That’s where wine clubs come in. Affordable wine clubs can make all the difference when it comes to enjoying and collecting wines, and with the proliferation of services these days that curate bottles for you while slashing prices on some of the most celebrated and palate-pleasing wines out there, it’s become easier for connoisseurs of all levels to up their cellar game.
Whether your goal is to stack your wine cellar, entertain guests, refine your palate, or simply enjoy a bottle with dinner, affordable wine clubs can make all the difference in your approach to the vineyards and their yield. An affordable alternative to liquor stores, wine clubs also provide education and access to small-batch and up-and-coming wineries. Here’s a look at the most affordable wine clubs that will give you many reasons to raise your glass.
What you pay: $79.95 (plus $9.95 shipping)
What you get: Six bottles of wine (750ml per bottle)
Price per bottle: $13.32 per bottle
Firstleaf stewards award-winning wines from France, Spain, Argentina, and top wine regions around the world straight to your doorstep at prices that don’t seem to reflect the awards on the labels. By cutting out the middleman, this wine club is able to connect members with high-quality wines at low prices, allowing them to stock up their cellar, impress guests, and sample celebrated wines from around the world.
When you first join you’ll get 3 bottles for $5 each. From there on you get 6 bottles every 2 months based on your feedback. If you subscribe to Firstleaf you’ll have access to wines that start around $13 per bottle, granting you access to finer wines at prices you’d be hard-pressed to find in your local liquor store.
2. Wine Insiders
What you pay: $66
What you get: 6 bottles of 2015 Secrets De Bordeaux Rouge
Price per bottle: $11
If you’re looking to fill out your cellar with some award-winning French labels on the cheap, Wine Insiders’ Secrets De Bordeaux Rouge package is a good place to start.
A big winner at the 2017 Monterey International Wine Competition, the 2015 Secrets De Bordeaux Rouge took awards for Best in Class and Best French Bordeaux. It’s a blend of Cabernet and Merlot with notes of fruit, vanilla, and mocha that make it the perfect pairing with roasted meats and cheeses.
Wine Insiders is offering this package until it runs out, but even after the Secrets De Bordeaux is gone you’ll be able to find similar deals, which is what makes Wine Insiders one of the most reliably affordable wine clubs out there. The site lets you search for wines by type or region, but if you’re looking for a cheaper option, head over to the wine sets page, which features numerous bundles of quality wine priced under $100.
3. Wine of the Month Club
What you pay: $74.88 plus shipping
What you get: 6 bottles
Price per bottle: $12.48
If you’re indecisive, just starting to build your wine collection, or interested in learning more about varietals and regions, Wine of the Month Club is a solid choice that can help you stack your cellar without breaking the bank.
The cellar series is an affordable mid-level package that gives you some choices and leaves the rest up to the experts. You choose the ratio of whites and reds you’d like in your box, and the club’s in-house sommelier will hand-pick each bottle for you from the Classic, Vitners, or Limited Series wines. Every box includes six bottles plus recipes and cellar tips, which, at around $12.48 per bottle, makes this a sustainable, affordable wine club that you can rely on for learning and experimenting with wines.
What you pay: from $39.99
What you get: 4 bottles of wine
Price per bottle: starting at $12.99
Memberships to Winc cost nothing, which is about as affordable as they come. Of course you have to buy the wine, but at $39.99 per box or around $12.99 a bottle for hand-picked, small-batch, and fringe vineyard wines, it’s a great way to explore some of the rarer and more underground labels out there.
Customers can purchase wine without being a member, though the free membership offers enough discounts and priority access to make it worth it—and even enjoyable—to sign up, take the Palate Profile quiz, and join the ranks of these passionate deep-cellar-diving sommeliers.
In addition to curating exciting and underground wine packages, Winc also creates its own wine. Explore the site to take advantage of its own yield as well as its sommeliers’ choice picks, which will impress your friends, broaden your palate, and introduce you to hip smaller vineries at a maintainable low price.
5. Tasting Room
What you pay: $149 plus 19.99 shipping
What you get: 12 bottles every 2 months
Price per bottle: $13
Unlike other wine clubs, Signing up for Tasting Room doesn’t involve a questionnaire. It involves drinking.
While some wine clubs will ask you a series of questions to get a sense of your taste preferences, Tasting Room sends you an actual box of mini bottles for you to sample and rate. The personalized process doesn’t stop there though. After every shipment of wines you receive, you’ll be asked to rate your wines so that Tasting Room can continuously tailor its selections to your palate.
Members are privy to a huge selection of wines from France, Italy, Argentina, and Napa, all at up to 60% off retail price. By importing wine in cargo-tanks and bottling them in California-based bottling facilities, Tasting Room is able to provide high-quality, affordable wines every month. What’s more, this wine club is using your feedback to constantly evolve its selection process, thereby making sure you get your money’s worth by sending wines that are tailored to your preferences in flavor, region, grape type, and distinction.
What Makes a Wine Club More Affordable Than a Liquor Store?
There are many reasons wine clubs are more affordable than heading to your liquor store, ranging from partnerships with large wineries to bulk-importing to buyers’ savvy on the part of experienced sommeliers. Sites like Firstleaf cut out the middleman to get you better deals on wines, shipping large cargo-tanks of award-winning wines and then bottling them locally.
Clubs like Wine Insiders, meanwhile, scout out final batches, previous-years’ award-winners, and age-worthy wines that it then packages together at prices that make your mouth water before the wines themselves have a chance to. Anybody interested in wine will find that an affordable wine club will not only save them money and build up their cellar, but expose them to prestigious wines and small-batch wineries than can transform them from an amateur into a budding oenophilia in no time.