Wine Clubs

One of the many ways you can buy wine is to join/sign up for a wine club. There are tons of wineries that have a club or some sort of subscription service. The question is why do they do it and why would you want to join.

Why do they do it ? Clearly having a wine club is a great way to guarantee an income stream for a winery. It also helps to create brand loyalty and brings a level of fairness to the distribution of scarce resources , IE wines made in very small amounts, wines not meant to be commercially released or wines that are in high demand due to high scores and good reviews in the press. The bigger issue is margin. If a winery can sell a wine to you off the mailing list it creates a higher % profit than selling it to a wholesale account like the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch. Wineries want you to sign up for the mailing lists and join the subscription clubs. That’s why they ask where you are from when you visit a tasting room. You are more likely to benefit from and subsequently sign up for a wine club if you are from the country the winery is in as foreign shipping of wine is cumbersome and inefficient .

As for why you would want to join it’s only natural a wine lover will start to develop favorite wines and wineries. Either the flavors of the wines appeal to you or there is a particular memory or emotion that is evoked by the purchase or consumption of a wine. Whatever the reason being a member of a wine club insures that your interests take priority over more casual visitor to that winery. Wineries will often create a special bottling or format specifically for a club. Sometimes pricing is better too. In my experience just saving a few $ is not a compelling reason to join a club as many wineries and stores have opportunities to buy at a reduced price. Join because the wines are rare or because you love them.

A couple clubs to consider. One in BC another in the US

Laughing Stock Winery , Link
There are 3 options once you are in the Club

Series A full cases of only a single wine and you get first choice when each wine is released $ depends on which wine you buy.

Series B Red and White wines 6 bottles in total 3 times a year. $ fluctuates. Series B Red only 12 bottles 1 shipment a year in the fall.
Benefits of joining
Free shipping direct to your door – in most provinces

•Free shipping on any additional wine orders of 1 case (12 bottles) or more

•Preferred access to newly released wines and Small Cap, limited production wines

•Preferred access to rare library wines and large format bottlings (ie Magnums)

•Invitation to winery events, including some Shareholder only events

•Complimentary tasting room tastings and private winery tour- with advance notice

•Option to stay in the winemakers residence a weekly vacation rental for Preferred Shareholders only.

•No membership fees and no cost to join

Ridge Vineyards Winery in California Link

If I lived in the US or had a US mailing address this would likely be my personal choice of a wine club. The range of wines offered in the Ridge ATP ( Advanced Tasting Program) program is fantastic , the quality is first rate and the availability of the wines outside of the winery is virtually zero. They also offer a Z lovers membership if you are into Zinfandel and a Montebello Collectors Club if you are looking for the flagship wines.

Membership includes the following
Exclusive members-only offers and discounts on limited production wines

Complimentary tastings for up to 4 guests, members included, at our wineries 20% off tours and private tastings
Complimentary admission to annual winery events

Member Discount on all purchases of current release wines:

10% on 1-11 750 mL bottles/equivalent volume
15% on 12 – 750 mL bottles/equivalent volume or more Discount applies to all club shipments as well

If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. .

Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning.

Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food. Cheers

David Lancelot

Cheese, the high road

It’s confession time folks. If you give me the choice between a dessert and a cheese course at the end of a meal I will pick the cheese every time. I really enjoy the interplay between cheese and wine ( sweet or dry) and the cultural connection between wines and cheese from specific regions. There is a reason why cheese and wines from the Loire Valley (for example ) work with each other. This is the first in a two part post on my favorite cheeses and wines that are complimentary to them. The next post , The Low Road will have some recommendations that are a little easier to find .

For the advanced cheese lover store like Les Amis du Fromage and Benton Brothers are a gold mine. Both have amazing selection and super smart staff. If they don’t have the exact cheese I mention they will have 2 or 3 other options that will work just as well.

One of my all time favorites is a cheese called Brillat-Savarin ( bree-YAH sah-vah-RAN. Brillat-Savarin is creamy dreamy soft Cows-milk triple cream brie produced year round in Burgundy and Normandy , plush and just a hint of sourness. This is my go to cheese with great Champagne . If you have an older bottle of blanc de blanc it will sing. The stuff that dreams are made of.

Vacherin Mont d’Or (vasher-ANN-moan-DOR) is typically only available from fine cheese shops seasonally around Christmas. This cows milk unpasteurized washed rind cheese typically has a bumpy reddish brown rind and a big woodsy, mushroomy flavor with a slight bite and a strong aroma . The closest substitute is called Reblochon . This is your red burgundy cheese , the earthy mushroom character provide a flavor echo back and forth with Pinot Noir that will leave you captivated and speechless.

My wild card pick is a goats milk cheese called Clos du Berry. A full wheel of it weighs about 12 kilograms and it’s aged a year. Taste is very rich and a slightly sharp finish. Not overtly goaty . A Les Amis du Fromage exclusive. Try this with a sweet wine from the Loire, Quart de Chaume Coteaux de Layon or sweet Vouvray. FYI to find out about this one I emailed Les Amis du Fromage and they replied in less than an hour, now that’s service.

My advice is find a person at one of these stores and put yourself in their hands. Trust the experts. Explain your favorites and your budget and listen to their suggestions. You will more often than not have an amazing experience. Stretch your brain, try new things and step out of your comfort zone. Sometimes you have to swing for the fences !!!!


If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. .

Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning.

Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food. Cheers

David Lancelot