From the wine sales partner for Wine Enthusiast magazine, this California club is a no-hassle way to try new red and white wines from all over the great state. The wine director at WineExpress, Josh Farrell, hand picks each wine for their subscriptions.
WineExpress is the retail arm of Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Who better to select the best wines for a wine of the month club than a company that rates wine?
It's been a long time since we received a shipment from WineExpress, but the last ones we received we felt sent out an uninspiring selection of wine (medium- to large-production and widely available) and were priced too close to retail to be considered a good deal. We'd like to see them include previously-shipped wines on their wine club pages.
California wine clubs are not uncommon these days, and access to great California wines is the reason. This California Classics wine club is a great opportunity to introduce yourself to top wineries and wines from around California.
This wine club doesn't get a great rating from us for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that the price-point for these wines classifies them as a "Premium" wine club on our website (barely). This means the wines are being considered for appropriateness for serious connoisseurs and collectors. Unfortunately we think this wine club is really designed for wine enthusiasts with a reasonable budget.
The second reason we haven't rated this wine club highly is that we're not super impressed with their selections or the company's track record on offering its best customers a better price. They'll give you a discount if you order a wine by the case, but they charge their wine club subscribers full retail. We frown on this... we expect wine stores to reward their loyal wine club customers, not treat them like average walk-in customers.
Unlike the other wine clubs from publishing companies (NY Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Sunset Magazine, etc.) this wine club is owned by its publishing company (Wine Enthusiast Magazine). That changes all of the rules and expectations for this wine club... in the consumer’s favor.
Last Updated: 10/17/2011
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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.
California Classics & More Wine Club