If you're ready to upgrade to a higher quality wine from California and explore what all of the artisanal buzz is about, this should be your first stop. These mostly red wines from the best small wineries typically retail in the $35-90 range but you pay a much lower price to have them delivered. Joining for yourself means variable shipment prices, but if you buy as a pre-paid gift subscription you'll know your price in advance. Hint: Buy yourself a pre-paid gift subscription instead of joining as an ongoing member.
We spend a lot of time wine tasting in California and are personally familiar with many of the wineries shipped in Gold Medal's Platinum Series. They ship our favorites and must-try wines like Dilécta GSM from Paso Robles, Volker Eisele Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa, and Frank Family Petite Sirah from Napa to name a few.
With such an amazing breadth of white wine being produced in California, we're sort of disappointed that all of the white wine in the Platinum series has been Chardonnay. We'd love to see some bold Rhone white selections from Paso Robles, some Sauvignon Blanc from Santa Barbara, and of course, surprise grapes.
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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 wine club out there. They have an extraordinary expectation of wowing their customers—and their customers' lucky gift recipients.
The Platinum Series by Gold Medal is one of their premium clubs (they have an ultra-premium Diamond Series, too) and at this price-point, Gold Medal continues to bring amazing quality wines at prices below winery retail.
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?
Our latest shipment included the Sagebrush Annie's Cabernet Sauvingon from Santa Barbara County (retail price $60). Let's just say the last bottle of wine we tried from Sagebrush Annie's (an old-vine Merlot) knocked our socks off and this one was also excellent.
The other gem in this shipment is one we're very familiar with. It comes from Dragonette Cellars, one of our most favorite wineries, and it's their 2012 Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir (retail price $60). We tasted this at the Dragonette tasting room in Los Olivos a week before we received this bottle, and we already knew it's a great choice.
The Platinum Series from Gold Medal comes with limited educational materials and a lot of content you'd get by looking up each winery's website. This is probably the biggest disappointment of this particular club from Gold Medal, BUT we promise the amazing wine makes up for this shortcoming.
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.
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 Platinum 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. The Platinum Series, because it has a smaller membership, can work with a broader range of interesting winemakers. This is a great way to turn up exciting gems at a price point we feel is a great range for those looking for enjoyable TGIF wines.
This is an area where Gold Medal shines. Your regular club shipments are up to 25% 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 5%. Pre-pay and buy 6 shipments, you'll save another 5%—buy 12 shipments and you'll save another 10%!
The Platinum Series wine club comes with a two-page brief on each wine included in the box. They discuss at length the winery and winemakers, and then a section covering all the essentials about the wine itself.
In almost 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!
The Platinum Series wine club is not especially unique as there are several other wine clubs on the market in the $40-50 / bottle range. The California-only wines is mostly unique, and the generous buy-more-save-more pricing for Gold Medal makes it the best deal for this type of wine club, though.
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.
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. You can choose all red or mostly red for the Platinum Series, and an additional personalization is the ability to upgrade to four bottles per shipment. If you're giving a gift, you choose anywhere from 1-12 months.
This is a generous and super-awesome wine gift for the wine drinkers in your life. Don't just give someone a wine club, give them quality wine and feel good knowing you're getting it a low price.
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At WineClubReviews.net we take an objective approach to our star ratings system. Our written reviews are very much subjective, based on our 9+ 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 Firstleaf Wine Club stacks up on these traits.
Platinum Series Wine Club