clubbing it!

M
By Debbie Gioquindo,

The Benefits of
Joining a Wine Club

CTC , CSW, WLS

y first experience with a wine club was after a
week of wine tasting in Napa. I don’t want to
date myself, but at the time wine clubs weren’t
that common—but I knew I wanted to join one.
So when I returned from my trip, I signed up for
a wine club in California, and one in the Hudson Valley. As a
wine region, the Hudson Valley was in its infancy then so
there weren’t many options. I’m proud to say, though, that
fifteen years later I am still a member of that same club!

Nowadays, almost every winery has a wine club or some
variation of one—perhaps it’s called a case club. In any case,
membership in a wine club has its benefits besides having
a nice variety of wine delivered right to your door.
Making the Case for a Club
When you are at a winery and tasting wines, it’s very tempting
to want to join the wine club because you are enjoying the
experience and can get caught up in the moment. A good
winery employee will tell you about the wine club offered there
and about the member benefits. For instance, your tastings
may be complimentary, there may be a percentage discount
on your purchases, and you may have access to private
parties. Your first instinct is, “sign me up!” But wait, is a wine
club for you?
Before signing on that dotted line (with the hand not
holding your wine glass), here are a few things to consider:
You really like the wine. You live quite a distance away
and/or the wine isn’t distributed in your state. You won’t
be able to pick up a bottle in your local wine shop. Join.

Shipping. Due to complex interstate liquor laws that date
back to just after Prohibition, not every winery can ship
to every state. Even if your state does allow wine
shipments, the winery might not have the special license
it needs to do so. Make sure you ask before signing up.
How long is the commitment? With some clubs, you
must sign up for a year; you can cancel after a few
months with others. Read the fine print.
The cost of joining a wine club might be reasonable, but
remember shipping and tax are usually additional.
Shipments are often automatically charged to your credit
card on file with the winery, so make sure you have the
budget for a recurring charge before committing.

With some wine clubs you have a choice of red or white wines,
but most offer a mixed selection. Not all club selections will
please your palate, but that’s okay. You may be pleasantly
surprised when you don’t think you’ll like a certain wine, then
once you open it, you’re looking to order a case more. Keep an
open mind! A winery values your club subscription just as
much as you enjoy their wine, so sometimes you may receive a
wine in your club shipment that’s produced in a limited
quantity, and it may only be available to you as a club member.
Once you join a wine club you will become part of the winery’s
family. When you attend special events at the winery for
members only, chances are you’ll get to know the owners and
winemakers personally. New friendships will be created and
your wine experiences will be elevated to the next level. As I
said, membership has its benefits!

A look at eight Hudson Valley wine clubs that really deliver:
If you aren’t a wino now, you
will be when you join
Applewood Winery’s Wino
Club! With a quarterly
commitment, you will receive
two bottles of wine in February,
May, August, and November.
BENEFITS: 20% off wine
purchases, free wine tasting
when you visit the tasting
room, and discount tickets to
their events. Occasionally,
Applewood will have special
events for their Wino Club
members that will include
special tastings and limited
edition wines.

68

HUDSON VALLEY WINE • Summer 2015

Whitecliff Vineyard’s wine club
is a one-year commitment of
twice-yearly shipments—one in
February and one in August.
You can choose either a half
case (six bottles) or a full case
(12 bottles). The selections
you’ll receive can be the
winemaker’s selections, or you
can choose based on wine
availability at the time.
BENEFITS: Receive a 20%
discount per case for a
full-case member, and 10% on
a half case for the half-case
member, complimentary wine
tasting for you and up to three
guests when you visit, and
10% off any wines purchased
in the tasting room. Plus,
access to exclusive and limited
run wines.

Palaia Vineyards offers a
quarterly wine club, which
means you’ll receive one red
and one white wine in
February, May, August and
November. You must commit
to the entire year.
BENEFITS: 20% discount on
the wine, and 25% off your
order the day you sign up. On
other visits receive 20% off
Palaia’s products. Each wine
shipment includes a voucher
for a complimentary tasting for
four, and you also receive
discounted tickets for two to
Palaia’s events.

You are automatically eligible
to enroll in Robibero Winery’s
case club when you purchase
a case of wine in the tasting
room (at a 10% discount).
BENEFITS: Receive a discount
card that entitles you to a
tiered savings based on the
number of bottles purchased.
Card is valid for one year. (If
you purchase more than three
cases of wine during the year
you are entitled to 20% off for
the entire year.) You will also
receive a complimentary
tasting for four in their tasting
room, 10% off all tickets for
winery events, and 10% off
tasting room merchandise.

Millbrook Vineyards & Winery
offers three types of wine
clubs: Portfolio Club, Portfolio
Plus Club, and Case Club.
With the Portfolio Club, you
get two wines delivered every
other month, with tax and
shipping included. The Portfolio
Plus Club includes the regular
Portfolio Club shipments along
with alternate wine selections,
such as Vineyard Designates,
Reserve Wines, and Limited
Production wines.
BENEFITS: 15% discount on
retail bottle prices, enrollment
in the Case Club and their
Purchase Credit Account (PCA)
Rewards Program.
The Case Club requires that
you purchase one case of wine
annually, either in the tasting
room or online.
BENEFITS: Complimentary
wine tasting for members,
discounts on all winery events,
advance notification of wine
releases, exclusive membersonly discounts, enrollment in
their PCA Rewards Program,
and free custom wine labeling.

Managing Contents
Make sure an adult is home to accept your shipments, as
wine has to be signed for by someone aged 21 or older. If
you’re like me and you weren’t on a first name basis with
your UPS or Fedex delivery person, you will be once you
sign up for a wine club.
Before you open a bottle, allow the wine to rest for at least
a week or more. Your wine may have “bottle shock” from
bouncing around in the delivery truck, so you’ll need to give
it some time to settle down.

Now, you can finally sit back and enjoy your rewards!

Purchase a case of wine at
Hudson-Chatham Winery and
you are automatically enrolled
in their case club. Membership
duration is 12 months and
renews with the next case of
wine purchased the following
year.
BENEFITS: Tiered percentage
off your wine purchases based
on the number of bottles
purchased (maximum is 20%
off a case), 10% off any winery
event tickets, and a complimentary wine tasting for you
and up to four guests in the
tasting room.

Glorie Farm Winery has a
case club membership which
requires you to purchase one
case annually in their tasting
room.
BENEFITS: A tiered-level
discount depending on how
many bottles you purchase,
and a free standard wine
tasting for you and up to five
guests.

www.hvwinemag.com • Summer 2015

69

WINE COUNTRY TRAVEL

My advice: Knowing that you can’t sign up for a wine club at
every winery you visit, you might want to start by joining one
or two of your favorites. Then, after a while, change it up and
join a few different ones.

Benmarl Winery’s wine club
requires a yearly commitment
of four bottles shipped three
times a year. You have a
choice of red only, white only,
or a mixed case.
BENEFITS: Complimentary
wine tasting, 15% off wine
purchases at the winery,
invitation to a member’s only
Spring Barrel Tasting Gala, and
admission for two to their
annual Bud Breaking Festival,
Sangria Festival, and Harvest
Grape Stomping Festival.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.