These top-rated wine clubs bring the world’s exclusive vineyards right to your home

Christel Deskins

It’s true, the list of hardships coronavirus has presented is innumerable, but there are a few silver linings we can give thanks to — the reaffirmation of America’s resilient spirit, time spent bonding with family during quarantine, and the appreciation of spectacular wines conveniently delivered to one’s doorstep. We’re talking wine clubs, and, while these used to be dumping grounds for mass-produced wines considered mediocre at best, today’s online market has vastly upgraded, targeting the enthusiastic, sophisticated, and social media savvy consumer unwilling to compromise on anything short of excellence when it comes to saying “cheers.” Here are some of our favorite picks:

SOMMSELECT

SommSelect.
SommSelect.

Oenophiles will recognize the name of founder Ian Caublin as one of the main characters in the popular 2012 film “SOMM.” The wine documentary chronicled Caublin’s three-year quest to become a certified Master Sommelier. The prestigious title (there are only 172 Master Sommeliers worldwide) ensures selections being offered are curated at the highest level without breaking the bank. All shipments can be sent under the Safe Summer Shipping Option—a worthwhile investment for wines headed to South Florida, which as we know too well, gets steamy in the summer months. Packages are held in climate-controlled warehouses prior to shipment and ice packs are inserted in the package during delivery. sommselect.com

PALATE CLUB

Palate Club.
Palate Club.

Aptly named, this San Francisco-based wine club leaves it up to you to decide what gets sent. Members start off with a blind tasting kit (4 reds or 4 whites, or both) which then get rated on a user-friendly App creating a unique “Profile Palate,” or personalized wine DNA for each member. Think of it as a Netflix, but for wine. palateclub.com

PLONK WINE CLUB

Plonk Wine Club.
Plonk Wine Club.

British slang for “cheap wine,” Plonk is anything but, offering small production, organic selections from around the globe made of unique indigenous grapes. Founder Etty Klein’s goal is to demystify the wine world, often seen as a daunting or stuffy space while introducing wine lovers to unexpected and responsibly sourced vineyards from lesser known regions such as Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary. plonkwineclub.com

VINEBOX

Vinebox.
Vinebox.

Beautiful packaging revealing 9 glass vials holding a single pour already makes a Vinebox delivery feel like Christmas morning. The premise is to discover what you enjoy (and don’t enjoy) without committing to an entire bottle. It doesn’t hurt that Vinebox’s team of sommeliers offer a wide variety of taste-worthy choices, from vintages hailing from up-and-coming regions to cellar finds from a decade ago. Each delivery comes with a booklet detailing the wines profiled, from their vintage, region, flavor profile along with inventive pairing suggestions (the Terres d’Alice Beaujolais pairs well with “walks around the neighborhood”). getvinebox.com

USUAL WINES

Usual Wines.
Usual Wines.

Created by the same team behind Vinebox, Usual Wines focuses on small-lot California wines coming from sustainably farmed vineyards. The wine is delivered in 6.3 oz bottles, which translates to a generous full glass to enjoy. There’s a mobile concierge you can text when you visit their website. usualwines.com

WINC

Kelsey Knight/Unsplash
Kelsey Knight/Unsplash

Winc, formerly known as Club W, takes the quality of its wines so seriously it produces all of its own brands from grape to glass. Under the discerning guide of Head Winemaker Robert Daugherty (who readily taps into customers’ input), top hits like the Summer Water rosé were born. Members take the Palate Profile Quiz, which asks about coffee preferences (“strong and black” or “Frappuccino’ed”), thoughts on earthy flavors (“Yes, I’ll more or less eat dirt,” or “Gross. No.”), to help determine taste preferences. From there, four recommendations, which customers rate once sampled, help determine what their dream bottle tastes like. winc.com/wines

VEGAN WINES

Vegan Wines.
Vegan Wines.

Frances Gonzalez, a vegan for over 20 years, was shocked to learn that egg whites are commonly used to speed up the wine fermentation process, something not noted on most bottle labels. She founded Vegan Wines to guarantee wine lovers following an animal-free diet would not have any concerns. And there’s no reason this should compromise flavor, Gonzalez asserts, explaining Vegan Wines visits all the vineyards they work with to ensure the wine is one hundred percent free of animal products, from soil to glass. Members can also opt to add a trio of plant-based cheeses for an additional cost. veganwines.com/wine-clubs/

VINELY

Vinely.
Vinely.

Founder Erin Vaughen used her experience in both the fashion and wine industry to create what she calls, “a snobbery-free resource for gals who want to elevate their wine tasting and intel.” While her target demographic was originally millennial women, Vinely’s scrupulous curation of little-known gems make this club a sure win for anyone seeking a solid wine experience. No detail is left behind, and that includes the packaging. You’ll want to steal off into a bubble bath with your delivery to drink and “study” in peace. vinleymarket.com

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