Do you enjoy wine, but feel never quite sure what to buy? Do you spend long moments in the wine store, puzzling over labels? Club W wants to change that experience with a simpler approach that also happens to be a lot more fun. I tried out this wine subscription service, and here's how it went.
Club W works in a way that may feel familiar to those of you who have tried other subscription services — I'm talking non-food services here, like Birchbox and Scentbird, where you take a profile questionnaire to determine your style and your taste so they can send you precisely tailored sparkly lip gloss and spritzy perfumes. So fun, right?
Club W brings that same sort of tailored approach to wine. They give you a short quiz to get a sense of what you like (How do you like your coffee? Strong and black? Frappuccino'd?) Then they suggest wines based on your supposed preferences. The result: three wines each month, shipped quickly to your door.
You can let the system automatically pick wines for you, as it will each month if you don't override their choices. Or you can go in and choose from the main roster of wines, all nicely photographed, with tasting notes. All of these are $13 and can be substituted for the regular picks, or you can splurge a bit and substitute one of the Curator's Choice wines, which run a little more expensive. You also can set your preferences to request a certain number of reds and whites in each box (I have two reds and one white in my standard preferences).
One really lovely thing about Club W is that it doesn't neglect the food experience. Personally, I tend to drink wine only with food, and many if not most of the Club W wines have a recipe and suggested pairing. The Kitchn has been partnering with them on a few recent boxes so if you have tried out this service you may have seen a few of our recipes!
How do they keep the prices low? The wines are all bottled by Club W themselves. They source wines from various places but handle the bottling, repackaging, and shipping. This is a fairly common approach in the world of budget wines, and it often means that you can get great deals on wines you wouldn't have otherwise bought. (Read more about their system here.)
I don't have any specific info on where the wines I've tried were sourced, but I've thoroughly enjoyed all the wines they've sent. We've tried a peppy rosé that was deliciously perfect for early summer, and a Pinot that was quite nice with a pork chop dinner. And the convenience is lovely — instead of picking through the shelves at the grocery, wines just show up on the doorstep (not carrying heavy bottles home is a perk for city-dwellers).
Of course, some cooks do enjoy the process of shopping for wine and learning about specific vineyards and makers; such a hands-off approach is probably not what's wanted there. The only other drawback to Club W is that the subscription is tough to cancel; you can easily put it on hold for a month, but to cancel you have to call by phone.
But if you want to explore wine and — more to the point — just drink wines that are reliably delicious, Club W is a terrific way to teach your palate what you love and drink more of it — and all at a pretty great price, too.