Thanks to complicated shipping laws in the United States, not all wine clubs ship to all states. In fact, many wine clubs don’t ship to Georgia at all, including the well-known WSJwine, the wine club of the Wall Street Journal. Fortunately, there are a few wine clubs that ship to Georgia, and I tried three of them: Cellars Wine Club, Naked Wines, and Winc.
I don’t consider myself to be a wine aficionado because I don’t know enough about wines. But I am certainly a (red) wine lover who regularly enjoys trying new wines. I have a preference for dry wines and often gravitate towards such grapes as Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon. But occasionally, I also like a good Merlot, Shiraz or Chianti, among others.
In the past, I would buy my wine at Whole Foods Market until I saw a promotion for the wine club of the Wall Street Journal. I got excited and signed up, only to find out at the end of the signup process, that WSJ doesn’t deliver to Georgia. So I started looking for reasonably priced wine clubs that would deliver to Georgia. I found Cellars Wine Club and, more recently, Winc and Naked Wines. The latter is not a wine club in the original sense of the word.
Cellars Wine Club
Cellars Wine Club is located in the Seattle, Washington area, where they have been selling wine since 1999.
Founded in 1999 in the Seattle, Washington area, Cellars Wine Club started as a small internet club and then quickly grew into a retail wine shop. Since then, Cellars has grown to become one of the premier wine clubs on the west coast. Over the years we have continued to expand our partnerships with many world class wine producers in the area, by fostering long-term relationships with both producers and wine lovers alike.
Browsing through their available club offers, the Case Club caught my attention. The Case Club includes 12 bottles of wine, and you can mix and match red and white wines, but I chose twelve bottles of red wine. It’s priced at $139 and includes complimentary shipping. With the Case Club, you get one case every three months, but you can cancel or delay shipment at any time. So I figured that I had nothing to lose and I went for it. Beyond the Case Club, Cellars Wine Club offers 15 other clubs you can choose from, including:
- Single Bottle
- High-End Bottle
- Premium Club
- Sweet Wine Club
- West Coast Club
- Sparkling Club
- Red Trio Club
- Platinum Club
- 90+ Point Club
- Cellars Club
- Passport Case Club
- West Coast Case
- Connoisseurs Case
A happy customer since 2014
I received my first case of wine in April of 2014, and I have been a loyal customer since. As I have mentioned above, I am not an expert in wine tasting, but I never got a bad bottle of wine from them. Of course, I liked some bottles better than others, but, overall, I truly enjoyed them all. The case usually includes wines from all over the world, including the following countries:
- United States
- South Africa
In other words, you get wine from all the major wine growing regions in the world. The vineyards that make those wines are often smaller and lesser known. I appreciate that, because you get to try wines you may not find in stores.
Customer support is handled via phone, or more conveniently via email. On a few occasions, I had to reach out to them, to delay a shipment, for example, and always received a prompt reply.
Overall, I can highly recommend Cellars Wine Club and encourage you to give them a try. When you do, feel free to mention my name, so they know that they have another happy customer out there. It is worth noting that Cellars Wine Club cannot ship to the following states, due to state laws: Alaska, North Dakota, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Texas, and Utah.
When my wife recently purchased some clothes at Nordstrom, we found a cleverly placed coupon for Naked Wines inside. The coupon was worth $80 towards a case of wine, and I decided to check it out. The premise of Naked Wines is to support and work directly with independent winemakers while cutting out all the middlemen. As a result, you get excellent wines at a lower price you would pay in the stores. But there is a catch! The wines you buy at Naked Wines are exclusively made for Naked Wines, and you won’t find them in stores.
Buy wine directly from talented, independent winemakers. Get exclusive access to world-class wines in exchange for your support. We invest directly in winemakers. We don’t invest in sales, marketing, fancy packaging and other things you can’t taste. Which means you get more bang for your buck. People that help us invest get an even better deal. We call them Angels.
Naked Wines vs. Traditional wine clubs
Naked Wines has an interesting concept that differs from traditional wine clubs and instead, gives them a new spin. After the initial registration process and the use of any coupons you may have, you enter a waiting list to become a so-called Angel. As an Angel, you directly support the independent vineyards that are associated with Naked Wines. Once you have moved up on the waiting list, which usually takes a few weeks, you start putting $40 into your “Naked piggy bank” every month.
Those $40 are a pledge to support independent winemakers, but you don’t have to commit. In fact, it is up to you what you want to do with the funds in your “Naked piggy bank.” You can:
- Spend it on wine (obviously)
- Let it accumulate until you have enough funds for a case of wine (that’s what I usually do)
- Get it back
What it means to be an Angel
As an Angel, you not only support independent winemakers, but you also get access to them. That means you can chat with the makers of your favorite wines. You can also connect with other Angels and share your experience and favorite bottles. With Naked Wines, you don’t get a regular shipment of random wine. Instead, you pick what wine you want to get and when. To help with the selection, the Naked Wines store features a rating system based on your feedback and that of other Angels. So if you don’t know what to pick, you can rely on what other Angels liked.
What makes Naked Wines unique is that winemakers usually respond to the feedback of Angels by providing tips and comments. Where else do you get to directly engage with the makers of your favorite bottle of wine?
Wines from Naked Wines
I received my first case of red wines a few weeks ago and thanks to family we had over, we managed to try them all already. I expected excellent wine and Naked Wines delivered! So I am looking forward to ordering my next case of red wines.
From a cost perspective, most wines are priced between $9.99 and $23.99 for bottles that would usually cost somewhere between $16.99 and $49.99. Of course, there is no way for me verify the “regular” price, but I am willing to spend at least ten bucks for a good bottle of wine.
You can rate every wine you get, and after a while, Naked Wines makes recommendations based on that. In addition to recommendations from other Angels, that’s a convenient way always to find new wines that match your taste.
Naked Wines follows an exciting new concept that directly connects you to talented but independent winemakers. I like that concept because it allows me to taste wines I wouldn’t be able to try otherwise. The wines from Naked Wines have been excellent so far, and I can highly recommend them.
Winc is yet another wine club that I found out about just recently. Founded in 2012 by Xander Oxman and Geoff McFarlane in California, Winc’s goal is to make wine more accessible, simpler to get and easier to enjoy.
Winc connects you to a world of exclusive wines tailored to your tastes and delivered directly to your door.
The way Winc works is fairly straightforward. You answer six questions to help Winc create what they call a “Palate Profile.” Based on that, Winc sends you wines specifically chosen to match your palate. Additionally, you can rate the wines you have received to make Winc’s recommendations even better.
Even though Winc is a wine club, members can skip a month any time and free of charge. If you don’t like a bottle, you don’t have to pay for it, and you can cancel your membership via live chat or a simple phone call.
Bottles at Winc start at $13, and if you order 12 or more bottles, you get an additional 10% off. The most expensive wine is a Cabernet Sauvignon for $35. There is a three-bottle minimum per order. So the Winc membership effectively costs you at least $39 (3 x $13) + $9 shipping. If you order 4 or more bottles, shipping is complimentary.
For every ten wines you rate, you get $10 in credits towards future shipments. To earn additional credits, you can invite friends and earn up to $26 per friend.
Wines from Winc
I received my first box from Winc right before we headed out to a Gipsy Kings open-air concert at Chastain Park in Atlanta. The concert had a “bring your own food policy” and that included alcohol. So we packed two of the four bottles in our trusted Yeti cooler*.
Both the 2015 Sapore Locale Nero d’ Avola and the 2015 Wonderful Wine Co.® White Blend were excellent. I liked the red wine so much that I brought back an empty bottle. Luckily we didn’t have to drive and could hitch a ride with friends.
The few Winc wines I have tried tasted excellent. But in my opinion, Winc’s main advantage is their low entry barrier. You get complimentary shipping with only four bottles of wine per order. So it almost doesn’t make sense to order only three bottles and pay $9 for shipping. I also like that you can earn credits by rating your wine. That saves you some money and improves the recommendations you get.
Three wine clubs and one happy customer
I usually drink about a case of wine every three months. So I should be okay with only one wine club. But we often have friends and family over, and I have found myself supplementing with wines from local stores. Instead of doing that, I decided to maintain additional club memberships. Cellars Wine Club ensures I get a new case of excellent wine every quarter, Naked Wines gives me the flexibility to supplement at any time, and Winc has a low four-bottle minimum to qualify for complimentary shipping. Bottom line, I can highly recommend all three wine clubs and suggest you give them a try. If you do, let me know how you like them.
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