Okay, maybe I didn’t think people who joined wine clubs were snobs..but I certainly never thought any of them would be relatable or similar to me in a thousand years. For those of you thinking I’m referring to those wine of the month club memberships you order off the magazine, that’s not quite it. I’m thinking of the clubs that grant you access to special events and expensive bottles of wines at vineyards because you’re in some elitist society. That’s why I was the most surprised when I ended up joining one.
Wine was never something I was interested in. It was just an alcoholic version of grape juice that seemingly was the drink of choice for those that enjoyed networking in a blazer and boat shoes. In college, everyone was interested in either beer or hard liquor. Apart from a very few, the closest we got to a stroll through a vineyard was when we played “slap the bag” involving some highly coveted boxed wine.
Being several years out of college now though, I realized that tastes change; that coupled with living in close proximity to Napa Valley forced me to give wine a chance, albeit a not very fair one. One weekend after arriving at a winery and knowing pretty much nothing about wine, I remember wondering to myself why in the hell everyone was swiveling their glasses around dressed to the nines in 80 degree heat. Little did I know I would soon become the object of my own confusion.
After taking the tour of this winery, I started to see the effort and work needed to create a single bottle. Moving to the tasting room and being taught the different types of wine along with the subtle flavors that develop started to give me an appreciation for the red, white and sometimes pink drink.* Not only did I start to appreciate the taste and complexity of wine, I realized what a beautiful view these winos had out in the rolling hills and blue skies. The next thing you know we said yes to a wine membership and haven’t looked back. Our apartment is now home to several wine bottles and visiting the local wineries will for sure be a common occurrence.
Now..don’t get me wrong, the wine membership does cost a pretty penny if you’re on a budget ($250+/year), but it provides many benefits that easily cover the cost and more. The package we bought allows us to take as many tours as we want for two people at several wineries across California. The tour we’ve taken costs $40/person and whenever family/friends visit we plan to take them for a touristy winery tour day. Free tours alone already will cover the membership costs but there is still the added benefit of free tastings, again at several different wineries across California. The tastings are open only to wine club members and often feature special wines that retail for $150+ bottles, so on average tastings would cost without the membership $50+/person. Having already gone to three tastings, we’ve already enjoyed several hundred dollars worth of wine tastings and plan to bring again, friends and family.
In conclusion, do your research and find something that meets both your budget and what you’re looking for. If you’re not a big drinker, obviously there wouldn’t be a point in joining a wine club, but if you happen to have a lot of visitors it might be worth it if you bring them on tours and tastings. And you know what?…It doesn’t hurt to be a little bougie from time to time.
*Shoutout to Helen at Robert Mondavi, if it wasn’t for her I still wouldn’t understand why we swivel the glass when drinking wine