Who better than a wine director to launch a wine club? Some restaurants are now providing wine lovers with direct access to their well-edited lists, with shipments arriving on their doorsteps.
“We hope people have learned to trust us and put themselves in our hands for wine,” says Shelley Lindgren, wine director and owner at A16 and SPQR in San Francisco. In April 2011, both eateries rolled out wine clubs. For $95 per month, customers get three bottles handpicked by Lindgren, usually from small producers for a six- or 12-month term.
At the Michelin-starred restaurant Auberge du Soleil in Napa, Wine Director Kris Margerum evaluates about 200 wines weekly in pursuit of adding a few to the 1,500-selection wine list. The rest of the best go out to members of Club Vin du Soleil, offering three membership levels: Cru, Premiere Cru and Grand Cru, costing between $325 and $1,200 quarterly. Between four and six bottles are in each shipment, plus invites to wine events. For Grand Cru and Premiere Cru members, there are 10%–20% discounts on items throughout the resort, such as rooms and spa treatments.