As you stare into the shadows your eyes are drawn to a shiny silver goat, a bottle of the bright blue or maybe something that you can swear is actually a pale ale. Then after 10 minutes of staring blankly you reach out and pick up the same Ernst and Gallo or Jacobs Creek that you always get and feel safe with. Not that there is anything wrong with Ernst and Gallo but come on, there has got to be more out there – you know it and I know it.
You are not alone in the desire to know more about wine, but do not despair, you do not have to grow a big beard or start describing everything as smelling of "burning tires and Cat Pee" to get on with wine. The rise of the wine club is upon us and it can be your greatest ally.
What is a wine club? Well wine clubs (sometimes known as plans) are basically a way to allow you to try new and / or different wines while saving you a very significant amount of time and money. By either paying a reasonable monthly / quarterly fee, most clubs will send you a selection of wines often from across the globe, to sample and help broaden your wine horizons. Alternately, if all you are after is your favorite tipple in large quantities at a big discount, you can make substantial savings buying wine by the case online. How can they give these grades of savings and discounts? Mainly through two methods, dealing directly with vineyards / wineries and by buying in vast bulk quantities (sometimes an entire harvest!).
In the last 5 years there has been an explosion in the number of wine clubs, plans and communities on the market. With the proliferation in the use of the internet, especially by some of the less stereotypical sections of the public (you've got to love the term "silver surfers") wine manufacturers are desperate to cash in. So how does this help you? Firstly it means more competition, which of course leads to better deals and lower prices. It also means that there is a much wider variety of countries, grape varieties and blends coming onto the market and in better quality.
There are over 20 good quality wine clubs on the market now, ranging in price and their offering. Many offer a full money back guarantee and free delivery.
They vary in format with some giving you the option to pay on an ad hoc basis and still get the great discounts they offer. There are also those that take a regular monthly / quarterly payment from you over a fixed period of time and send regular deliveries in return.
Will they continue to spring up and expand? – Almost certainly. There appears to be a significant amount of money in the wine industry and quite a few of the big clubs are willing to offer your first case at quite a significant loss to qualify you to then continue with a plan or wine club . Plus with the opening up of the more traditional old and new world wineries and new countries producing excellent yet very cheap wine there will always be an opportunity for the customer to cash in!