WTF is the deal with Wine Clubs?

Have you ever been to a winery and seen the exclusive signs advertising “Club Members Only”? Maybe you’ve noticed special notes on tasting sheets dedicated to “Reduced Prices for Club Members”. Perhaps you’re already in a wine club but aren’t exactly sure what you’ve signed up for. Fear not, for I am here to (try to) guide you.

Wine clubs have smaller details that vary from winery to winery, but the general concept is the same. When you sign up, you are typically committing to buy a certain amount of wine multiple times a year (normally it’s three bottles of wine quarterly). In return, you get free/discounted tastings, access to rarer wines, and exclusive events. If you’re a fan of the winery, it’s a win-win.

After a tasting, particularly a generous one, it can be pretty damn tempting to sign up. However, there are a few things to consider. Will you actually be able to pick up your wine club selections each quarter or will you need to pay shipping to your home? Are you okay leaving the wine selections to someone else or are you picky about what you drink? Do you actually want to join this wine club or are you just tipsy?

Personally, I belong to two clubs. I’m a member at our local winery, Potomac Point and Breaux Vineyards near Harper’s Ferry. I visit Potomac Point probably twice a month and take advantage on almost every activity they offer. Breaux is an hour and a half away, but I use my wine pickups as excuses to explore nearby Loudoun wineries. Both clubs have given me wines that I typically would not have bought on my own, but have seriously enjoyed sipping. Breaux has a secret cellar and outdoor area for club members and Potomac Point has their own club-exclusive special tastings and events.

If you’re going to a Virginia winery and doing a tasting, 9/10 times, there will be the chance to join a wine club. If you’re a regular wine drinker, a club is well worth your time. The question is… which club is the one for you? I don’t recommend signing up at the very first winery you visit. Shop around and get to know the vibes of Virginia’s different tasting rooms. You can always come back and sign up on a second trip.

If you do finally take the plunge into club membership, remember that Virginia has over 300 wineries, with more opening each year! Continue to seek out new tasting rooms and check out all the new things the community is offering. And take it from me–there’s nothing wrong with being a member in multiple clubs.

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