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Wine Clubs

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Chat' started by Ernie Vegas, Dec 29, 2015.

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  1. Ernie Vegas

    Ernie Vegas Low-Roller

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    Who belongs, how many, and what do you like and dislike about the program? Do you jump from one to another? Do you have a long term favorite? Just a bit curious as to what's out there.


    As part of my fiancée's Xmas gift, I signed her up for a wine program from one of her favorite winemakers (Equinox from Orin Swift). It's limited to 500 customers so we are in line on the waiting list. While it may not be unique, it is a little unusual from what I expected. As a rule when she visits, we just spend a day or two tasting and buying a bottle or two here and there which I eventually will ship out to her. I signed her up with a back up club in case we don't get on the active list by the spring shipment.
     
  2. shifter

    shifter Degenerate Gambler

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    I stay away from clubs and/or bundles because I know why/how they do it.

    they have a couple of decent things and then fill the other bottles with cheap stuff they need to get rid of.

    they call it a "great way to sample, while saving money", but it's really a great way for them to get rid of stuff they can't sell otherwise.

    and you don't really save money because so much of the stuff you get you didn't really want anyway and wouldn't have paid the price you paid for it anyway.
     
  3. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

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    I belong to one wine club. I think Ken2V is your guy for this question as he may need an intervention. :wink2:

    I like to travel and taste. I try to take 1 trip a year to a wine country to do some exploring and treating my taste buds. I've been tempted to sign up for a wine club at a few of them, but never have. We have a winery on the WA coast that I LOVE and we signed up for their wine club. 2 bottles per quarter, you pick a group (white, red, dessert, mixed - we're in what I call the "surprise me" group) and they charge your credit card at shipping. We have the option to call and come in to pick up our bottles, but it's a 3 hour drive and much more expensive as I never leave with just 2 bottles. :) The reason we went with them and have stayed for the last 7-8 years is that their wine is like no other. For good or bad, they have some strange blends, like a Pineapple Express that I drink like juice all summer, a chocolate raspberry, a cranberry that has become our go-to holiday wine, etc. If it were just Riesling or Pinot, I'd probably pass.
     
  4. Snidely

    Snidely VIP Whale

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    Funny you started this thread. I just saw a commercial on TV for the TCM wine club where they match the wines to the moves. Looked interesting.
     
  5. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    We only belong to local wineries. To us one of the big bennies is access, being able to pop by whenever you want, you easily can attend functions and events, you get access to spontaneous deals, and then of course from there the relationships grow and a number of growers and vintners are now friends. We're on a few dist lists for some manners of "exotica," but rarely personally take our allocations. We do get a distribution of small-/smaller-house Champagnes through Fat Cork in Seattle because, well, Champagne only comes from Champagne. Overall we have a decent number of memberships, and have it down to ones we want to keep with a slot or two for rotation. One membership gives us access to owned wineries in CA, OR, WA and New Zealand, but it still is about the locals. All are vintner-select, nothing "mix/match" like so many of the clubs advertised.

    If I were to call out one here, it would be Hilliard Bruce. (They not gone the cultish route of a SeaSmoke or perhaps Brewer-Clifton, but they are way hard to just find.) Another VMBer joined after visiting while here this summer for our annual shrimp boil, and am sure he'd concur. If one is a Burgundian (and cool-clime Rhone varietals), I'll also suggest A Taste of Sta. Rita Hills, which is owned by the Moretti folks and brings together many of the truly tiny houses of the AVA, ones with effectively no retail face.

    Now having said all that, we do want to get a line on an Oregon house.

    We also have an invaluable asset in the hood here at VMB in a member from the industry in Napa.

    P.S. Good timing as I was going to put up a post for Oregon recommendations. I'm going up soon and have a day to kill and was thinking of heading to Dundee or maybe Eola-Amity Hills AVAs.
     
  6. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    OK, let's say I don't live in wine country ...

    I'd have two Pinot houses from here and one Chardonnay, one Pinot from Oregon, an Alexander Valley Cab (value/price/quality overlap), Cab and other warm-weather stuff from, say, Lake County, and a Zin-ery from Gold Country.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2015
  7. Ernie Vegas

    Ernie Vegas Low-Roller

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    Good info, thanks. The Equinox club is a bit unusual as Dave creates a wine exclusively for the 500 members for each spring and fall and you get 6 bottles per shipment for $600. The first was a chard, which was well received by his fans, but there was some question of value given the context of the fixed price. The second effort was lost to the earthquake and the third was a Grenache blend. I'm assuming turnover will be fairly high given the structure.
     
  8. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    And that's the way it is with many clubs. Aside from whatever pricing incentives are offered, the pick-up parties and "free" tastings and what not, it's early or exclusive access to stuff.
     
  9. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Coming back to this, the key thing for those starting in to this is figuring out varietals and regions that suit your fancy. Someone can go on and on and on about the Orgasmic Osprey Cab or whatever, and it can tally all the points real and purchased, but if you're a Pinotphile, that does what for you? Or if you think Chardonnay is just perfect in Chablis trim, a California oak-butter bomb will have you running for the door.

    I guess this is where one of those blind clubs might come in to play. You get stuff from all over and hopefully it's both a good wine and emblematic of that grape/those grapes from that region so you can start building up a memory bank and comparison points. But what are you getting? Good, bad or otherwise for the producer, for the consumer Costco does a great job sourcing wines, and if something is for shit, it's Costco. If you blind pick from Total Wine or Bev Mo and you happen to like what you found, chances are you can actually go find it again. You can buy most anything from TJs and if it is crap, who cares, you're not out much coin. And your local bodega is where you start that relationship with someone that is so key to this pursuit.

    And of course, reading is fundamental.
     
  10. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    Never been in a wine or beer club (for years, NC was one of the states that didn't allow shipping - think that's changed, but I no longer care - I don't want to drink local wine and I know where to shop for local beer) What I do is get regular emails from my local wine store (well, "local" is relative - but it's the one I use and they have my credit card on file ;-) They offer special boxes & discounts regularly, and when something looks good, I place an order and pick it up on the way home when it's ready. This way I can control what I get but am regularly offered new things to try (if I'm interested, or I can get the same old same old if I love it)

    (ha - local bodega ;-) For a few years, my local was Schneider's of Capitol Hill - DC - and I'd stop on my walk home from Union Station and try whatever they had available - they taught me which adjectives to use to describe the wines I like - I have such fond memories of that teeny little store!)
     
  11. captainron62

    captainron62 VIP Whale

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    I am in Laithwaites. I actually enjoy it but understand the rub as Shifter pointed out. I can say I have not gotten a bad bottle as of yet. There are def some I would not seek out, but none I have hated. It is a convenience thing for me. I go thru about 20 to 24 bottles a month at the house and this way I only have to lug one case in from the store and have one shipped. I have gotten some really good wines from the club including a few I have purchased separately that I liked them so much. I don't do it for the value, as I'm not sure it is saving me a dime, like I said it is fun and convenient, that is for sure.
     
  12. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    And it is one way to combat myopia. I will say we are heavily vested in Sta. Rita Hills and Santa Ynez Valley wines.
     
  13. captainron62

    captainron62 VIP Whale

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    For sure, that along with the convenience is the draw for me. I enjoy looking up the wines and sorting through them.
     
  14. Malibugolfer

    Malibugolfer High-Roller

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    For very, very good reason.
     
  15. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Geography helps us, for sure. I'm typing this and looking out over the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, and we have 25 or so wineries right in town, a helluva lot more w/i 30 minutes. So the collecting part is easy. You need to head out for a visit, Ron. Bring your clubs!
     
  16. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    :thumbsup:

    Nothing like a round at LP then a quick run to the ghetto. BTW, one of the things Chris has done since buying the place is upgrade the wine program, and a total re-do of the grill and menu is coming. Remember the old ranch buildings down by #9 green? They're almost done swapping those out as short-term rentals. They've pulled out all the stops. Two multi-room units, outdoor kitchen and living "room" going in the space between, home-grade kitchens ... really really good stuff.
     
  17. captainron62

    captainron62 VIP Whale

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    I would love that Ken! I am getting a bit of LV burnout so need some new scenery. Our weekend hobby here in Ohio is driving to wineries around the tri-state region. I think we have about conquered them all.
     
  18. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Do Vegas, fly Allegiant -- sorry -- to Santa Maria, we pick you up.
     
  19. captainron62

    captainron62 VIP Whale

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    Allegiant hops from LV to SM?
     
  20. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    It's a very limited schedule, but yes.
     
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