How Wine Experts Rate & Review Wine Clubs
Wine clubs are quickly becoming one of the most popular enrollment and gift activities associated with the food and beverage industry. A wine club is not a "set in stone" arrangement and they are available in an enormous number of styles and options. There are clubs dedicated to California wines and there are those that focus entirely on Champagnes or Sparkling wines. The choices are almost limitless, but it is a good idea to investigate some of the wine club reviews before making a choice.
Even though most wine clubs use a panel of experts to make their monthly or seasonal selections there may still be some issues with the club's choices, so it's important to do your own research or read reviews. Wine club reviews analyze the following areas:
Quality of Wine
This is, of course, a major factor in the success of any wine club. If the members receive unpopular or "clearance" items they will probably not enjoy their membership as much as those who receive specially selected vintages. Unfortunately there are some clubs that do utilize discounted bottles and vintages as a portion of each month's shipment. This is usually quickly and easily identified by the critic who will comment on every single selection.
Additionally, any critic is going to have some good knowledge and background about the type of wines the club has promised and will be able to let potential members know if the vintages selected match the criteria of the club, or its standards. For example, if a club promises the best California "boutique" wines, a knowledgeable expert will be able to point out any discrepancies in the selections.
All of these factors can affect the overall quality of the wines delivered to the members. Generally, the wine club reviews will itemize the traditional characteristics of wine on a bottle by bottle or vineyard by vineyard basis. Most reviews rely on the classic "gold star" system to identify how well the club performed.
One reason that many people decide to enroll in a wine club is for the newsletters and printed information that accompanies their monthly or seasonal shipments. Generally they will discuss the grapes, region and particular vineyard where the wine was produced. This is not all "fluff", but is intended to educate the member about the wine industry and its practices.
All of this is important because it can really help to train their palette and enable them to recognize things like bouquet, flavors and aromas. For instance, you might purchase a bottle of wine that was aged in oak. It could have a very distinctive flavor, but as a novice you would not be able to say, "oh, it is the oaky overtones that I am detecting". A good wine club will provide such training, and a good wine club review will praise the club for delivering these materials.
Additionally, a wine club review should scrutinize the club’s educational materials for food pairing information. Wine is not always intended to be sipped without the benefit of food and many people are unaware of the best food and wine pairings. A wine club review should indicate if this information is included along with every shipment.
Any wine club review should let the consumer or potential customer know if the wines and educational materials come at a reasonable value. For example, if a club makes a habit of delivering substandard vintages, the wine club review should be able to identify this fact and alert a consumer to the lesser value of such a membership.
Additionally, it requires the comprehensive knowledge of an expert to know if a certain type of wine club is actually providing a valuable service to clients. For instance, a club dedicated to enhancing the value of a cellar will offer premium cellaring vintages at a good cost. A wine club review will point out if this is true or if it fails to meet such clear cut terms.
David Lett is a wine lover who has subscribed to wine clubs for over 15 years. It all started years ago during Thanksgiving when his friend gave him a six-month wine club subscription. His love affair with "wine at his door" had begun. Discover David's Wine Club Insider Blog and Wine Club Reviews at: http://www.WineClubGuide.com