The back-to-back nature of the holiday season makes it difficult to find a gift that’s fresh and exciting, both for the giver and the giftee. Wine clubs make a great and unique gift for the wine lovers on your list – thoughtful, personalizable, and available at a number of different price points, what’s not to love?
Wine clubs are prepaid or subscription services where a team of wine professionals (winemakers and sommeliers) ships hand-selected bottles of wine right to a recipient’s door. In the form of a gift, wine clubs keep on giving: most clubs ship four or more wine selections monthly or bi-monthly, keeping your gift giving throughout the winter.
Every wine club has its own sense of personality and selection criteria, meaning you’ll want to choose a club with your recipient’s personal tastes in mind. Clubs may only select top-shelf, lavish wines, source all of their wines from small-batch, independent vintners, or even build the month’s shipment around the recipient’s unique tasting profile.
Is your recipient a self-prescribed sommelier or a casual fan? A high-quality bargain hunter or an adventurous sipper? No matter who you’re shopping for this holiday season, we’ll help you give the best wine club for everyone on your list.
6 Reasons Why Wine Clubs are the Perfect Gift
Thanks to their customization, affordability, and longevity, wine clubs make a great gift for both the receiver and the gifter. If you’re thinking about giving a wine club for someone special this holiday season, these are the perks you both can enjoy:
Wine Clubs are Great for the Receiver
When a friend or loved one opens your gift this holiday, you want the present to be personalized, appealing, and practical. Wine clubs inherently have that wow factor because they:
Are Unique to the Recipient: The best gifts communicate understanding—when you open a gift that feels incredibly special, it’s probably because the gifter carefully selected something that they knew matches your personality. Whether your friend is new to wine, an adventurous palate expander, or a seasoned wine hobbyist, there’s a wine club out there that will let your friend know just how well you care about them.
Are Recurring: The problem with the holidays is that once they’re over, all of the gifts and the merrymaking stops all at once and we’re back to our ordinary lives. Wine club shipments can arrive on a one-time, monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly basis, meaning the gift your recipient finds under the tree in December could pop up again in May.
Have a Long Shelf Life: Food gifts around the holidays are fun, but the majority of fruits, ice creams, cakes, or cookies need to be eaten fairly quickly. The beauty of wine is that it doesn’t go bad (well, not for a few years). Your recipient can enjoy their wine bottles immediately, in a month, or in a few years without any drop in quality.
Wine Clubs are Great for the Gifter (That’s You!)
The best gifts are great for both the receiver and the gifter. Here are a few perks of purchasing a wine club for a family or friend:
Affordable: Wine clubs are relatively inexpensive, with most four-bottle shipments starting at $45/month. Better yet, wine clubs can be prepaid, meaning you’re only signing up the number of shipments you want to give – you won’t have to remember to cancel a subscription later on.
Multiple Ways to Give: Wine club companies make it easy to give their products. As a gifter, you have the option to prepay and ship wine to your recipient’s address, subscribe and ship wine to their address indefinitely, or purchase a wine club gift card which your recipient can then activate in the future.
Transferrable: If your recipient falls in love with their wine club, you’re not stuck with paying their wine bills for eternity. Wine clubs are easy to transfer address details and credit card information, meaning your wine-loving recipient can use their banking information to take over their subscription once your gift has run its course.
How to Select the Best Wine Club
The best way to give someone the perfect wine club is to match their tastes with the wine club’s preferred selection. We know this can be easier said than done: to help you find the right club for everyone on your list, let’s break down the main categories of wine clubs. Look for these keywords when comparing wine clubs to better understand exactly what wines they specialize in offering.
Wine Clubs by Selection
Introductory wine clubs are designed for newer wine drinkers and may be more affordable than other types of wine clubs. Introductory clubs feature a wide variety of seasonal favorites, such as merlot, rosé, prosecco, and chardonnay.
Adventurous wine clubs feature wines that some would consider atypical. The wines may come from regions not as well known for winemaking (such as Australia or Croatia) or may include some creative flavors and presentations such as canned wine, fruit wine, or bubbly wine.
Customized wine clubs select wines based on a recipient’s responses to an online taste preferences quiz. These quizzes only take about 5 minutes to complete, asking the soon-to-be recipient fun questions such as what kind of chocolate do they prefer and whether they like portobello mushrooms. Someone who answers that they take their coffee black will likely receive a box of dry wines, such as sauvignon blanc or pinot noir. Recipients can rate how much they enjoyed selections sent by the club, further tweaking their tasting profile as they move forward.
Independent wine clubs feature selections created mostly by small-batch, independent vintners. The vintages created by small-time winemakers are, by definition, hard to find at a traditional liquor or grocery store. This makes a wine club who specializes in tracking down independent winemakers a great option for wine drinkers who enjoy supporting small business owners or drinking a vintage that is one-of-a-kind.
High-end wine clubs only select the finest wines from some of the most celebrated wine regions. These wines, usually imported from France or Italy, are typically discounted for club members, meaning that gifting a high-end wine club doesn’t mean you have to break the bank.
Now that you know the main categories of wine clubs, let’s discuss how you select a specific club for your intended recipient.
Selecting a Wine Club when You Know Your Recipient’s Tastes
If you know the kinds of wine your recipient prefers, you can simply choose the type of club that you think aligns with their taste profile. After selecting the club, you’ll probably be asked to select a box of white wines, red wines, or a mix of the two.
Let’s say you’re purchasing a New Year’s gift for your boss. Personality-wise, you know that she tends to avoid flashy purchases and instead prefers to shop small. Taste-wise, you know that your boss prefers white wines, the sweeter the better. Keeping all of this in mind, your boss would love an independent wine club with a white wine selection.
Selecting a Wine Club when You Do Not Know Your Recipient’s Tastes
If you aren’t sure about what kind of wine your recipient would like to receive, there’s still an easy way to select a wine club they’ll love. The best thing to do is to select either an introductory wine club or a customized wine club.
The introductory wine club is designed to appeal to most tastes, so your recipient’s first shipment will include popular wines that are well-liked for a good reason. If your recipient doesn’t love every bottle in the first shipment, most clubs have a satisfaction guarantee: your recipient can receive a replacement bottle for free.
If you give a customized wine club, your recipient can take the palate quiz themselves, meaning their first box will be hand-selected for their personal tastes. The only problem with customized wine clubs is that you will have to ask your recipient to take the wine quiz, which might spoil the gift’s surprise.
How to Sign Up and Gift a Wine Club
After you select the perfect wine club, it’s time to sign up. Purchasing a wine club as a gift is extremely easy and should only take about five or ten minutes of your time.
- Select the Gift Type: Before checkout, you’ll decide if you want to purchase a prepaid membership (automatically cancels), subscription membership (automatically subscribes), or gift card (used by your recipient to sign up in the future).
- Pick the Number of Shipments: If you purchase a prepaid club or gift card, you’ll decide upfront the number of shipments you want to send your recipient.
- Choose Your Wine Preference: White, red, or both?
- Enter the Address of Your Recipient: The easiest way to give a wine club is to enter your recipient’s address as the shipping information. Keep in mind that alcohol shipments have to be signed and accepted by someone 21 years or older in most states, and that some states and counties have restrictions on whether wine clubs can ship to them.
- Pay: Most wine clubs sign up online, so you’ll pay with your credit card.
The Best Ways to Present Your Gift
The final step in giving a wine club is everyone’s favorite part: the presentation! Do you want to see your recipient’s reaction to opening the gift, or do you not care if you’re present? Would you prefer to give a gift card so your recipient can make their own taste selections, or do you want to curate the wines for them?
Here are the most common ways to present your gift:
- In-Person Box: For traditional presentation, ship the first wine box to your own address (don’t worry, you can change this address later). Once you have the box, feel free to spruce it up: add a note, wrap it, tie it in a bow, or do whatever else you like. Then, on the special day, simply give your recipient your gift like you would any in-person gift!
- Absent Box: For a sneaky or low-key style of presentation, simply ship the box to your recipient’s home address. Most wine clubs will allow gifters to add a message, making it easy for your recipient to know that the gift is from none other than you.
- In-Person Gift Card: This method is best for Customized wine clubs, or any other type of wine club where your recipient selects their own bottles. Simply gift your recipient a pre-paid wine club gift card, including an explanation of what the gift card is and how the club works. If your friend is a little fussy about their wines, this may be the best method to impress.
Find The Best Wine Club Gift, Today
Now that you have a game plan for your holiday wine club giving, you might have realized you’re missing one key component: the wine clubs themselves. Instead of researching wine clubs for hours, you can save yourself time by checking out the wine clubs included on our list.
Our list is made up of the top-rated wine clubs out there. Our diverse selection includes clubs designed for wine newbies, to wine professionals, to everything in between, meaning you can find the perfect gift for any wine drinker this holiday season. To see selection preferences, pricing details, and more, check out our list.