Premier Wine Club ReviewLast Updated: April 5, 2017 / Original Review: September 22, 2010 by WineClubReviews.net
There is much to love about The California Wine Club, not the least of which is their devotion to California's Mom & Pop 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.
The Premier Wine Club is The California Wine Club's entry level club, with two bottles a month shipped to you or your favorite oenophile. 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 7 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.
New Way to Save with The California Wine Club!
We are very excited about the new Case Club (12 bottles, 2 each of 6 different wines) from The California Wine Club for just a little more than $14 per bottle, shipped (plus sales tax where applicable and possibly slightly higher shipping costs in some states).
Note: The Case Club includes more than just the excellent monthly selections from The Premier Series, as you'll occasionally get wines from the Pacific Northwest Series and the International Series, too — fun stuff!
12 bottles seem like a lot? Let me explain it this way...
- Two bottles shipped monthly = $53.95 or $26.98 per bottle
- Four bottles shipped monthly = $79.90 or $19.98 per bottle (Note: You can't order it this way, you have to upgrade it with customer service)
- Twelve bottles shipped quarterly = $170 or $14.17 per bottle
(12 bottles for $156 + $14 shipping & handling)
Premier 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 Premier 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, lucky you! At the time of this writing, you can save 15% on gifts of 3 shipments or more, get free shipping (worth $52) on a 1-year quarterly gift, or get two free bonus bottles of wine in your first shipment (use coupon 2EXTRA). If you somehow miss one of these great offers, you can also get $25 off just for using our website—enter promo code WCR25 at checkout to save $25 on your first order. Sometimes they even send a $25 coupon for their wine store in your first shipment.
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 (the member can also go to the My Account section of the website and rate the wines online). The scorecard conveniently reminds the member 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.
New! Order by the Case Now you can get the same great wines from the Premier Series (including occasional bonus wines from the Pacific Northwest Series and the International Series) for even less. At $14.17 per bottle, the new Case Club is a fantastic deal.
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 Premier 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 is not especially unique—we're also big fans of The Gold Medal Wine Club which operates under a very similar model. What is unique to The California Wine Club is the breadth of wineries and wines they sell, along with their extensive inserts for each shipment.
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.
Unless you're buying for a very adventurous wine-lover—in which case we recommend a Le Metro Wine Subscription—this is among the best wine club gifts on the market. For wine drinkers of any level and any preference, it would be hard to not make a great impression with a Premier Series gift.