Wine clubs, like grapes, come in many sizes and colours.
Whether it’s a particular winery you you sign up to; or a wine lovers’ club where you agree to buy a case of mixed bottles monthly or quarterly, there are lots of ways wine clubs can offer you special deals.
There are also clubs attached to bottle shop chains; even airlines have their own wine clubs.
The best thing is they’ve learned from past mistakes and don’t generally lock people in to onerous conditions anymore.
The benefits of clubbing
A good club offers its members variety and convenience. You pick your dozen from the comfort of your laptop, or have someone pick it for you; and it arrives within a day or two: a miracle!
Usually they’ve had experts curate the wines, so they’re a good drop at a decent price point.
The smart modern wine clubs also monitor your purchase history so they can recommend what you might like to discover next. Others give you the option to taste wines and only buy the ones you love, which helps expand your wine knowledge.
And depending on the club, you might get access to brands not available to other mere mortals, including special releases, small batches and export-only labels.
But do these clubs actually make wine buying cheaper than say, Dan Murphy’s, or your local bottle-o?
4 ways a wine club can save you money
1. Free delivery
Some wine clubs charge a flat rate of shipping, some reduce it when you order more, and some waive it in some circumstances. Others are completely free which definitely saves on petrol and hassle.
- Vinimofo – offers free shipping on all of their wine clubs
- Naked Wines – free in metro Sydney or Melbourne
- Brokenwood – free shipping on all 3 wine plans
- Cloudwine – boutique boxes delivered free Australia wide
- Secret Bottle – free Australia-wide, offering tasting club packs
- Just Wines – free shipping on their various ‘trophy club’ plans2.
2. Discounts on wine
There are some small winery wine clubs that don’t necessarily offer you much of a discount off their cellar door, but they might have deals or freebies or member benefits over time. Best to check their cellar door prices, and their prices at bottle shops, to see if you are saving enough to make it worthwhile.Other clubs use their buying power to give you consistently high discounts.
·VInimofo Black Market Club
60 – 70% off RRP of wines
25 – 40% off regular price
12.5 – 35% discount depending on your wine plan
40 – 70% off RRP; South Australian-based business
40 – 60% off bottles in a range of plans
And there are many more. It’s hard to compare the prices because often you can’t buy the product outside of the club. But they’re usually cheaper than you’d pay for the equivalent in a local bottle shop – with the exception of retailers like Woollies-owned Dan Murphy or BWS who always offer cheap bottles.
3. Loyalty points instore
When bottle shop chains set up wine clubs you can often build up loyalty points that you redeem in store.
Vintage Cellars is one example – you earn a point per dollar spent with the wine club; 500 points later you have $25 to redeem instore, on top of the discounts you receive on the cases.
4. Frequent flyer points
Qantas epiQure Premium members earn 3 Qantas Frequent Flyer points per dollar value in their wine club; if you’re not a member you earn 1 point per dollar value. There are also bonus points of 1,000 – 8,000 per case with some products.
Virgin Wines gives you 3 Velocity points for every $1 spent with their wine club and they have other partners like Laithwaites Wines where you can earn points.
5. Credit card rewards
Wine Direct customers for instance earn 10 bonus CommBank credit card rewards points for every $1 spent, on top of the usual points per dollar earned with the card. Check your credit card’s website to see who their wine partners might be.
If you know how to shop a bargain, then a wine club might not save you much.
But with a wine club, you’re supporting local winemakers, you get wines recommended to you, and you rarely get duds – the club’s reputation and retention depend on good feedback.