The 3 best wine clubs of 2021
We’ve researched clubs that have quality wines that are good value for money, but the best subscription services tend to be quite expensive. We’ve also outlined a few common pitfalls you should be aware of before signing up, and offer tips on how to choose a wine club if our recommended choices don’t meet your specific needs.
Access to wine
This is one of the best clubs for learning wine, with selected bottles starting at around $ 25. Wine Access’s customer service and temperature-controlled shipping stood out, but it only ships four to six times a year.
Choose Wine Access if you want bottles selected by the sommeliers and you are eager to learn more about the wine you are drinking. This club immediately stood out for its transparency about the selection process, wine range, educational material and free temperature-controlled delivery (a rarity among most subscription services). Among its five club options, we tested The Discovery Club, which includes six bottles of wine focused on a changing quarterly theme. Each wine comes with a detailed information page, which gives an overview of the winemaker and the region, as well as tasting notes and suggestions for culinary pairings.
While we would have preferred a bit more variety with the selection of red wines in our order, it is clear that Wine Access is giving a lot of thought to its club experience. We haven’t tested its Wine Folly Wine Club, but we think it would be another great option for wine lovers who want to learn more about specific regions and styles of wine. Of the wine clubs we tested, Wine Access customer service was also the best, and this club ships to most states. It also offers gift cards in a range of denominations.
SommSelect is another great club for learning more about wine, with sommelier-selected bottles starting at around $ 25. This one is a better choice if you prefer a monthly shipment or want to build your own case. Customer service is less responsive, however, and there are fewer bottles a la carte under $ 30.
If you want more frequent shipments than Wine Access, SommSelect is another great option for wines chosen by sommeliers. We tested their cheapest club, The Explore 4, which includes four monthly bottles focused on a changing theme. We loved all of the wines on our expedition, and appreciated the varied styles and regional representation of the bottles we received. Like Wine Access, SommSelect provided detailed wine information in its mailings. If you prefer to pick your own wines, SommSelect has another club that allows you to create your own crate (Wine Access also allows you to buy crates, but not as part of a subscription). SommSelect also offers organized club gift boxes, if you want to send wine as a gift or if you don’t want to commit to a subscription. For a fee, to avoid spoilage, SommSelect ships its wine using an ice pack during the summer months; it is one of the few wine clubs that offers this option. Unlike Wine Access customer service, SommSelect customer service was slower to respond (every time we called we had to leave a voicemail message and wait for a representative to call us back).
Martha Stewart Wine Co. Wine Club
This is the best club for stocking up on cheap, everyday wines (average bottles around $ 13), with 12 shipped every 12 weeks. The selections were mostly correct, but this service seems less personalized than our other recommendations.
If you entertain often and have room to store a lot of bottles at once, the Martha Stewart Wine Co. Wine Club may be right for you. Of all the subscription services we tested, this club offers the lowest price per bottle – just $ 13 after your initial order, which is less per bottle than at most algorithm-based clubs, like the Winc heavily marketed. The Martha Stewart Club ships their orders immediately after you sign up (which is great if you need a bunch of bottles in a jiffy). The wines from this club weren’t trendy or groundbreaking, but they were good quality bottles (and better than the ones we received from Winc). We enjoyed many wines and thought they would be suitable for serving guests at a dinner party. There were a few hiccups, but considering how many bottles you get at a time, we don’t find that breaks the deal.
The Martha Stewart Wine Co. Wine Club provides a brief overview of each wine, as well as culinary pairing suggestions (more detailed information is provided on the website). If you plan to have your order shipped to your work address (if no one will be home to show ID and sign for your delivery), keep in mind that the box may be too heavy for some people can lift it on their own. If you don’t want to commit to the club membership but still want a lot of bottles delivered for an evening, you can also purchase one-off thematic wine packs.