International Selections Wine Club Review

International Selections Wine Club

Wine Club Overview & Details

Wine Club Rating:

This wine club is...

Summary

This wine subscription focuses on high-end, limited-production wines from small family wineries outside the US. It is perfect to give as a gift or to join yourself.

What I Like

They only work with small family wineries, so nearly every wine they ship typically wouldn’t be distributed inside the US.

Improvements

This club doesn’t have a 5-star rating. It doesn’t ship ultra-premium wine and the price isn’t amazing for what you get. Superlatives aside, the quality to price ratio is correct.

Benefits

  • Small family wineries around the world
  • Great gift presentation and deals
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee
  • Eclectic selection

Drawbacks

  • Shipping is extra

Wine Club Ships to

AK AZ CA CO CT DE DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS LA ME MD MA MN MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC TN TX VT VA WA WV WI WY

Don't see your state? The California Wine Club does not ship there. Browse wine clubs by state.

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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.

Coupons & Promo Codes

Deal Get two bonus bottles
Join the International Series and get two extra bottles of International wine in the first shipment. Until Mar 31. Use code ADDTWO at checkout.

Deal Save 50% on membership
Save 50% on your first shipment. Until Dec 31. Use code WCRHALF at checkout.

International Selections Wine Club Review

International Series Review

What is the International Series from The California Wine Club?

Founded in 1990, The California Wine Club is a California company which sells artisanal wines from small family wineries. Their International Series focuses on those artisanal wineries elsewhere in the world than the US. It is available as an ongoing subscription or as a gift membership (you choose the length of the gift). International Series, like all of their subscriptions, comes with an industry-leading satisfaction guarantee and a host of other membership benefits.

Ways to Customize Your International Series Membership

The International Series wine club is a minimally customizable, two-bottle subscription:

  • Wine selection: You can choose one red and one white wine, or two of the same red wine in each shipment.
  • Delivery frequency: This membership can be delivered monthly, every other month, or quarterly.

How much does International Series cost?

The price of the International Series depends on how you’ve configured it. If you are giving a gift, each two-bottle mixed wine shipment will cost $82, plus $21 for shipping and handling.

If you are joining for yourself, your price varies with each shipment, at an average cost of $83 for mixed wine. Shipping and handling is $21 for ongoing subscriptions, too.

Switching to just red wine increases the price to $94 for gifts and a similar, but variable amount for ongoing subscriptions.

Gift-wrapped wine bottles

The California Wine Club kindly offers my readers a generous discount. Save 50% on the wine portion of your first shipment with code WCRHALF at checkout (ongoing subscriptions only, not for gifts). Shipping and handling will still be $21.

Current International Series Deals

Deal Get two bonus bottles
Join the International Series and get two extra bottles of International wine in the first shipment. Until Mar 31. Use code ADDTWO at checkout.

Deal Save 50% on membership
Save 50% on your first shipment. Until Dec 31. Use code WCRHALF at checkout.

International Series membership benefits

Any time you become a subscriber to a company’s services, there should be a benefit to you for loyalty. Sometimes that benefit is discounted members-only pricing and sometimes that benefit is extra perks. Here are the membership benefits for joining or gifting Pacific Northwest Series.

My International Series
Benefits Ratings

Satisfaction Guarantee
Customer Service
Wine Education
Convenience
International Series Unboxing

Unboxing Pacific Northwest Series shipment

Uncorked Magazine, International Series pages

Uncorked International Series example

International Series Wine Review

My International Series
Wine Ratings

Quality of Wine
Price of Wine
Wine Curation

The California Wine Club specializes in small-batch wines from family wineries producing less than 15,000 cases per year. Small production wines typically offer the most character as the grapes are farmed for optimal taste, not optimal yield. Learn more about why these small producers are so important.

I’ve received a few shipments of wine for review from the International Series at The California Wine Club since 2015. Despite not featuring their namesake wine region, I really enjoy this subscription at The California Wine Club. I live in California and frequently travel to small wineries throughout the state, so I don't get the full benefit of their core product as much as someone outside California would.

Through the International Series, I get to experience and understand the benefits of membership at The California Wine Club like an outsider. I don’t travel internationally for wine tasting often (though I’ve tasted in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Provence, and the Niagara Peninsula in Canada) and without The California Wine Club I wouldn’t get to try all of these hidden gems.

Here is the selection of wines I’ve received from the International Series over the years.

An early International Series shipment

Groom Family wines from different parts of Australia I received in 2015

A International Series shipment from 2016

Becker Family wines from Pfalz, Germany I received in 2016

A International Series shipment from 2019

Les Bonnes wines from the South of France I received in 2019

A recent International Series shipment from 2022

Camaraderie Cellars wines from different parts of Washington I received in 2022

Here is a review of my latest shipment of wine from October 2022. The shipment contained one Sauvignon Blanc and one Zweigelt from Austrian winery Michi Lorenz.

Michi Lorenz isn’t just the winery’s name, he’s the winemaker, too. His family has been growing wine grapes in this area of Austria (Sausal, a small, hilly part of southern Styria in the Südsteiermark region) for more than 500 years — and in 1524 the winemaker paid his taxes with wine! The vineyard is biodynamically farmed and is Demeter certified. And as far as I can tell, there’s pretty much nowhere in the US to buy this wine, except from The California Wine Club and the wine’s importer Vero Vino.

Styria (known as Steiermark in Austria) is having a moment in the wine world. The region is becoming well-known among natural wine enthusiasts, a group known for coveting anything unusual in addition to wines that adhere to the loose principles of what it means to be natural wine.

One of the reasons Styria is getting popular is that importers, restaurants, and retailers all want to get the attention (and serve) those natural wine customers. According to natural wine importer Jenny Francois, “These growers are very serious about how they work their vines: the level of attention to detail, to nature, to winemaking — their precision and the way they push themselves to do better every year.”

2020 Steiermark Klassik Sauvignon Blanc Front Label with Glass 2020 Steiermark Klassik Sauvignon Blanc Back Label with Glass

Winery: Michi Lorenz
Wine: 2020 Steiermark Klassik Sauvignon Blanc
Blend: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Region: Styria (Steiermark), Austria
Cases Produced: 200
Winery retail price: $29

I always enjoy trying wine from a new region, especially when it’s a grape I’m quite familiar with. The Austrian expression of Sauvignon Blanc is quite different from most others, especially its region of origin, the Loire Valley in France. Austrian wines are typically tart (acidic) and Steiermark plantings are roughly 55% Sauvignon Blanc.

This particular Sauvignon Blanc was not super complex, but it was bright and food-friendly — a stated goal for Michi Lorenz, who wishes to make wine “not to be loud, and to fascinate people at the same time.” This type of wine goes great with vegetable-based dishes, especially those with tart or vinaigrette elements, and shellfish where it’s a great foil to the inherent richness of crustaceans. If I’d had some nice goat cheese hanging around, it would have paired beautifully with that, too.

2020 Steiermark Sausaler Klassik Zweigelt Front Label with Glass 2020 Steiermark Sausaler Klassik Zweigelt Back Label with Glass

Winery: Michi Lorenz
Wine: 2020 Steiermark Sausaler Klassik Zweigelt
Blend: 100% Zweigelt
Region: Styria (Steiermark), Austria
Cases Produced: 160
Winery retail price: $42

This was not my first Zweigelt and I was excited to see it appear in this shipment. I love Pinot Noir and Zweigelt has similar characteristics, but is more acidic. It was as expected. The palate was “fruity with blackberry, cherry,” and a hint of vanilla from the oak.

When I think about an acidic red, I immediately think of Italian food, particularly the types with a lot of tomatoes. Tomatoes are acidic on their own and need a bright wine to stand up to them, otherwise the wine tastes flat. We paired it with a spinach and ricotta ravioli for which I made a topping from canned tomatoes (and lots of garlic and herbs). It was perfect with that dish, but if you’re more casual, it might have gone well with a red-sauce pizza, too.

How does the International Series compare to similar wine subscriptions?

All of the subscription options at The California Wine Club are curated. This means they are not customized to your palate (a personalized subscription) but instead all of their members receive a customized selection from the same pool of staff-picked wines each month.

Is the International Series a good gift?

Yes! All of The California Wine Club memberships are among my most highly recommended gifts. Whether you’re on a budget or you want to splurge, you can be assured your gift recipient will love what you buy them.

Gift-wrapped International Series wine with Gift+

Here are my top reasons to recommend The California Wine Club above all other clubs for gifts:

International Series Gift-wrapped Bottles in Box

Gift-wrapped bottles in first shipment

Gift+ Packaging

Gift+ send-ahead gift