A few months ago, my friend Shawna posted on Facebook that she was wondering if anyone wanted to try out Club W, a new wine club that she was enjoying. She mentioned that it was very affordable and had some great, new wine finds. Intrigued, I signed up—and it is just great.
Club W works by sending three (or more) wines a month for less than fifty dollars. Good, right? It’s a recurring little deal that just shows up at your place, ready to drink and ready to be rated so you can get more wines. It’s not necessarily a new idea but they seem to have perfected the online, get-and-grade system.
First, everything looks so damn beautiful. Even if the wine is just okay, Club W’s packaging is flawless across the board. It isn’t overly precious or trying to be cool but is instead appealing to the everyday, Internet design savvy. From the website to the bottles, there is a bold, simpleness to the wines. Not all bottles look great but most beg to be grabbed and sipped because they are so cool an unfamiliar.
And why are they so unfamiliar? Because they are only sold through Club W, which is why their labeling is so unique. Instead of going through wine vendors and a process of person to person to person to you, the W works with vineyards directly, taking out all the fat between customers and trying wine. You would imagine that this system would allow for great feedback to vineyards directly and creates a wonderful camaraderie around wine, a conversation between what is working and what is not. Taste becomes algorithmic, which admittedly is a gross thought but is quite good for both little businesses and little drinkers alike in this scenario.
The wines are varied, too. Of the ten wines we’ve tried over three months, only one has been an absolute, one star dud. Of the nine we enjoyed, only two or three have been absolute standout, order-again wines. The rest? They’re good! They’re not particularly memorable but, of wines in this price range, you kind of to try, to taste, and try again to see if you enjoy them. Again: get-and-grade. W delivers the wine with cute little info cards about each bottle so that you get to act like an expert while sipping…or throw them away and see if you like them. When you’re done with a bottle, you go to their site and tell you what you think, causing some sort of wine computer to munch the numbers and predict what you should try next.
Until we get three duds in a row, we’re going to keep this system going because Club W is so affordable, great to share with friends, and, if we want to take a month off, you just click a button and go on a little wine sabbatical. Having done wine clubs that cost over a hundred dollars, this sabbatical thing is nice, especially since you usually have to call the company and complain and complain until they eventually let you go. (Moreover, those clubs are hundreds of dollars and the wine is very, very OK.)
So should you join a wine club? Yes, if you like wine, you should—and I very much recommend Club W. I’ve been in four wine clubs in my life and have cancelled them all after a month except for Club W. We’re still going strong because it’s so cheap and so consistently good to look at and good to taste. To keep paying it forward like my friend Shawna did, here’s a tip: use this code and you’ll get a nice little discount to start using. Cool? Cool. Now wine yourself away and into the weekend.
(Also, a bonus something for Los Angeles residents: since the company is LA based, you get your wine so fast, in less than a day. It’s magnificent. They also do lots of programming locally—and beyond—which you can track on their great blog.)