California is known for its wine, so it stands to reason that it should be known for its wine clubs. When I was in California a few years ago I visited a number of wineries with wine clubs that would have been interesting to join. But when there are so many great wineries to try, why sign up for just one? The California Wine Club solves that problem for you. The owners of the club select and visit artisan wineries to choose the very best wines that California has to offer in every shipment. They transform being a “wine club member” into a journey that will make you feel like you are right there with them.
The Unboxing of the Wine Club
As you can see in the video below, The California Wine Club ships much like any other club. Your bottles will be firmly held in Styrofoam specifically made for shipping wine. Inside will be several different papers including one with an optional gift message for your recipient. It's nice that there is an “invoice” included that shows what should be in the box but does not show prices if you are sending it as a gift.
You will also find a letter from Bruce and Pam Boring, the owners, as well as special deals for the month. Because these deals are always changing, you will want to be sure to read that flyer each month. To me, the most exciting part of the paperwork and what sets The California Wine Club apart from its competitors is the newsletter, Uncorked.
Uncorked, The California Wine Club Newsletter
Almost every wine club will include tasting notes of some kind to help you enjoy the wines as fully as possible. No other wine club that I have ever seen does it as well as The California Wine Club. Their newsletter, Uncorked, is a more like a full magazine. With glossy pictures and articles, it rivals some of the food publications I have received. In addition to the usual tasting notes (which are in and of themselves more in depth than most clubs), you will also fine recipes, interviews, trivia, and more. I actually enjoyed it so much that I went to their website to find past copies. The newsletter strikes a nice balance of educating you about the wines of the month but also including other interesting information about wine in general.
The newsletter itself is a reason to sign up for the club!
The Premier Series
When you join The California Wine Club you receive in every shipment a slice of a different California winery. I received the Premier Series and chose one bottle of red and one bottle of white. Thus, I was treated to two different wines from the same winery along with a full write-up in the newsletter about that winery. I learned not only how the winery came to be but also personal information about the owner of the winery. I learned how the Tilly wine got its name (from the owner's grandmother). By the time I finished reading the newsletter and drinking those two bottles of wine, I felt like I had actually visited the Oreana Winery in Santa Barbara.
Can you imaging feeling like that every month with a different winery? That's exactly what you will get with the Premier Series (and at a good price!). If monthly shipments are too much, go with the every other month or quarterly options. Those are especially nice if you want to send a gift that will last a long time. You can also choose to get two bottles of white a month or two bottles of red. This is a good option if you know for sure the types of wine that the recipient (or you!) like. I tend to prefer white, but I really loved the opportunity to get a highly recommended red as well.
Odds and Ends
There are so many great things that I could say about the Premier Series and The California Wine Club in general. Todd and I actually did a lengthy video that you can watch on our California Wine Club Review page that details everything from the various clubs (4 right now) that they offer to the discounts you get for reordering (up to 50% off!).
More than anything else, I love the personal feeling of this club. Reading the newsletter, I can imagine Bruce and Pam sitting and tasting the wines with the owner of the winery and talking about the winery's history. As a wine lover but not a true expert, I feel like the information in the newsletter is aimed right at me.
Whether you are looking to order a club for yourself or as a gift, you can't go wrong with The California Wine Club.