Wine Clubs aren’t the private clubs one “belongs” to, nor are they the type of club you might join if you want to play golf. Wine Clubs are membership clubs and operate much like subscription services…you commit to buying 3 to 4 bottles of wine per quarter, shipped to you, and in exchange for that commitment you are afforded certain privileges.
Wine Clubs are a huge profit center for the wineries. The more subscriptions they can get, the more sales they are guaranteed, the higher their market value and the easier it might be for the winery to obtain, say, financing for buying new equipment or buying up smaller wineries and vineyards. In other words…it behooves them to do what they can to increase the number of subscribers.
While most Wine Clubs should offer something more than an unremarkable discount on the wines…most don’t. We try to stay away from clubs that don’t offer us the “private club experience”, though such Wine Clubs are few and far between.
We members, after all, are helping them build their net worth and we should be given the respect we deserve by allowing us certain privileges non-members don’t receive. There are different levels of membership that are distinguished only by the number of bottles you commit to buy.
In other words…the Wine Clubs have a lot of room for improvement. As a child we belonged to some of the finest private clubs and our own children were raised through the private club experience…dinners, brunches, special events, tennis, swimming, golf…these were the privileges we were happy to pay for.
I believe, as a private club aficionado, that the Wine Clubs really need to focus on building that arm of their business by hiring marketing professionals who have a depth of experience in private clubs…that is…if they want to reach new heights and help usher in and define a new kind of Wine Club for the next generation.
And, what does a great Wine Club membership look like?
- a members-only area of the estate
- member Happy Hours
- increased hours for Club members
- members-only events that foster a sense of community
- members-only dinners, cruises and outings
- significantly under-market pricing for such events
While I have not seen this yet, as a private club expert I hope to significantly impact the way we all experience Wine Club membership in the future. In the meantime, I join, I experience and I will critique the club, it’s staff, it’s ability to forge personal relationships with its members and where they fall short as the blogging begins.
I will also be vlogging club outings so you can decide whether certain clubs are better for you than others. Over the course of the next few months we should have been to every Wine Club and an event, or two, for you to appreciate. The journey will be a great one for all of us.
Mumm Napa is our current Wine Club pick. We like the service afforded Wine Club members for seating within their tasting areas and enjoy their events. The grounds and seating areas, tours and events are remarkable and a great place to go with friends for some celebratory R & R. Read about our most recent fun Mumm Napa event here.
Consider me your private “secret shopper” for Wine Clubs because (I am certain) when you do get up to wine country you do want to be treated like royalty, right?
Membership should have its privileges.