Wine of the Month Club Review

Wine of the Month Club Review

Wine of the Month Club is a catchall phrase many of us use to describe any membership-based wine delivery club but there is an actual Wine of the Month club and that's the club we're featuring in this review.  The original, from 1972.

With a variety of choices and a newbie-friendly approach, there is a reason this club has been around since 1972 and why its name has become eponymous with all of these types of clubs.  

Let's get to know the Wine of the Month Club at a glance and deeper to see what types of wine drinkers it's best for, what they offer and anything  to be aware of. 

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How Many?

How Often?

How Much?

Classic Series

California Series

Vintners Series

Limited Series

Cellar Series

Case Club

Classic

Classic and Vintners

Vitners and Limited​

Mystery Case Club​

2

2

2

2

2

12

12​

Monthly, every other, or every third month

Monthly, every other, or every third month

Monthly, every other, or every third month

Monthly, every other, or every third month

Every other month​

Quarterly

Quarterly​

$21.95

$26.95

$31.95

$41.95

$65.95

$131.76

$161.76​

​$227.76

$99.00-119.00​

About Wine of the Month Club

Founded by the current owner's father in 1972, Wine of the Month Club is the original wine of the month club.  The California company has had years to develop significant relationships with producers, including small ones, and is able to provide wines many drinkers have not experienced.  There are multiple series, each with an increasing value per bottle, that consist of two bottles delivered monthly, every other month, or every third month.  The club tastes 400 wines per year and is selective about which bottles are chosen, including a focus on style standards.  Pinot Noir from Canada will taste like a cool climate Pinot Noir -- expression of varietal and terroir is important to the club thus increasing its value as a wine education tool.

There is no survey or tasting panel to do - members simply join online or by calling and select the series they would like and whether it is a gift or for their personal consumption.

Wine of the Month Club membership is easy to manage.  Members select from the various series in order to receive two bottles of wine per shipment.  Wines are from around the world except for the specified California series.  Members can choose from mixed, all red, and all white bottles except for the California series -- which is red only.  Wine prices are incredible and shipping is reasonable, although it does take a few minutes to calculate.  With no cancellation fees or obligation, members can cancel any time before a shipment has been made.  There is no option to specify a set duration for the club and pay ahead.  In addition to these series the club offers two quarterly case clubs with all red, all white, or a 8/4 split (no repeats!).  The mystery case is hand selected by the club each quarter and is a mix of wines.  The other case option allows members to choose a mix of wines from the other club offerings also in all red, all white, or an 8/4 split.

What Does Membership Get Me?

  • Two bottles of wine at the desired club level either monthly, every other, or every third month.
  • Choice of all red, all white, or mixed shipments (please see above paragraph for more information)
  • A high quality, 24-page insert with tons of information related to the wines.  Tasting notes, recipes, bios, climate and terroir info, this is one of the best inserts of all clubs.
  • Option of two different case clubs that arrive quarterly.

Take Note: The case club is one of the best options, price wise, out there.  

Show Me The Money!

The Wine of the Month Club is very clear about pricing, charges the same amount for each shipment, and offers some of the most competitive rates out there on good wines.  They do not offer discounts for signing up but the consistent savings more than make up for that.  In some ways we prefer a club that doesn't have a great deal the first month but instead is always a great deal.

  • ​There are no sign up, membership, or cancellation fees.
  • There is no obligation - cancel any time before your next shipment processes and you're done.
  • If you don't like a wine you either get your money back or get a new wine - this 100% guarantee is worth its weight in gold!
  • You'll pay for shipping but the rates are fair.
  • This club has some of the best per bottle rates, with a few shipping-related exceptions, available to wine club members.

What We Love:  The history, the focus, the educational materials, the price, the choices.  

Detailed Review of Wine of the Month Club

Price

Quality

Support

Educational Value

We liked

  • A consistent price and reasonable (for the most part) shipping rates.
  • A long history in the industry.
  • The quality of the inserts and education.
  • Enough choice without being messy.
  • Phenomenal website
  • So.  Much.  More.

We didn't like

  • Having to dig for shipping info as well as eligible states.
  • Can we get a 4 or 6 bottle option?

Summary: This really is a great club.  The per bottle rate is fantastic, the focus on true expressions of varietal and terroir along with the inserts provide a serious foundation for a wine education, the company is transparent and the tone is light, and newbie-friendly.  This is an exceptional and well-priced club for people who don't know that Zinfandel is a red grape and those who can tell you about the climate where wine was made from just a sip.  It is all encompassing and provides equal attention to newcomers and veterans in any price range.  The choices are reasonable but not limiting and there are no hidden fees.  Does it get any better than this?

Things We Like

Know What You're Going To Pay Each Month  - We're starting to sound like a broken record but we really do love a club that has a fixed cost per shipment unless you add on.  A swing of more than a few dollars can be tough for younger drinkers and drives those who like a fixed budget up a wall.  Wine of the Month has a fixed price, fixed shipping based on location, so the only variable are your state's taxes.  And, once you calculate the taxes you're set for every shipment.

 History - This club is the original and has been around since 1972 - that's more than forty years.  The history brings with it a deep knowledge of how to bring the best wine club experience to members for the right price and, let's face it, they wouldn't still be in business if they weren't doing it right.  There are plenty of by mail wine clubs in business and this one is highly competitive with all of the favorites.

 Quality Collateral - 24 full-color, high quality pages of inserts?  Yes, please!  We'll take this over a certificate or pages of advertisements any day.  On the website a passing remark is made to this club being like a wine correspondence course and, in some ways, this is true.  Get to know wine deeply by sitting down with the enclosed newsletter and learning about region, varietal, vintage, style, and terroir.  Because you're not sitting down reading a book on wine and instead simply comparing to the two bottles you have, there's more time to be immersed in both the wine and information, building your knowledge base.

 The Amount of Choice - There is a good balance with choice with Wine of the Month Club.  Frequency, price, whether you want to focus on California wines or experience more regions.  If you want to split your bottles or stick with one color (split!) -- these are the important choices and far less daunting to newer drinkers.  We have one itty bitty gripe we'll go into below but for the most part there is a great amount of choice without being overdone.

 The Website - While there is a great deal of information throughout the pages of the Wine of the Month Club website it is nicely organized, easy to navigate and puts what you need to know front and center.

Things We Don't Like

Where Oh Where Can I Get This Wine? - While American laws about shipping alcohol change on a more than regular basis and different carriers have different laws applied, we'd still like to see a list of where the club is available.  Even if Plonk posted a note that they might not be able to keep up.  Updating this list once a month would be better than what they have now: nothing.

4 or 6 Bottle Option - We'd love to see an option to get four or six bottles in a shipment versus the two that come.  It could be more cost effective for members.

The Verdict

Wine Of The Month Club is one of the better clubs available.  Its long history has allowed it to develop into a club that runs without kinks that provides consistent service, a good amount of choice, and good prices.  Members have the option of several different club options that will not only provide wine but also an education since the focus is on bottles that reflect terroir.  Additionally, the 24-page booklet is an invaluable addition to the club making Wine Of The Month Club live up to its oft-used label as a "correspondence course in wine".

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