Wine clubs offer curated trips through wine-producing regions, allowing you the chance to refine your palate, expand your cellar, and sharpen your knowledge. Here are the top 5 best wine clubs for red wine lovers.
Best for: Award-winning reds
What does red wine and computational biochemistry have in common? Plenty, it turns out—at least if you’re a member of Firstleaf, a boutique wine club that delivers hand-selected wines to your door curated by an expert sommelier and, you guessed it—a computational biochemist.
The idea behind Firstleaf is to learn your wine preferences and send you bottles that are precisely chosen to please your palate. Members of Firstleaf are given a short quiz upon signing up to give the sommeliers an idea of what kind of wines you like. But it doesn’t end there. As you continue to receive, taste, and rate your wines, an advanced algorithm created by Dr. Matthew Martz, the in-house computational biochemist, will hone and refine the selections to provide you with the perfect bottles.
Firstleaf allows you to choose all-red packages so that every delivery will include international, award-winning, and exotic varietals of red wine tailored to your liking. The company offers a large, meticulously chosen stock of from all parts of the world. Whether you’re looking for a French gold-medal winner to impress your guests, an Italian Aculina that’s perfect for pairing with a steak meal, or a refreshing Pinot Noir from California that you can sip by the pool, Firstleaf is bound to impress, surprise, and please you with its deft curations.
Best for: Red wines for your cellar...and your Instagram feed
“This Wine Subscription Service Will Change Your Life,” says Buzzfeed in a deliriously, perhaps- intoxicated review of Winc, a hip California start-up that specializes in wine delivery. Whether or not it’s life changing, a few deliveries from Winc is sure to diversify your wine cellar and add some color to your life.
Winc specializes in small-batch, fringe, and up-and-coming wineries, making it a perfect fit for millenials and fans of small craft wineries. Like other wine clubs, it offers a quick flavor quiz to understand your wine preferences, and then offers a continuously evolving selection based on your tastes and feedback.
Winc’s packages include 4 bottles per delivery. You can mix-and-match reds and whites, but if you want all 4 reds you’ll still get tons of variety thanks to its sommeliers, who scout out traditional, international, local, and indie wineries to feature. With selections like California’s Restless Earth Grenache, 2016 Idée Fixe from France, and Winc’s very own Lost Poet Red Blend, created in partnership with NYT-award-winning poet Atticus, Winc delivers an eclectic selection of labels that’ll make you want to save the bottle even after you finish the wine.
3. California Wine Club
Best for: Artisanal American reds
Running for 20 years now, California Wine Club spotlights small artisanal wineries both on the west coast and abroad. The company offers a number of wine club memberships and allows you to customize any of them to include only red wines.
One good bet is the Pacific Northwest Series, which spotlights the artisanal small-batch wineries of Oregon and Washington State. Each package includes 2 hand-picked bottles that sommeliers pick for their quality and distinct regional personality. You can choose the red-wine-only option or break up the order with one red and one white.
With the Pacific Northwest Series you get 2 bottles of wine every two months, along with a guide to the featured wines and the wineries they came from, access to a wine consultant, discounts if you decide to reorder your favorites, and a VIP invitation for tasting and touring.
Best for: Organic and sustainable reds
Plonk features organic, biodynamic, and limited-production wines. The focus is on organic, sustainable varietals from artisanal wineries across the world, and unlike many other wine clubs, Plonk offers a package designed explicitly for red wine lovers.
Plonk’s red wine package gives lovers of the darker grape a global tour of styles, varietals, and flavor profiles. Since it’s designed strictly for red wine, each package offers a nice variety of reds that may include lighter wines like Pinot and Frappato, full-body wines like Cabernet, and specialty seasonal wines from locations as diverse as Europe, South America, California, and Chile.
The red wine club includes 4 or 12 diverse bottles per shipment along with a professional-grade screwdriver and a good collection of supplemental reading with descriptions, tasting notes, and recipe pairings.
5. Bright Cellars
Best for: Reds from around the world
Another wine club that uses an algorithm to pair each member with bottles best suited for their taste preferences, Bright Cellars offers an international docket of wines that have passed a rigorous selection process before being featured.
Bright Cellars first asks you to take a quick quiz in order to glean your taste preferences. Using an algorithm that takes 18 factors of wine into account, the club selects 4 bottles of wine per package based on your flavor preferences and feedback, making it a great choice not only for stocking red wine but learning about its vast types of varietals, regions, and distinctions.
Bright Cellars claims to choose only 1 in every 12 wines it selects to feature. That means that all the wines you’ll receive, such as the Chilean La Cueca Merlot, a South American favorite known for its dark-fruit aromas and pairability, or California’s Obscura Petite Sirah with its bold blend of blackberry, black pepper, and cocoa, will be respected, celebrated, yet never-obvious choices that are great for refining your palate and impressing your guests.