When I started my wine blogging adventure I put this post together for Jon Troutman over at http://corkd.com and was very exited to have my work shared with a much wider audience than my wife and a few friends that actually read my blog posts at http://norcalwingman.com.  I heard the news today that Cork’d is winding down their site to pursue other opportunities in this ever changing online wine world, so I thought  I’d dig up my posting from what seems like ages ago.
Cheers to you over at Cork’d and may the future bring you all great success!  All the best from norcalwingman.com.

How about joining that wine club?

By Brian Wing, March 9th, 2010
If you are lucky enough to live in an area with wineries that you like, you might just want to consider joining a wine club.  Although it may seem like high-pressure sales tactics (I mean, let’s call a spade a spade) there can be some really great benefits that come with belonging to your favorite winery’s club.
First off, you will most likely get free (complementary) tastings for you and your friends that tag along when visiting the winery.  Trust me, if you tell your friends that you get free tastings at a really great winery, they’re tagging along!  Secondly, you will get discounts on the wines you already love.  Usually these are pretty decent – 25-30% off is not unheard of.  You will also be the first to know when these wineries are trying to blow out their old inventory, and that’s when you can get some serious steals (50-75% off!).
In addition to the perks of savings, you will get a couple of shipments (or you can pick up if you’re close enough) of the wines you love.  The really cool part of this is that the selections you get may not be what your favorites are.  Now, you might say, “Wait!  I want the stuff I love.”  But, don’t modify what they plan on giving you.  You’ll get different varietals, many that you may likely have never tried (because you’re stuck buying your favorites every time).  In addition, depending on the club, you may get some “library” selections; smaller production, hard to find wines. This is when being a member really pays dividends.  You have access to some outstanding and truly unique bottles of yummy goodness.
To top it off, wine clubs have parties.  Now these can vary from a backyard barbeque style event to some seriously legit soirées.  De La Montanya’s Summer pickup party rocks, they bring in a band and serve up the year’s best wines and send you home with six future star bottles. Recently my wife and I attended an event at the new Yankee Stadium in New York City.  Prior to that we enjoyed a sunset cruise on San Diego Harbor aboard “The America” (http://www.stars-stripes.com/images/images-5.jpg ) sipping great wine and eating gourmet hours devours.

"The America" overlooking San Diego Harbor

Sonoma-Cutrer’s club is pretty unique, they really dote on their wine club members. These are two examples of wine club events that I’m lucky enough to take part in.
So check out your favorite wineries websites, or call them up, and look into joining their club.  Better yet, if you’re able to visit your favorite winery in person, stop by, shake their hands, and they’ll gladly get you going.   Most clubs have two shipments a year, totaling a case per year of wine.  Some offer Red only or White only options to suit your preferences.  Others even offer varietal specific clubs. Obviously some prehistoric states have shipping regulations, so be sure to ask when you sign up.
Wine clubs offer an additional dimension to the wine experience, one that I think is absolutely worth it.  Now go sign up – your winery is waiting to hear from you. I guarantee it!

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