Is American Cellars Wine Club a Scam?
We've been getting a lot of questions lately about American Cellars Wine Club and whether it is a scam. We have now reviewed the actual club plus have done some research on the negative reviews we found online. What have we found? Keep reading and we will share all of our research with you.
What is American Cellars Wine Club?
American Cellars Wine Club is the flagship wine club of the brand Vinesse. They have participated in a number of rewards and points clubs (like the Delta Frequent Flier program or the American Airlines program), so their name is fairly well-known across many shoppers. They offer both wine clubs as well as sales of wine by the bottle. Their website says that they are “one of the largest and most respected wine clubs in the country.” The American Cellars Wine Club is one of many clubs offered by Vinesse and is their most affordable club.
Our Experience with American Cellars Wine Club
We were sent a shipment of the wine club to try for ourselves and also tried a number of the other clubs that Vinesse offers. We didn't experience any problems with billing, shipping, etc. In fact, we found it was quite easy to get in touch with people at Vinesse about their clubs. As for the wine itself, the wine in the American Cellars Wine Club breaks down to about $7 per bottle and they market the bottles as being a retail of between $10 and $15. If you want a higher quality of wine, you should try one of their other higher-end clubs such as their Pinot Noir Wine Club.
I received a nice assortment of different wines in my shipment including:
- 2013 Old School Lane Cellars California Chardonnay
- 2013 Gracenote Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
- 2014 Vendaval Mendoza, Argentina Sauvignon Blanc
- 2013 Alerys Utiel-Requena, Spain Bobal Rose
- 2013 Scoperta Puglia, Italy Aglianico di Puglia
Each bottle came with about a half page of tasting notes that includes the background of the wine, the grape composition, how the wine was aged, when you should drink it, and food pairing suggestions. Scores for their tasting panel ranged from 89 to 92 points.
What Do Shoppers Say about American Cellars Wine Club?
As for the quality of the wine, we have found mixed reviews, but that is often the case when it comes to wine. What one person loves another person will hate. What's more important is whether you personally enjoy the wine. You will only know that if you make a purchase yourself.
As for their business practices, we found 14 complaints on Ripoffreport.com over the course of over 3 years. Most of them revolve around credit card charges for allegedly unauthorized purchases, cancellations that were not processed, and irregular shipping fees/schedules. This is often the case when people are making purchases through points programs just to get points. They don't read the fine print to understand the actual terms of the offer and then get angry when they are shipped more than they expected.
The Better Business Bureau in Santa Barbara gives them a B+. Their score was lowered because of “Advertising/Sales Issues” and “Problems with Product/Service”. The BBB didn't lower their score considerably given those claims, so they must consider it to be an acceptable number of claims based on the volume of sales and the way that American Cellars Wine Club resolved the claims. How a company resolves claims plays a HUGE part in whether we would recommend them.
We reached out to them for contact information in the event that any of our readers have any problems. For help with memberships and orders, members have had success calling their toll-free customer service at 800-823-5527 from 6 AM to 5 PM Pacific Time, Monday – Friday or via email, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Should You Buy From American Cellars Wine Club?
If you are ordering the club just to get the travel points or whatever rewards are being offered, set your expectations accordingly. Just be sure to read all of the fine print on the offer and watch your credit card carefully. The most complaints seem to come from people who purchased this way. I'm never an advocate of buying something to get points unless it was something that I would have bought anyway.
What if you are ordering it because you are truly looking for a great wine club?
We've had great success with their Light and Sweet Wine Club as well as their Sparkling Wine Club. Vinesse offers types of clubs that you will not find anywhere else. Our experience with them for those two clubs has been very positive. In addition, all of our communications with the company have been great.
If you are interested in a wine club for yourself or a as a gift, we invite you to take a look at our Top Red Wine Clubs, Top White Wine Clubs, and Top Mixed Wine Clubs. Most of our reviews include information such as shipping costs, how easy it was to cancel, the quality of the wine, and how the club compares to other clubs.
Have you had any experience with American Cellars Wine Club?