Best Wine Clubs for Dad
This value-driven International wine club with a very popular following from the Original Wine of the Month Club ™ lets you pick red wine, white wine, or a mix. Whether you're buying for yourself or as a gift, this is one of the lowest cost wine clubs around.
Paul Kalemkiarian, second generation proprietor at Wine of the Month Club ™ goes out of his way to source interesting wines at rock bottom prices. He always is looking for ways to cram more value into his shipments, and being a member comes with the perk of receiving opportunities to buy addititional wine at ultra-low closeout prices.
Most wine subscriptions in the $12 / bottle price range (does not include shipping) offers wines that have flaws. While we think these wines are better quality than others in this price range, we sometimes we pick up off flavors in the Classic Series selections. We'd like to see a drop more quality control for this subscription.
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This is the wine of the month club that started it all—they literally invented the concept, over 40 years ago. They've got loyal members who are long time subscribers and Wine of the Month Club keeps their prices low to help keep these members in the fold.
There is no other wine club that we know of that works harder to be affordable than the Wine of the Month Club ®. Every aspect of their business is optimized to pass savings onto their customers, from shipping costs to the price paid for each case of wine they order, to their operations and facilities... it's all driving affordability.
That said, in the last several years we've found their relentless pursuit of affordability has significantly affected their quality. Wine prices have gone up industrywide, so despite the negotiating prowess that used to bring in wines at wholesale prices that boggle the mind, opportunities to buy decent wine at these rock bottom prices have more or less evaporated. Our most recent shipments yielded wines that were funky, and not in a good or excusable way.
The best way to look at The Classic Series is this:
My Classic Series Wine Ratings
|Quality of Wine|
|Price of Wine|
Each month Paul Kalemkiaran, President and owner of The Wine of the Month Club, tastes over 400 wines to select the ones that make it into his club shipments. We've been lucky enough to participate in this Tuesday Tasting (sometimes it's even broadcast live on the Internet) and see Paul's process first-hand. The thing we took away from the experience was that he IS selective about the wines that go into the club shipments, but he gives the distributors a pretty narrow price window within which to operate, so the wines he's choosing among aren't the cream of the crop.
Over the years we've been reviewing The Wine of the Month Club, their Classic Series quality has gone down hill. A dogged determination to keep prices low despite every cost related to the program going up (shipping costs, packaging costs, amd wholesale wine prices to name a few) has led to a decrease in the quality of the wine.
There are two things of note here: 1) They're not selling you "bulk wine" which was produced in a nameless, faceless facility and has a random label slapped on it (some clubs do!) and 2) Taste is subjective, but quality is not. Certain flavor profiles do not belong in wine, and we saw a surprising amount of funk in the last shipment we received (July 2014).
To be fair, we don't normally drink wine in this price range very often. If you are accustomed to $7-9 bottles of wine, you'll probably really enjoy the variety you find from The Wine of the Month Club, and the deep discounts on reorders.
The price of these wines are (in our opinion) too high. It's not because the wine is expensive, but it's because the wines should be retailing around $5-7 a bottle, not $15.50. With all of the attention printed inserts (with advertising), fancy packaging, etc., the wines are cheap and you're paying for all the fluff.
My Classic Series
Satisfaction Guarantee They offer a top-tier satisfaction guarantee. We love satisfaction guarantees because it's a major differentiator between buying from a wine club and buying from your local wine store or grocery store.
"You never pay for a wine you do not like. If for any reason at all you don't think the wine is for you, call or email us and we will send you something you do like… no questions asked."
Customer Service Record. The Wine of the Month Club has an excellent customer service record. It's a big part of why they're so successful.
Discount Opportunities. 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 Wine of Month Club is big on deals. Their introductory offer, FOR GIFT ORDERS ONLY, includes a free wine accessory. For The Classic Series, the accessory depends on how long of a subscription you buy. We received a $5 wine vacuum saver from True which currently accompanies the 12-month subscription. Note: This is an important accessory to have if you don't finish a bottle when you open it! The 4-month and 6-month subscriptions come with a corkscrew.
Discounts on reorders are available and steeply marked down from the shipment price for the same bottle. This is a terrific deal if you liked the wine. The member guide shows the 2012 Triada Malbec from Argentina retails for $19.99 (we don't believe this is accurate), the member price is $10.98 (that's what you pay in the shipment), and the reorder price is $7.99 (about what the wine is really worth).
Lastly, they do offer special members-only deals. When they want to close out inventory, they'll mark it way down. We've seen Classic Series wines priced as low as $4.99 a bottle. We've also seen free shipping deals with some frequency. For members, these deals are a great way to a lot of wine at prices that are hard to find elsewhere.
Even more value! When you subscribe to The Wine of the Month Club, you'll also get access to members-only pricing on everything they carry in their Wine Shoppe.
Wine Education. The Tasting Room, The Wine of the Month Club's publication that goes out with their wine clubs, is chock full of information about the winemaking region and the winery, but a little light on info about the wine—our favorite element of their booklet? The drink-by date! This is an important data point that many wine clubs leave out.
Convenience. The Wine of the Month 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 change your address and update your credit card online. They also make reordering easy from your account section.
If you're on the hunt for an affordable wine of the month club gift, this is your best bet. The gift packaging presentation is impressive and the free wine accessory with every gift really adds to the fun for the recipient.
Other delight-generating aspects of The Wine of the Month Club are the charming custom shipping box and the heavy-duty binder to hold all of the recipient's tasting notes.
Note: The gift shipment costs more than the regular shipment.
The Classic Series Wine Club