If you’ve ever browsed a wine website or wandered aimlessly among the bottles at your local wine shop, then you’ll know that picking out the perfect bottle of wine can be a daunting process. Because while our colleagues at Robb Report might be true wine connoisseurs, we just really like drinking the stuff. So if you’re looking for a list of the best wine clubs according to a world-renowned sommelier, we can’t help you. Instead, we evaluate wine clubs from the perspective of normal wine lovers like you. Consider this the anti-wine snob’s review of the best wine subscription boxes.
Whether you’re buying a gift for a wine lover or a bottle (or 10) to be enjoyed at home, there are so many different options. White or red? Merlot or pinot noir? Organic or natural? An expensive bottle of aged wine or a deliciously affordable rose with a twist-off cap? In short, if you want to find a wine you love but don’t have the time nor the money to try every single bottle on the shelf, it’s past time you signed up for a wine club instead. We’re living in the golden age of subscription boxes, and the best wine clubs are a great way to treat yourself.
A wine club may, on average, cost a little bit more than pulling your ten-buck bottle of wine off the shelf in the store. But, by signing up for a wine club, you aren’t simply buying one or more bottles of wine, you’re buying years of experience from sommeliers who can really taste the difference and whose passion it is to find wines that people love. Furthermore, the best wine clubs even offer personalized recommendations for you to ensure you love every bottle that arrives on your doorstep.
If you’re anything like us, you tested a few different wine clubs during the stay-at-home quarantine era. And while the world is finally returning to normal, we’re never quitting our favorite wine clubs. Instead of heading out into the great unknown, signing up for wine club subscriptions means a box of hand-picked wines will appear on your doorstep, full of delicious vintages selected by wine connoisseurs.
Based on reviews, price, wine selection and customer experience, we’ve narrowed down the choices to present the best wine clubs of 2021:
- Best Overall – Winc
- Runner Up – Firstleaf Wine Club (New customers save 50%)
- Best Budget Wine Club – Wine of the Month Club
- Most Customizable – Splash Wine Club
- Best for Pairing – Blue Apron Wine Club
- Best Splurge – Vine Box
- Best for Entertainers – Martha Stewart Wine Club
- Most Creative – SommSelect Monthly Wine Club
- Also Consider – Bright Cellars
- Best Natural Wines – Primal Wine
Keep reading for our full breakdown of the best wine clubs, with wine club reviews from Spy’s team of editors, product testers and wine lovers.
What To Look For in a Wine Club
Wine clubs vary widely in price, from $40 services offering cheap table wines to $2,000 boxes for genuine collectors. Because there are so many different wine clubs available, it’s easy to pick a club that’s perfectly suited to your needs (and, if we’re being honest, your level of sophistication).
At a minimum, the best wine clubs should have clear and upfront terms, meaning it’s easy to cancel, opt out of certain months and get refunds for bottles you didn’t like or missing orders. In addition, the best wine clubs should be passing savings on to you, their customers, by offering bottles at a lower price than what you’d find at the liquor store. In this way, top-rated wine clubs actually let you save money on wine, so if you go through more than five bottles a month, a wine club is a great option for you.
Wine subscription boxes can be placed in four distinct categories:
- Clubs Featuring Wines for Drinking – These are the cheapest wine clubs that regularly deliver a variety of bottles meant to be enjoyed right away. Think tasty table wines and rosés instead of rare vintages.
- Clubs Featuring Wines for Collectors – These are the most expensive wine clubs. They deliver rare bottles meant to be stored in your wine cellar for special occasions. (You do have a wine celllar, right?)
- Niche Wine Clubs – These clubs deliver wines that are all organic, vegan, natural or biodynamic.
- Personalized Wine Clubs – In our experience, the best wine clubs for most people fall into this category. Wine clubs like Firstleaf and Winc have customers take a quiz to determine their tastes, then send personalized boxes of wine.
Let the experts take you on a personalized tour of the finest wines from across the globe by signing up for one of the best wine club subscriptions, which we’ve rounded up below. These clubs are great as a gift for anyone who loves wine a little too much, but they’re also the perfect way to treat yourself.
Winc works like a never-ending quest to discover your favorite bottle of wine in the whole world. Once you have signed up for the to-your-doorstep wine delivery service, you’ll be asked to answer six questions to assess your wine preferences. After your palate is assessed, you’ll be sent only the wines that are best suited to your taste buds. After drinking the first box, you’ll be asked to rate what you liked or didn’t like about the wine you received, and the process continues until you feel you’re satisfied.
Winc offers a truly international tour of fine wine, with selections from the world’s premier winemaking regions such as France, Italy and Northern California, but also features up-and-coming wineries from South Africa, Portugal and Argentina. We also appreciate this wine club’s flexibility, as Winc allows you to skip months, cancel at your leisure and never pay for a bottle that you aren’t satisfied with.
2. Firstleaf Wine Club
Firstleaf doesn’t just send you the leftover wine they were able to buy cheaply from wholesalers. Instead, this top-rated wine club sends you award-winning bottles from celebrated wine regions around the world, although most of the selections come from the United States. Plus, if you aren’t 100% happy with any of the bottles you are sent, they’ll help you find a replacement at no additional cost to you or discount the cost of your next wine box. And to make sure you’re getting the best possible wines for you, the whole process begins with a short quiz to ensure a mix of bottles matched specifically to your tastes turns up at your door. You then rate each of the wines using a thumbs up or down approach and wait for your next personalized order of wine to arrive by mail.
We recently had the chance to test Firstleaf, and we came away extremely impressed. Each wine comes with an info card so you can learn more about the vineyard and tasting notes. Overall, we found that Firstleaf combines the great tastes of the best wine clubs with a great customer experience. So if you want to discover award-winning wines that you won’t find at your local liquor store, then this might be the subscription box you’ve been waiting for. Finally, new customers can now sign up for Firstleaf and order their first box for just $40, half the usual price (after the first month, the price goes up to $80 for six bottles). You can cancel at any time if you’re not happy with the service, but we’re confident wine lovers will be satisfied.
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3. Wine of the Month Club
The Wine of the Month Club is the longest-running wine club in America, which means this company knows a thing or two about good wine. This wine club has a focus on value-oriented wines and has memberships starting at $25 a month. Each monthly delivery contains two bottles of wine for you to enjoy. For a more complete experience, each package also includes plenty of information about the wine, including who made it, where it’s from and a guide to enjoying the bottle to the fullest with everything from what to look for in the wine itself, what to eat with it and how to store it. This budget-friendly option makes things simple. This isn’t just one of the best wine clubs ever created; it’s the wine club.
4. Splash Wine Subscription
The Splash Wine Subscription is one of the most customizable options on our list. When you sign up for this wine club, you’ll have the option of receiving either six or 15 bottles every month, every other month or every quarter. You can also choose the type of wine you like to drink, as the subscription is available in all red, all white or a mix of the two. Finally, there are three additional levels to the Splash Wine Subscription. The basic level, which costs just $59.00, features delicious wines from vineyards around the world with a broad appeal to all wine drinkers. The second level, which costs $10.00 more, boasts complex wines that are selected from the “world’s best vineyards.” And, finally, the third level, which costs $39.00 more and is only available for red wine drinkers, comes with premium wines that can be enjoyed right away or aged in a wine cellar.
When we tried the Splash Wine Subscription service, we had an overall very positive experience. The bottles included in this wine club didn’t blow us away, but they do offer a lot of wine for your money. For people who prefer table wines to complex vintages that cost $50 or more, this is a great option.
5. Blue Apron Wine Club
BEST FOR PAIRING
The best wine club subscriptions might come from brands you already know and trust, like Martha Stewart or Blue Apron. That’s right, Blue Apron also delivers wine directly from their vineyards to your doorstep. This process, which cuts out several intermediaries, allows them to offer premium wine at more affordable prices. When you sign up to their club, you’ll receive a regular delivery of six different 500ml bottles in your choice of white, red or mixed. The delivery also includes each wine’s story, pairing ideas and tasting notes to ensure you make the most of every delivery.
If you’re already a Blue Apron customer, then this service is perfect for you. But even if you’re not, Blue Apron’s pairing notes make it easy to pair an unknown bottle of wine with the perfect dish. If you believe a bottle of wine is best served with a meal, then this is the best wine club for you.
6. Vinebox Wine Subscription Boxes
This is one of the more interesting selections among the best wine clubs. Each of the deliveries you receive from Vinebox comes with nine brand-specific glass tubes, which give you the chance to taste a variety of wines each month. When a particular tasting speaks to your taste buds, you can then order regular bottles. Deliveries arrive on a quarterly basis, and each one comes with nine hand-picked wines for the specific time of the year. Membership also includes free delivery, priority access to new wines and quarterly credits that can be used to obtain full-size bottles of your favorite wines.
7. Martha Stewart Wine Co. Wine Club
BEST FOR ENTERTAINING
Somewhat unsurprisingly, when you join the Martha Stewart Wine Co. Wine Club, you’ll receive wines hand-picked by none other than Martha Stewart herself. The club offers two different plans, which let you pick between a six-bottle delivery every six weeks or a 12-bottle delivery every eight weeks. Each new subscription starts with the same initial introductory box, which is filled with a mix of whites and reds for you to enjoy. From there, customers get a more personalized experience by specifying exactly what types of wine they’d like to see arriving in each subsequent box.
8. SommSelect Monthly Wine Club
The SommSelect Monthly Wine Clubs are curated by master sommelier Ian Cauble, who shot to fame thanks to the Netflix documentary Somm. The company offers three different types of wine clubs, depending on your preference. The cheapest of the clubs is called the “Drink Like a Somm Club” and costs $99 per month for four bottles. Each box has a unique theme, from the best wines for the season to exploring the intricacies of a specific wine variety. This is a great way to learn more about wine.
The second club is called “The Somm Six” and costs $199 per month for six bottles. The vintages included in this subscription box are designed to bolster your wine cellar, but they can of course be enjoyed immediately, too.
The third, and final, wine club offered by SommSelect wins the company major points for creativity. It costs $199 per month for six bottles and is called “The Blind Six.” Each of the bottles in the box is wrapped in black tissue paper and numbered so that you can conduct your own blind tasting at home, just as the sommeliers do. The box also includes tasting notebooks and detailed descriptions, so you can hone your tasting skills.
9. Bright Cellars Monthly Wine Club
MOST PERSONALIZED SERVICE
By completing a comprehensive taste profile, Bright Cellars is a personalized wine subscription service that matches your tastes with a range of wines you’re sure to love. They believe in their algorithm so much that if there’s ever a bottle you don’t love, they’ll help you pick out a free replacement and include it in your next delivery. Inside your monthly delivery, you’ll receive four different wines which are sourced from all over the world, including destinations like Spain, Portugal and South America. Plus, you can be confident you’ll like Bright Cellars’ choices, as only one out of every twelve bottles tasted makes it onto their approved list of wines.
10. Primal Wine Club
BEST NATURAL WINES
Have you ever tried a natural wine? This type of wine is made in small batches using either organically or biodynamically grown grapes with little to no intervention in the cellar. Another requirement for creating natural wines is the use of native yeast. Plus, the liquid is bottled unfiltered with no additional sulfites. The result is a fun and funky wine that changes with every vintage. The Primal Wine Club is a great introduction to natural wines. Every month, the wine subscription will deliver a box of three, six or 12 bottles of red or white natural wines to your doorstep. If you happen to find a bottle you really enjoy, every included product is also available for purchase individually on the Primal Wine website.
11. Plonk Wine Club
CHOOSE YOUR OWN
Most of the best wine clubs have an elegant or self-explanatory name. And then there’s Plonk. But don’t let the name scare you off, as this is a fantastic wine subscription service with a range of options for wine lovers. With the choice of a red, a white and a mixed wine club to join, the Plonk Wine Club has every possible combination and angle covered. You’ll also get to choose between four or 12 bottle deliveries, and you’ll receive a handy corkscrew in your first delivery to ensure you’ve always got a way into a bottle when you need it.
Each delivery includes comprehensive tasting notes from the experts along with recipe pairings so you can make the most out of every bottle. Plonk also lets you build your own custom box, which is a level of control that even the best wine clubs don’t offer at this time.
12. The Grand Tour Monthly Subscription by Verve Wine
BEST TASTING NOTES
Created by master sommelier Dustin Wilson and his company called Verve Wine, The Grand Tour is a wonderful way to learn about wines around the world. Each month, a box will arrive on your doorstep with two reds and two whites from a specific country or region. (Rose and sparkling wines occasionally make an appearance, too.) The box is completed by intricate tasting notes that also give brief information about the region featured, creating an educational experience with every box ordered. In this way, you’ll slowly start to learn the difference between a Bordeaux and a vinho verde, and you’ll hopefully no longer default to merlot or chardonnay when the wine list is in your hands.
13. Viticole Wine Club
MOST EXCLUSIVE BOTTLES
The Viticole Wine Club was created by master sommelier Brian McClintic, who works closely with small, organic producers around the world to create exclusive vintages for wine club members. These bottles are produced only in small quantities for the boxes that are shipped directly to your door. Because of this model, members of the Viticole Wine Club must pay monthly for 24 bottles of wine which arrive in two shipments annually. 12 bottles arrive in the spring, and the other 12 arrive in the fall. In addition, new members must pay one or two months in advance of receiving their first shipment to ensure the quantities produced by the wineries can fill each and every box. It’s also important to note that this wine subscription service also occasionally includes cider in the mix.
14. Fatcork Wine Club
BEST FOR CHAMPAGNE
Do you love nothing more than a bottle of bubbly? Then Fatcork is where you need to be. This premium club offers quarterly deliveries of champagne. The included bottles are selected based on the season. When you join the club, you get a choice of three, four or six different bottles per delivery, and your membership can be canceled or modified at any time. Each delivery is also accompanied by a range of information to ensure you get the most out of each bottle.
15. Woman-Owned Wineries Wine Club
The Woman-Owned Wineries Wine Club is a great way to show support for wineries owned by women. When you join the club, you’ll receive three bottles of wine every month, all of which are sourced from woman-owned vineyards across the nation. You can also rest assured that each wine has come from a vineyard that practices ethical farming, and every bottle will be accompanied by stories about the ladies behind the wine.