To have wine delivered to your home isn’t a new concept, but the latest subscription services offer what hush-hush, members-only institutions are known for: exclusivity and access. In other words, you now have the chance to try bottles and vintages you’d likely never find stateside. (Talk about bragging rights.) Here, five wine clubs for a variety of wine lovers.
For the Trend Setter: Pour This
The founder of Pour This, Ashley Ragovin, is a former wine director and sommelier at Los Angeles restaurants like Animal and Trois Mec, and she can pretty much guarantee that you haven’t sipped any of the bottles in her shipments. And that’s because of her personal relationships with small-scale producers. Sometimes, she’s the only person in the country with access to a certain vintage. To wit: In September, the package included the first-ever Singulier from Le Vignoble du Rêveur in Alsace, discovered on a trip to France. Ragovin, who earned a master’s degree in journalism, offers clever descriptions of the wines, along with tasting cards and CDs. She also sends out monthly newsletters that wax poetic on her current favorites, which include “the best g-dang rosé” she tasted all year (Fattorie Romeo del Castello’s 2016 Vigorosa from Etna).
The details: 3 bottles for $125 per month. You can also buy one-off bottles.
For the World Traveler: Le Cru
Want to visit wineries in, say, France’s Languedoc-Roussillon? Or Catalonia, Spain? This nascent company is the next best thing. Le Cru’s mission is to introduce people to European producers that otherwise don’t have the means or volume to export to the U.S. But it’s the transportive videos on their website that really bring the producers to life, taking you inside workspaces and showing you where the magic happens. Its three-bottle sets are a great introduction to each region. The Piedmont set, for example, consists of a Gavi, a Dolcetto and a Nebbiolo.
The details: Available in sets of 3, 6 or 12; you can customize or purchase a curated case. From $18 per bottle (shipping included).
For the Experimental Sipper: Winc
What began as an online marketplace called Club W now claims to be the fastest-growing wine company in the country. Winc works with vineyards and winemakers to produce its own limited-release bottlings, which include about 100 California wines, as well as some from Europe, Australia, Chile and beyond. The company likes to think outside the box, as seen in its Field Theory series made from Old World Grapes grown in California (like a Paso Robles Blaufränkisch). To get started, you answer a few questions about your feelings on coffee, citrus, salt and more. A box is generated for you, and you can make substitutions.
The details: 4 bottles per month; wines start at $13.
For the Gourmand: Wine Awesomeness
As Logan Lee, the co-founder and CEO, puts it, “food and wine are just a natural fit.” Wine Awesomeness embraces the pleasures of pairing in its themed shipments, with choices ranging from a focus on a singular dish (burgers; grilled cheese) to a destination (Portugal) or even a season (Summer Vibes). Each package comes with an issue of its custom thebacklabel magazine, chock-full of recipes often from partners like Tasting Table, Shake Shack, Food52 and even Little Pine, Moby’s vegan restaurant in L.A. You’re offered the choice of three or six bottles of red or white wines made by forward-thinking producers like Field Recordings in Paso Robles, as well as from modern vineyards in classic wine destinations like France and South Africa.
The details: 3 bottles for $45 per month, or 6 bottles for $75 per month.
For the Commitment-Phobe: VineBox
It’s a problem we’ve all encountered before: You want a glass (or two) of wine, but your spouse/friend/roommate prefers something else, so you open a bottle and risk letting the rest go to waste. Enter VineBox, this genius club that puts together personalized packages of by-the-glass pours from Europe, selected by sommelier Tyler Kennedy. The wines come in seamless tubes and are not exposed to oxygen, thanks to a patented rebottling process. And if you fall in love with a specific wine, just log on to your account to purchase a full bottle.
The details: From 3 glasses (10 centiliters each) for $29 per month.