Premier Wine Club Review

Premier Wine Club

Wine Club Overview & Details

Wine Club Rating:

This wine club is...

Summary

This wine subscription focuses on good-quality, well-priced wines from small family wineries in California. It is perfect to give as a gift or to join yourself.

What I Like

The California Wine Club appears on many of our lists of best wine clubs because they overdeliver on value, customer service, and quality.

Improvements

It's hard to find anything to complain about.

Benefits

  • Only artisan winemakers in California
  • Great gift presentation and deals
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee
  • Wines not available in stores

Drawbacks

  • Shipping is extra
  • Not every bottle tastes like $22

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.

Join the Wine Club

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 Bonus Bubbly
Gift a give of 3 months or more and they'll receive a bonus bottle of Sparkling Wine ($55 value) in their first shipment. Until Mar 31. Click for this deal

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

Premier Wine Club Review

Premier Series Review

What is the Premier 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 Premier Series is the most affordable among several wine subscriptions they offer. It is available as an ongoing subscription or as a gift membership (you choose the length of the gift). Premier Series, like all of their subscriptions, comes with an industry-leading satisfaction guarantee and a host of other membership benefits.

Ways to Customize Your Premier Series Membership

The Premier Series wine club, available as either a two-bottle and four-bottle subscription, can be further customized in these ways:

  • Delivery frequency: This membership can be delivered monthly, every other month, or quarterly.
  • Wine Selection: Whether you choose the two-bottle or four-bottle version, you can choose red wine only, white wine only, or a mix of both (half of each). You can choose to receive all different bottles, or all of the same bottles. If you choose the four-bottle version, you can opt for two of each wine, too.

How much does Premier Series cost?

The base price for a Premier Series subscription is $43.45 for two bottles. Shipping is extra and is $21 to most states. Premier Series gifts of three-months or longer are always discounted (up to 7% savings). They frequently offer additional deals on their gift memberships, such as 10% or 15% off your whole gift order, free shipping, bonus bottles, or even bonus months.

Current Premier Series Deals

Deal Bonus Bubbly
Gift a give of 3 months or more and they'll receive a bonus bottle of Sparkling Wine ($55 value) in their first shipment. Until Mar 31. Click for this deal

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

Gift-wrapped wine bottles

Premier 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 Premier Series.

My Premier Series
Benefits Ratings

Satisfaction Guarantee
Customer Service
Wine Education
Convenience
Premier Series Unboxing

Unboxing Premier Series shipment

Uncorked Magazine, Premier Series pages

Uncorked Premier Series example

Premier Series Wine Review

My Premier Series
Wine Ratings

Quality of Wine
Price of Wine
Wine Curation

I’ve received several shipments of wine for review from the Premier Series at The California Wine Club since 2011.

The wine selections are remarkably consistent, and while their prices have inched up over the years as the industry’s prices have soared, they’ve managed to maintain that consistent quality that keeps their members coming back for more.

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.

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

An early Premier Series shipment

Robledo wines I received in 2013

A Premier Series shipment from 2016

Owl Ridge wines I received in 2016

A Premier Series shipment from 2019

Peltier wines I received in 2019

Another Premier Series shipment from 2022

Brutocao wines I received in 2022

Here is a review of my latest shipment of wine from October 2022. The shipment contained one Chardonnay and one Cabernet Sauvignon, both from Brutocao Cellars (pronounced brew' tuh coe).

A true family winery, Brutocao’s main vineyard, Bliss, was first farmed in 1943 by Irv Bliss. When Irv’s daughter married Len Brutocao, the families joined forces to convert the Mendocino farm into a vineyard. After selling their grapes to well-known wineries in Sonoma and Napa, they began making their first wines in 1980. Still family owned and operated, the fourth generation of descendants has joined the team, wearing many hats as most people do in family-run businesses.

The Hopland Ranches Vineyard Maps

The Hopland Ranches Vineyard Maps

Over time Brutocao has added new vineyards to their holdings, and they now call their Mendocino vineyards, collectively, Hopland Ranches. At the Bliss Vineyard, the Feliz Vineyard, and the Content Vineyard they grow: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Merlot, Sangiovese, Barbera, Dolcetto, and Primitivo (sometimes confused for Zinfandel, but a distinct grape).

Side note: it took some DNA fingerprinting to figure it out—but Primitivo and Zinfandel are actually both clones of a Croatian grape called Crljenak (source: Wine Spectator). A clone is a specialized variety of a grape, cultivated to add certain characteristics in the finished wine — like roundness, acidity, or tannins. Famous examples include the Wente Chardonnay clone, and a group of Pinot Noir clones called the Pommard clones.

Über 2021 Estate Bottled Mendocino Chardonnay Front Label with Glass Über 2021 Estate Bottled Mendocino Chardonnay Back Label with Glass

Winery: Brutocao Cellars
Wine: Über 2021 Estate Bottled Mendocino Chardonnay
Blend: 100% Chardonnay
Region: Mendocino, California
Cases Produced: 1,250
Winery retail price: $22

The Brutocao family uses the ‘Über’ designation for wines that are intensely varietal and delicious. The grapes for this Chardonnay come from the family’s Bliss Vineyard where they grow Dijon and Wente clones.

The official tasting notes: “Aromas of apricot and melon lead in with a hint of white flower and sweet caramel. Cooked pears in vanilla open to bright peaches on the mid-palate, followed by a finish of caramel apples.”

It’s rare, but sometimes when Mitch and I taste a wine, we don’t taste the same things. For Mitch, this wine was all apricot and peach. For me, I perceived less peach and much more vanilla and caramel. That’s what’s interesting about complex wine, everyone gets something different out of it.

Über 2019 Estate Bottled Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon Front Label with Glass Über 2019 Estate Bottled Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon Back Label with Glass

Winery: Brutocao Cellars
Wine: Über 2019 Estate Bottled Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon
Blend: 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 2% “mixed Reds”
Region: Mendocino, California
Cases Produced: 1,980
Winery retail price: $28

The grapes for this wine come from the family’s Contento Vineyard.

The official tasting notes: “Aromas of cola-spiced red fruit with a hint of mocha are followed by bright, dark cherry-spiced fruit in the mid-palate and a long mocha and toffee finish.” This is a popular profile for red wine (fruit, cherry, spiced, and mocha).

This is an example of a wine where I tasted more winemaking that I prefer. That assessment is due to the prominence of “spice” and the mocha and toffee finish. The spice likely came from the fruit, but the mocha and toffee are oak-imparted flavors.

Both of these Über wines matured in stainless steel “with specialized oak staves.” The reality of American wine these days is that if you want something that is complex and inexpensive, you need to find some production shortcuts. Oak staves inserted into a non-oak vessel or neutral oak barrel are one way to achieve the flavors associated with oak without spending big money on barrels.

It’s important to understand how wines are made and how those wine making decisions can change the final product. Given the marketplace's need for down-to-earth prices for California wine, I think this practice was well-executed by Brutocao in these two wines.

How to save money on these wines

If you like the sound of this club, but don’t necessarily want to spend that much per bottle, I’ve got great news for you. The California Wine Club also offers a Case Club Series where you can get twelve bottles per shipment for $180 plus $21 shipping and handling. Like the Premier Series, you can still choose red wine, white wine, or a mix of both. Further, these are all the same high-quality wines you’d expect from Premier Series but you pay just slightly more than half the price.

Here’s how the math works out:

Shipment price Price with shipping Bottle price Bottle price with shipping
Premier Series $43.45 $64.45 $21.73 $32.23
Case Club $180 $201 $15 $16.75

There are some important considerations to choosing the Case Club over Premier Series:

Join the Case Club and save.

How does the Premier 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 Premier 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 Premier Series wine with Gift+

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

Premier Series Gift-wrapped Bottles in Box

Gift-wrapped bottles in first shipment

Gift+ Packaging

Gift+ send-ahead gift