curation to their club which can give you peace of mind.
Note: This rating is our objective analysis of Gold Medal’s satisfaction guarantee—not our assessment of whether or not you’re guaranteed to be satisfied with their wines.
For Gold Medal, this is the weakest aspect of their wine club program and it's why they don't have a 5-star rating from us. They say "Satisfaction Guaranteed" on their website, but what they really mean is that they believe you'll love what they ship, not that they'll replace anything you don't like as most other clubs of this caliber promise.
Their Return Policy
If a shipment is damaged in transit we will replace the product at no additional charge. If the wine is corked from the winery, we will replace the bottle at no charge. On the rare occasion members receive the wrong product, a discount is offered, or the shipment can be returned at no-charge to the member.
What They Say About Refunds on Wine Purchases
Due to the nature of our products, refunds occur within 14 days after bottles are returned to our facility unopened. We do not pay for shipping of returned products, or refund payments if we are unable to restock the wine back into our inventory for any reason.
That said, we'd be genuinely surprised and concerned if you recived a stinker from Gold Medal.
Gold Medal is a more old-fashioned company. If you need to hold your service for a vacation or want to cancel your membership you'll need to call and speak to someone during regular business hours. You can handle reorders yourself online, as well as see a record of the wines you've received and when you received them.
A personalized wine club used to mean you picked the color of your wine and how often you received your two-bottle selection. For Gold Medal, it still does. Some additional personalizations include upgrading to four bottles per shipment and/or adding a Bonus Bottle to each shipment, which is a different wine than the others you're scheduled to receive.
The Gold Medal Wine Club is not especially unique—we're also big fans of The California Wine Club which operates under a very similar model. What is unique to Gold Medal is the quality of the wines at exceptional prices and the special holiday incentives they offer. Their Plus Bottle offer is also unique in that you can really stretch your small-production winery discovery with yet another boutique wine in each shipment.
Like other older wine of the month clubs, Gold Medal sends out a glossy multi-page brochure (called the Wine Press) with each shipment of The Gold Series. It contains detailed tasting notes about each wine, the wineries they come from, the winemakers, and the wine region. They also include food pairing recipes and wine trivia in each issue.
Unless you're buying for a very adventurous wine-lover—in which case we recommend a Le Metro Wine Subscription—this is the best wine club gift on the market. For wine drinkers of any level and any preference, it would be hard to not make a great impression with a Gold Series gift. Remember, send 6 months and save 5%—and if you're thinking of holiday gifting, they always have great bonus gifts in the first shipment!