Second to strolling through a wine store, there is nothing more exciting than receiving a shipment of wine through the mail. The anticipation of its arrival, catching sight of your purchase waiting for you, carefully cutting into the box, reeling with the promise of what is inside; it feels like Christmas morning each time a shipment arrives. Ordering from online clubs and stores is a convenient way to enjoy wine in today's busy and hectic world. It is also an easy way to expand your wine knowledge, experience wines you may not otherwise think to purchase.
Unfortunately, not everyone can take advantage of these opportunities, due to state shipping laws. If are lucky enough to live in a state that permits alcohol shipping (the below sites list these states), the following are some clubs and stores for you to explore:
- WSJ Wine (From The Wall Street Journal): This is one of the better direct to home wine clubs out there. WSJ offers just two members only clubs - Discovery (selected wines) and Premier (luxurious wines). In each club you receive a 12 bottle shipment every 3 months, choosing either a red, white or mixed case. There is no contract once you join; it is easy to cancel at any time. If you find something you like, you can also shop on their site for individual bottles. It is a no-brainer for the first time joiner; only two clubs to choose from.
- Gary's Wine Club: Retail wine stores like Gary's Wine & Marketplace also offer their own wine clubs. Gary's provides seven clubs at various levels and price points. Like WSJ, there is no contract and the month to month memberships can be canceled at any time. If you are looking for more choices than WSJ, Gary's offers flexibility and exclusive wine opportunities with his memberships. You should also check out your favorite local wine store to see if they have a wine club available.
- WTSO (WinesTilSoldOut): Unlike the other two sites, WTSO is an online store that sells one wine at a time at 30-70% off the original retail price. The wine remains on the site until it is sold out, the cycle continues for 24 hours, and they seldom show more than five wines a day. There is no fee to join; you simply sign up for email alerts. The only downside to this site is once you find something you like, you may never have it again. I liken it to a (really good) one night stand! It is best to take advantage of the free shipping, order the minimum number of bottles (usually 4), and extend the romance to at least a long weekend. Also, look out for their marathon days where within a 24 hour period they sell 48-120 different wines at even lower prices. You have to be really quick; everything goes faster during these selling sprees.
As I noted, along with the ease and convenience of online wine clubs comes the benefit of knowledge. Memberships include tasting notes in every shipment with each bottle, as well as food pairing suggestions and information about the wineries. WTSO posts this information for each wine on their site so you can peruse it before purchasing.
So whether you choose to be a joiner or decide to give WTSO a whirl, the excitement and benefits of receiving wine through the mail is something you should experience. Hopefully your state permits the shipping of alcohol; if not, you may want to consider moving or buying that second home!