What are wine clubs? How do you join one? Do you need to be an expert to do so? We answer all these questions, and more!
By Diane Small
Wine-o-clock is the favourite hour of the day for many. And plenty of us have our favourite tipple firmly in place. But other wine lovers want to continuously explore different grapes, bottles and vintages.
One way to do so is through wine clubs. But what are these? And how do they work?
What are wine clubs?
Wine clubs are basically just organisations where members join to learn more about wine and buy different types of wine to test as a group. Wine clubs have existed in the United States for about half a century.
A wine club can take many formats. It could be a casual meet-up among drinking buddies, much like a book club. The members can meet regularly to teach themselves about wines and to try a unique bottle every now and then.
On the other hand, it could also be a more exclusive establishment where members pay for memberships and have access to many different types of wine. As long as you pay the membership and show up for club meetings, you’re a member. Easy peasy! But that being said, some clubs may be more appealing to different kinds of people than others. And they may be more exclusive, too.
For example, some wine clubs require a certain level of knowledge about the drink already. You should know your pinot noir from your chardonnay, at the very least!
There are other types of wine clubs that will help you understand the legal aspects of the wine business. Wine shipping laws are often very complicated, with many factors to consider, including how much wine you are importing, the type of wine, and the licensing fees to pay. Obviously, this type of club is more suitable for publicians or importers.
There are even vegan wine clubs for those who prefer to drink wines that don’t involve the use of eggs, fish scales and bones in their production processes.
The social element of wine clubs is often an important consideration for most people. There are clubs just for women, for retirees, and for restauranteurs, for example. It’s more fun to join a club with people who have more in common with your needs.
More stuff you can learn
Did you know there are five basic stages or steps to making wine? These are: harvesting, crushing and pressing, fermentation, clarification, and then aging and bottling. A wine club can teach you more about each step.
These are important, because it’s the endless variations along the way that make a difference to the taste of a wine. They also make each wine unique and ultimately contribute to the greatness or ignominy of any particular wine.
Some clubs also teach you which kinds of foods pair best with different kinds of wine, and which ones should be served for special occasions. Perfect information for restauranteurs and dinner party enthusiasts alike!
Finally, some wine clubs can even teach you how to make your own wines. How cool is that?
If you want to learn more about different kinds of wines; hone your expertise in pairing wine with foods, or even learn how to make wine yourself, a wine club can help. Simply do a search for local clubs in your area, and enjoy the learning process!