Using the same methods of wine selection for more than 25 years, The California Wine Club expanded their vision to include an International wine club, too. Get an in-depth look at new-to-you wine regions around the world with all of the perks of being a member of The California Wine Club.
As hard as it is to find boutique wines produced in the United States, it's even harder to find these tiny gems overseas.The fine selections we received were an eclectic pair of wines from Becker Vineyards in Germany; a Pinot Noir and a Pinot Gris. There is much to love about The California Wine Club, but we especially love their devotion to their members. We also like that it's a family business supporting family wineries.
As a general rule, we think The California Wine Club has little they can do to improve. Whether you're buying for yourself or as a gift, they've really done a lot to create a wine club worth joining.
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The International Series Wine Club was The California Wine Club's first foray outside of California, but they've been at it a very long time and they apply the same set of values and judgements to the International wineries as they do to the California wineries. Our latest shipment was excellent — two delightful and familiar wines from an unexpected region — Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from Germany! At first glance, this might look like any other wine club, but when you scratch just a little below the surface, you start to uncover some delightful details.
One of the things we've noticed, reviewing this wine club periodically over the last 8 years, is that as industry prices have gone up—both the cost of boutique wine and the rates their competitors are charging— The California Wine Club's prices have barely moved. They've gone from being a tad expensive to being downright reasonable, offering a greater quality-to-price ratio (commonly known in wine circles as QPR) than their closest competitors.
There is much to love about The California Wine Club, not the least of which is their devotion to California's "Mom & Pop" and boutique wineries, where some of the best value and most interesting wines in America come from. This helps the wine club find great quality wines to ship to their equally-devoted monthly members.
Being a member at The California Wine Club means you get access to:
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 International Selections Wine Club stacks up on these traits.
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?
The California Wine Club has been experimenting with introductory offers, but mostly for their mainstream . However we have an exclusive discount offer of 50% off your first shipment. Use promo code WCRHALF at checkout to take advantage of this deal — for the International Series it saves you $35!!
The California Wine Club offers generous discounts on reorders, while supplies last—while you don't save more when you buy more, the prices start at rock bottom for as few as two more bottles.
Inside each shipment there is a wine scorecard to fax or mail back (you can also go to the My Account section of the website and rate the wines online). The scorecard conveniently reminds you of their 10% reorder discount— one of the biggest benefits of joining a wine club is the reorder discount! They'll also find a $25 credit toward a future purchase, and information about The California Wine Club that makes you look like a wine gift pro.
Lastly, members-only special deals come up all the time. Whether it's presale opportunities or extra discounts in their wine shop, you'll be glad you participate.
Note: This rating is our objective analysis of The California Wine Club's satisfaction guarantee—not our assessment of whether or not you’re guaranteed to be satisfied with their wines.
The California Wine Club offers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee: They'll refund you for any wines you don't love. That said, we'd be genuinely surprised and concerned if you recive a poor selection from The California Wine Club.
What if I don't like the wine?
Although wine tastes vary from person to person, our wines are guaranteed. If you get a bad bottle, we will immediately reship a replacement or refund your money!
We've been drinking wine from The California Wine Club 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 The California Wine Club isn't quite as competitive as similar clubs, but you're always paying less than retail and reorders are marked way down.
In six years of working with The California Wine Club 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 California Wine Club sends out the prettiest assortment of wine info (called Uncorked) with each shipment of The International Series. It contains tasting notes about each wine, the wineries they come from, the winemakers, and the wine region. They also go all-in on food pairing recipes and members-only deals like $1 shipping on case reorders.
The California Wine Club 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 The California Wine Club, it still does. We'd really love to see them offer bigger shipments, too.
The California Wine Club International Series is not especially unique, but it can be clearly set apart from other International wine clubs in two ways. First, you're still a member of The California Wine Club which has the industry-leading customer service and satisfaction guarantee. Second, this International wine of the month club only sends small production wines from boutique wineries, whereas most of the others are shipping large-scale production from factory-style wineries instead of family-owned and operated wineries.
Until recently, curation at The California Wine Club was always handled by its owners, Bruce and Pam Boring. While management of the company has shifted, Bruce and Pam still have a hand in selecting the wines each month. They're not qualified "wine experts" (neither are we for that matter), but they have more than 25 years experience tasting wines that impress their customers, which stands for a lot. We've seen wine clubs come and go and happy customers is the only way you stay in business this long.
The California Wine Club has a new gift announcement option to improve your gift-giving. For an additional $18 you can have this delightful package mailed to you so you can present it in person, or you can have it mailed directly to your gift recipient in advance of the first wine shipment. The package comes gift-wrapped and custom-printed with the recipient's name and what you've ordered, along with a deluxe corkscrew and bottle stopper.
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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.
International Selections Wine Club