The first rule of wine club is…

Posted by Idaho Wine Commission on Mar 5, 2020

Have you ever been part of a book club? Well, everyone knows the best thing about a book club is the fantastic assortment of wine and snacks! Every month it's like an after dark version of brunch. (Is “dunch” a thing? Feels like it should be.)

So imagine how delightful it would be to join another kind of club that takes all the best elements of book clubs (lots of wine) and only requires you to read the label on a bottle.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Say Hello to Wine Clubs!

Now, we know what you’re thinking: wine clubs? Sounds bougie and expensive. Are they just filled with snobby sommeliers who have secret handshakes, meetings in dark, candle-lit lairs, and really cool embroider robes? And the answer is: maybe... probably not. But there are plenty of really awesome ones in Idaho that focus on providing you with a diverse selection of amazing Idaho wines, exclusive (and accessible) prices, admission to special events, free tastings, and early access to new releases, and a lot more!

Which Way to Wine?

Excited to start looking? Well, hold on to your corkscrews. Before you go joining a club, here are some tips that will help you and your friends get sipping.


Wine pairings matter.

That doesn't mean which wines go with which foods, it's which wine club goes with you. When it comes to wine clubs, you have to like the vino and the vibe they’re putting out. Being a member means you’re probably going to be there a lot and drinking their wines on the regular. Make sure you take the time to research different wineries and clubs to find the one that fits you best. The easiest way to start: visit some local wineries until you find one where you feel like you fit.

You don’t have to be a well-off wine aficionado to join.

If the only thing you know about wine is that you don’t know anything—then you can rely on the wine club to choose great wines for you to try the next time your friends come over for dinner. Special events and classes available to club members are also a great way to learn more. As for the misconceptions about cost: Depending on which club you choose, the expense can be about the same as buying a bottle each month.

Figure out if you want a little or allotment.

Some clubs let you choose your allotment (the wines you get), while others have a Club Manager who builds the allotment based on wine inventories and new releases. Not every club is the same, so make sure you understand their policies.

Come to grips with the grapes.

There is more to wine clubs than just slinging back crushed grapes. Some questions you should ask include: How many bottles come with allotments? When are bottles released? Does the club ship or do you have to pick up? Is it close to home or work? What special events are included? Are there a lot of bottles required with your allotment and can you handle that many?

Have an exit strategy.

Did you just sign up for a wine club? Cool! Did you just find out they’re like the Hells Angels and membership is for-ev-er? Not cool! Read the fine print and ask about the process required for leaving the wine club.

Sharing is caring.

Joining a wine club can be a lot like trying to assemble Ikea furniture—don't go it alone; have a friend help you. Depending on the wine club, you could split the wine allotment (e.g., if you get an allotment of 6 bottles, maybe you each take 3.) Or maybe you join one club and your friend joins another, then you can swap wines.

Topics: Wine Education