Gold Medal Wine Club Review

Gold Medal Wine Club Review

Gold Medal Wine Club is a California focused (although they do send wines from outside of California) wine club offering several levels of clubs that are categorized using a number of factors: region, awards, size.  The club has 6 different options with each having various choices to make to help customize it to the member's preferences.

The club includes one varietal option, pinot noir, sure to attract many who are new to wine and while most are California-based, there is an international option for drinkers who enjoy trying wines from the world's wine regions.

Gold Medal Wine Club has many choices but like some other clubs, prices are in a range, so charges will be different every shipment without members being aware.  Add to this a few other issues and Gold Medal Wine Club is a middle of the road option for drinkers with a flexible budget who want to build a collection.

Header 1 / 1

How Many?

How Often?

How Much?

Focus

Gold Series

Platinum Series

Pinot Noir Series

Diamond Series

International Series

Garagiste Series​

2

4​

2

4​

​2

4

​2

4

3

2

4​

12, 6, or 4  annually

​12, 6, or 4 annually

​12, 6, or 4 annually

​Quarterly

Quarterly

12, 6, or 4 annually​

$37 or $39

$67 or $70​

$79-109​

$158-218

​$69-79

$138-195​

​$165-195

$313-370

$65-95

$122-181​

Small California wineries

​California wines: 90+ rated, rare, collectible

California's highest rated Pinot Noir

​California luxury wines rating 93+

High end and hard to acquire

Independent wines​

About Gold Medal Wine Club

The goal of the Gold Medal Wine Club is to provide members with a high quality sample of wines - both those that score high and those that are hard to acquire.  The focus is usually on high rated (all wines are 90+), Califonia wines but there is an international series that pulls wines from all of the world's wine regions.  There are also two options that focus on small and independent wines.

Choices are abundant.  Members select the series (more than one works with this club) they would like, the makeup of the wines, number of bottles and for some levels, frequency of delivery.  The final choice is whether the member wants a fixed number of shipments or a membership that is ongoing.​

Because of the way the different options are categorized there is no need for a survey or tasting prior to starting shipments.

What Does Membership Get Me?

  • A significant say in the wines you will receive.
  • Shipments of wines that meet the focus of your selection at a frequency, makeup, and amount you select.
  • High quality newsletters in each shipment.  The newsletters include tasting notes and pairing notes for the included wines, information on winemakers and vineyards.
  • Online videos for every available wine - a great way to grow your understanding of wine.
  • Discounts in their online store
  • Cool add ons.  The club selects snacks and wines that pair with the wines and can be added to shipments - there is no obligation, members can do this as they please.  We have not seen this with other wine clubs and it's a great option.

Take Note: Tasting videos can be a great deal of fun when you have guests over.  Have an in home wine tasting without hiring an expert!

Show Me The Money!

Here's where the Gold Medal Wine Club takes a turn down a road we're not too hip to travel: pricing.  While the swings in most options aren't horrific, the Premier does have a $30 difference.  Also, the site contains no information (or at least none that we can find) regarding shipping costs.  We do appreciate that there is a discount for choosing more bottles, but without information about shipping and not knowing how much each shipment will cost, this is an option for a particular type of consumer.

Read The Fine Print:  Call and get in writing any pricing information - there is very little on the website and in order to make sure you don't get overcharged, it's helpful to have an agreement in writing ahead of time.

Detailed Review of Gold Medal Wine Club

Price

Quality

Support

Educational Value

We liked

  • Interesting choices
  • Online chat option
  • No membership or cancellation fees
  • Discount for ordering 4 bottles

We didn't like

  • Pricing
  • Messy Website
  • Questionable focus

Summary:  Gold Medal Wine Club aims to provide its members with high quality niche wines, be they from international markets or small independent wineries.  The club offers several options when it comes to the types of wines, frequency of delivery, makeup of shipments and number of bottles.

Things We Like

Interesting Choices - If you've been to California wine country you know this: some of the best wines are found at tiny wineries along the sides of lazy roads.  Gold Medal Wine Club works with small vineyards and winemakers to offer wines from both small producers and independent clubs which is pretty cool since the only other way to get most of these wines is to travel to California.  In addition, an all pinot noir option shows that the club understands what new drinkers are leaning toward.

 Online Chat Option - Lots of clubs have ways to get in touch and this is our favorite.  Especially when a company is only open at business hours it can often be tough to call.  This option allows for quick information exchanges and, let's face it, generally doesn't include the upselling of a phone call.

 No Membership or Cancellation Fees - Join, leave... do what you want.  Just cancel prior to a shipment.  And, with the ability to commit to a certain number of shipments you can avoid the "Oh, no!  I forgot to cancel" moment when your bank statement arrives.

 Volume Discount - It's nice that they have 2 and 4 bottle memberships.  It's nicer that the 4 bottle comes at a nice discount.  Usually you have to order 12 bottles to yield such a nice cut.

Things We Don't Like

The Price - If the prices were what they are listed as, it would be great.  But there is no info on shipping costs.  Some say, "Free shipping!"  Others say, "Shipping included!"  Gold Medal Wine Club is mute on the subject which leads us to believe that there could be sticker shock.  Call and ask for confirmation in writing, or save the transcript of your online chat to make sure you don't get overcharged.  Also, the range of prices is not our favorite thing although it's far more reasonable than some other clubs - want to join and know how to budget?  Just plan on the higher amount each month.

Messy Website - Lots of information is good, but display is important.  The website for Gold Medal Wine Club is overwhelming and disorganized.

What's The Focus? - California wines?  High ratings?  The club is a little bit unclear as to which is more important to them and what members should expect in their experience.​

The Verdict

Gold Medal Wine Club looks good at first glance, but there are many unknowns about this club that makes it one we're not too keen on. From no information on shipping to a disorganized website and no clear focus, we're not sure we trust the promises made. Most wine drinkers with even minimal experience know that ratings are kind of a joke. They might mean something to the top level - a 100 point Malbec hits certain benchmarks. But if you hate Malbec you'll hate it whether it scored 100 points or 85 points. By promising wines of stupendous quality Gold Medal Wine Club sets members up for a pretty big letdown. Add that to the super secret prices and we'll pass.

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