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Normally, we try to steer clear of drinking alone, but these are far from normal times. And given the current predicaments we find ourselves in—bars, restaurants, and clubs shuttered, big events and weekends in wine country cancelled, socializing with people outside your household highly discouraged—sipping solo is often the only option and sometimes, sadly, a much-needed comfort. (In fact, online alcohol sales have spiked during the pandemic according to market data).
Luckily, in a twist of universal good fortune, it has never been easier to get high-quality vino from producers around the world, delivered from appellation to your address in record time thanks to the best online wine clubs.
Whether you’re mad for Malbec, gaga for Gamay, or crazy for Chianti, there’s a club for you. Are you a newbie who appreciates lengthy tasting notes, or are you ready to dominate the sommelier exam? There’s a club for you. Watching your wallet closely or itching to spend that stimulus on all the Sangiovese? There’s a club for you too. Even if you only want to drink biodynamic wine made by women, yeah, you guessed it — we’ve found a wine club for you.
“There’s a club for all of it; so many options out there, each curated with a different perspective,” says Coly Den Haan, som/owner of Los Angeles’ boutique Vinovore and curator of her own monthly club, WOLFPACK. “Wine clubs are an amazing way to try new wines that might not be on your radar or in your normal drinking comfort zone. Some people love taking the thought out of what to buy and there’s something to be said for the ease of wines that feel like a little surprise present coming to your door,” she continues. “Clubs also make sure you have wine stocked for a special dinner, a gift in a pinch, or a cure for a bad day.”
To ensure you’re covered should any of those need-bottle moments arise, or if you’re simply looking to expand your palate and continue your wine education beyond the limited inventory of the corner bodega, we’ve rounded up 12 of the best wine clubs to try online.
1. Dry Farm Wines
Best Wine Club For: Natural wine fans and people following paleo, keto, or low-carb diets
If Los Angeles was a wine club, it would be Dry Farm, as its monthly selections must meet stringent requirements that read like a buzzword checklist: organic, biodynamic, handcrafted, small batch from small family farms, sugar-free, low ABV, lower sulfites, dry-farmed, eco-conscious, sustainable, and friendly to those who follow paleo, keto, or low-carb diets. To ensure these qualities are met, the largest natural wine club in the world even gives each vintage a purity test in a lab. Most of their picks are sourced from major wine regions in Europe like Spain, Italy, and Germany. But they continue to add players from lesser-known wine-producing countries like Croatia, Austria, and Hungary as well as South America.
Timing and Pricing: They curate monthly or bi-monthly shipments of three (rosé and sparkling only), six, or 12. Rosé trio is $88 while sparkling will set you back $99. Red only, white only, and mixed boxes are $159 for 6 or $299 for 12. The one-time order capabilities make it a hassle-free present and the good replace/refund policy makes it a worry-free personal purchase.
Best Wine Club For: Personalized pours
One of the first direct-to-consumer online wine memberships, California-based Winc was established in 2012 and now creates and bottles all of its inventory, including a clean collection called Wonderful Wine Co. and an assortment of vegan vinos. The first step is answering six questions that allow them to profile your palate and then make four recommendations that match your mouth feel. After enjoying them at home, you rate them, which further refines your profile and their recommendations. And they believe so strongly in their algorithm, that they will never make you pay for a bottle you didn’t like. This club is one of the only ones that throw hard ciders in the mix.
Timing and Pricing: Starts at $13 a bottle plus shipping. Customers chose how much they want to order and can either choose exactly what they want to receive or leave it up to Winc to decide. Bulk buying of 12 or more bottles earns a discount. A successful referral scores credit. There are no charges to skip months or cancel. It also doesn’t cost extra to upgrade to Winc Select for more prestigious and premium wines.
3. Martha Stewart Wine Co.
Best Wine Club For: Stewart stans and perpetual hosts
Not only does the OG doyenne of domesticity handpick all the wines offered in her namesake club, Stewart also provides exclusive serving, pairing, and entertaining directions and suggestions, which makes this is a particularly good club if you’re gunning for that “hostess with the mostess” title amongst your friends (you know, once it is safe to return to party throwing).
New members all start with the same group of bottles, carefully curated to give a comprehensive introduction to her cellar. Stewart is particularly keen on Italian and French varietals, but her inventory hails from all over the globe. Opt for all red, all white, or a mixed club. Sometimes the mixed club contains something with bubbles or sweet dessert swigs. The best part: if you don’t love the wine, they’ll replace it for free. (That’s how confident M. Diddy is in her taste.)
Timing and Pricing: A half-case every six weeks is $8.33 a bottle or get a full case of 12 every eight weeks for $7.49 per bottle. Skipping shipments and pausing or canceling your subscription is easy.
Best Wine Club For: Solo imbibing, people whose palettes are easily bored
Introduced in 2017 by Rachel Vodofsky and Matt Dukes, this quarterly club has been kicking glass and taking names ever since. The club’s box-o-plenty is part art piece, part convenient storage, and part science project as each contains nine single-use test tubes of European wine. The by-the-glass approach is well suited to solo drinkers, slow consumers who have a hard time finishing bottles before they turn, and folks who live for variety as the team of sommeliers mixes together just-corked concoctions, old-world makers, blends from up-and-coming regions, or decades-old gems found deep in cellars. You’re just as likely to get timeless an amphora-aged white as a medium-bodied Mencia from Spain or a vertical from Bordeaux.
Timing and Pricing: Boxes are released every three months. Purchase one for $79, two for $158, or a full-year of vials (four boxes saves you $28) for $288. During the holidays, they offer a fan-glasstic 12-night advent calendar for $129. Annual members receive $30 in full-sized bottle credits every quarter while quarterly members get $15, which is great for when you sip something you simply must have more of.
5. Bright Cellars
Best Wine Club For: Data-driven deep dives to discern your preferences
Milwaukee has long been known as a beer town, but when two MIT grads used science as a starting point for a wine subscription service there in 2014, the town scored some street cred with the Sauvignon and Sangiovese crowd. Like Winc, the Bright Cellars experience begins with a quiz about your food and beverage preferences. Answers to “How do you take tea?” and “What’s your favorite type of chocolate?” are fed into a formula, which matches your results to wines from around the globe. Everything they carry has been assessed by a proprietary 18-attribute scoring system and the generated ratings are used to identify your ideal liquid mates. Reviewing your lot leads to more data points and in turn increased compatibility on your next order. Tasting cards are heavy on education for those wetting their whistle. A premium level is available and will welcome sparkling editions in 2021.
Timing and Pricing: Your Bright future includes either four or six-unit subs at $20 per bottle. New members get 50 percent off their first delivery. If you get coupled with a varietal you’re sure you won’t enjoy, you have 24 hours to sub something else. It only takes a quick text, email, or call to adjust or skip shipments.
6. Plonk Wine Club
Best Wine Club For: Biodynamic wines, unique winemakers, untapped winemaking regions
Ever tippled a Teroldego, feasted with a Fiano, or uncorked the wares of Armenia, Uruguay, or Slovenia? We hadn’t either until this decade-old club came into our lives. Owner Etty Klein, certified by both the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and the American Sommelier Association, culls from the world’s natural, organic wineries. She’s a sucker for small batch, wild/native yeast fermentation, indigenous fruit varieties, minimal intervention vineyard practices, unfiltered vintages, and underrated untapped wine countries. Cheekily named a British slang term for cheap wine, first shipments include a double-hinged corkscrew. Other bonuses? Members can cancel or skip shipments any time and ordering extra servings of your favorites is easy in the online shop.
Timing and Pricing: There are a lot of choices to make. First, do you want four ($110 a month), six ($160 a month), or 12 bottles ($285 a month)? Do you want them to show up monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly? Should the box include all red, all white, or have a mix of red, white, rosé, and sparkling? And finally, is it a gift? Prepaid three-, six-, and 12-month subscriptions are sure to be a hit, even with those typically difficult to shop for.
7. Blue Apron
Best Wine Club For: Foodies who crave dinner and a drink
Most people know the name Blue Apron as a meal kit delivery company. Far fewer realize BA is also a full-fledged winery licensed to ship its in-house creations to 31 states and DC. While you can forego the food service and opt for wine-only, the boozy side of their business makes an ideal companion for the convenient dinner arm, as entrees are scheduled to line up with the wines on offer each month.
Each small bottle (500ml instead of the usual 750) is perfectly-portioned for two to enjoy over one meal. Wines are assigned across 12 flavor categories, providing an easy-to-follow flow for pairings. Your education is continued in a hefty booklet.
Timing and Pricing: Six mini-bottles a month costs $65.99. You can also order a la carte by the themed bundle (think warming wines or a potluck pack) which are made up of three to 12 bottles. Prices vary depending on the bundle, but you can always include a message if it’s a gift.
8. Wine Awesomeness
Best Wine Club For: Simple, no-frills wine from around the world
No quizzes, no gimmicks, no elaborate packaging, no experimenting with making their own, and, most importantly, no pretense or snobbery. Just a reasonably priced product that arrives quickly and goes down easily. The Brooklyn-based founders of this eight-year-old merchant wholeheartedly believe wine is a vehicle for travel and so they scour the world from top to bottom to find captivating folks making interesting, occasionally boundary-pushing wines. Some of their picks even come canned. The digital wine cellar includes tasting notes, winemakers’ stories, recipe pairings, suggestions on what to listen to while enjoying, personal ratings, and reviews. Time to hit the awesome sauce!
Timing and Pricing: A three-bottle membership is $49 a box while the six-bottle box will set you back $79. Both memberships come with a first stab at new, unlisted, and small-batch wines, free delivery, monthly member perks, 20 percent off reorders, and wine cellar access.
9. Orange Glou
Best Wine Club For: Orange wine aficionados and adventurous sippers
Orange is the new mack in grape-geek imbibing and this is the world’s first and only subscription service dedicated to this rare and highly allocated type. And before visions of overly sweet mass-market Moscato cause you to turn up your nose, know that no citrus is involved in the winemaking process. Instead, the name refers to the distinct golden and tangerine hues created when white grapes are treated like red grapes, with the juice staying in contact with the skins after pressing. Used in Georgia for centuries, the technique has become quite trendy of late. Founder Doreen Winkler, a sommelier who created award-winning wine programs at many of New York’s finest restaurants like Michelin-starred Aska and Aldea, can walk Orange virgins through their first time with a virtual tasting that includes three wines, two handmade crystal glasses, and 45 minutes of her time. Her tasting notes are thorough with vinification method details, skin contact timelines, pairing ideas, and concrete directions on when you should consume each bottle by. (More people should do the latter.)
Timing and Pricing: This club is pricey but for daring drinkers, the juice is worth the squeeze. There are three-bottle and six-bottle monthly options for $105 and $195 respectively. If you aren’t sure skin-contact style will be your jam, chose one-time surprise boxes of three ($115) or six ($205).
Best Wine Club For: Supporting female-owned businesses and lady winemakers
The aforementioned Angeleno Coly Den Haan is the leader of the pack when it comes to natural wines made by women. It’s her Silver Lake shop’s specialty and the club is a continuation of her mission to spread the gospel of girls and their grapes in a knowledgeable but lighthearted way. There are two club categories: “Hair Of The Dog” (two or three bottles in each shipment) and “Party Animal” (four or five bottles a month). Both come in all red, all white, or a mixed bag that can include Rosé or her private label. A more intimate operation than many of her list mates, Vinovore is only authorized to ship to 13 states currently. Locals who are thirsty like the wolf can swing by for pickups, which is a good excuse to cash in on the 10% in-store discount that comes with enrollment.
Timing and Pricing: Hair Of The Dog is $45 month-to-month, or you can prepay three months for $129, six months for $243, or a full year for $360. Party Animal is $75, $214, or $720 (annual). Unlike many of the other clubs, you have to commit to at least three months of membership.
Best Wine Club For: American wine
In 2015, three Windy City wine enthusiasts—one of whom is a Certified Specialist of Wine—built a direct-to-consumer platform that cuts out two of the traditional middlemen (wholesale warehouses and retailers) in a bottle’s journey from the stem to your stomach, which in turn cuts costs and saves subscribers’ money. The Chicago crew classe specializes in domestic wineries, paying special attention to those that are women-owned and/or farmed, and produced organically and naturally, and now cull shipments from 110 regulars, most of which are artisanal labels you’d rarely find outside the county they were fermented in. Last November, they launched the Collectors Club, which features only their makers’ rarest and highest-scoring reds.
Timing and Pricing: Club prices range from $79 to $649 a month. As the number ordered goes up, the per-bottle price goes down. At signup, members select the club type (all red, all white, mixed, or Collectors), frequency (monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly), and quantity (three, six, or 12 bottles). Settings can be switched anytime to fit changing needs and users can easily skip shipments or cancel altogether.
12. Cellar 503
Best Wine Club For: Pacific Northwest pours
Those with a passion for Pinot Noir know that Oregon’s Willamette Valley produces some of the best in the world. But the Beaver State’s grape beverage industry has so much more to offer, which is why Carrie Wynkoop started this Oregon-only club in December 2014. She personally pulls selections—often to fit a theme like Italian varietals, urban collectives, Thanksgiving wines, winery dogs, or porch pounders and BBQ wines—from boutique producers (who make under 10,000 cases a year) across the state’s 21 AVAs. It means members often get introduced to unusual grape types like Zweigelt from under-the-radar regions like Elkton, neither of which are you likely to find in shops outside the state.
Timing and Pricing: All options include two bottles a month. The white wine club is $45 a month, mixed is $50, and the red club is $55. One-time and quarterly memberships are also available.
Best Wine Club For: Customized recommendations based on data
Choosing wine to give as a gift can feel stressful, but Firstleaf takes the pressure off by offering professional recommendations from a curated selection of bottles.
After answering a few brief questions about the type of wine you’re looking for (sweet or dry, red or white, buttery or bitter), you’ll be presented with six bottles for consideration. Firstleaf says they analyze “billions of data points” to find the wines that will fit your flavor profile the best.
Firstleaf can help you find the perfect wine for a stay-at-home dinner, gifts for your friends, or a few new bottles to share with your colleagues or family in the days and weeks ahead. Honestly, it’s a great #TreatYourself gift to get for yourself too, especially if you can’t visit family face-to-face this year.
Timing and Pricing: You can get your first case of wine (six bottles) for just $40, plus receive free shipping on the first 12 months of your subscription (a $120 value) if you sign up right now. You can also get single bottles for around $20 each.