Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Premium Wine Club by Cellars Wine Club

Premium Wine Club by Cellars Wine Club Review

Wine Clubs

Product Grade
Report Card Grade
0 Reviews
Best Feature:
Affordable introduction to domestic and international wines
Worst Feature:
Unclear selection process and no satisfaction guarantee
Best Uses:
Affordable gift for friend/employee (wine novice)
Pricing:
$39.00 per 2-bottle shipment (S&H included)
Manufacturer:
N/A

Where to Buy

Store Name
Price

Overview

Cellars Wine Club has grown substantially since its establishment in 1996 and now offers thirteen different membership levels to cater to any palate and budget. Cellars' Premium Wine Club is one of their more affordable, entry-level memberships and is geared towards an inexperienced wine drinker who is looking to educate themselves on domestic and international wines. In addition to trying wines from the classic regions like California, Italy and France, Cellars will also send their members wine to sample from newer premium regions like New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Argentina and Chile. They also offer a wide range of varietals from the popular ones (ex. Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon) to ones that are less well known (ex. Albariño and Shiraz).

All of Cellars' Premium Wine Club's featured wines are carefully researched by their in-house wine experts and are selected based on their quality and value, as well as overall uniqueness. As part of your membership, you will choose whether you want to receive two bottles of a red varietal in each shipment or if you'd prefer a white varietal and a red varietal. You can also decide how many shipments you want to receive, whether you want to pre-pay or pay in installments, and if you want to receive deliveries on a monthly, bimonthly or quarterly basis. In each shipment, you will also receive a short, educational newsletter detailing the winery's history, tasting notes on the wines and suggestions for food pairings. If you try a wine that you love, you can easily reorder more bottles on Cellars' website at a great discount.

You can purchase a monthly membership to Cellars' Premium Wine Club for $39 a month. Shipping and handling is included, but you will have to add $4 if you are shipping to a residence.

Product Report Card Grade

We give Cellars Wine Club’s Premium Wine Club a B- because we feel the no-frills membership features a good variety of domestic and international wines and is a pretty great deal for a wine novice. However, we deducted points because they appear to have a less rigorous selection process than their competitors, don’t publicly archive all previous wine selections, don’t offer white-only shipments of wine and don’t offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee.


 
This Product
Overall Score
Our Awards
Date Reviewed
March 2013
May 2013
June 2013
Pros
affordable membership; provides great intro to domestic & international wines; average 20% reordering discount
Premium, limited-supply wines at exceptional values; strict selection process; previous wine selections publicly archived on website; great, responsive customer service; flexible membership; great discounts on reorders; excellent discounts on reordering (up to 35%); referral bonus; gifts are beautifully packaged; if you request red-only shipments, you'll still get 2 different kinds of red wine
Premium, limited-supply Pinot Noirs at great values; excellent reordering discounts (up to 35%) and easy online reordering system; great customer service; all previously featured wines publicly archived on website; referral bonus; gift shipments are beautifully wrapped
Cons
unclear wine selection process; only three newsletters archived on website; $4 surcharge for shipping to a residence
Doesn't offer instant email notification for gift recipients
Bimonthly shipping is only option; doesn't offer instant gift notification by email; domestic Pinot Noirs only produced in California wineries (none from Oregon)
Shipping Included
Yes
No
No
Cost per Bottle (Est.)
$10
$39.50 - $49.50
$34.50 - $44.50
Membership Minimum
No
No
No
Wine Options
Red or Combination
Red or Combination
Red
Domestic and/or International
Domestic and International
Domestic (California)
Domestic (California) and International
Selection
Features wine from classic growing regions (ex. Italy, France, and California), as well as more recently discovered premium regions (ex. New Zealand, Chile and South Africa).
Premium, hard-to-find California wines that have received at least a 90-point rating from a national wine publication and won multiple medals at major wine competitions.
Premium Pinot Noirs from boutique wineries in California and around the world that have (mostly) received 90+ ratings from a national wine publication and may have also been awarded a Gold Medal at a major wine competition.
Newsletter
Yes
Yes
Yes
Shipping Options
Monthly, Bimonthly or Quarterly
Monthly, Bimonthly or Quarterly
Bimonthly (February, April, June, August, October and December)
Shipping Details
First shipment can be sent out immediately after receiving your order, but typically shipments are sent out on the 20th of the month.
First shipment will arrive within 7 - 10 days of placing your order. Subsequent shipments will arrive sometime after the 15th of the month depending where you live.
Shipments will arrive sometime after the 15th of the month depending on how far away you live from California.
Gift Information
Offers free e-cards and free printable gift cards to notify gift recipients.
Offers a free gift card that you can customize and include in your 1st shipment. The bottles are beautifully wrapped and packaged in gift box that features specially commissioned artwork of wine country on the outside.
Complimentary and customizable gift card is included with gift purchase. Bottles in gift shipments are each wrapped in colorful tissue paper, placed in gift bags and stored securely in a beautifully illustrated gift box.
Extras
None
Offers the PLUS! Program that allows current members to add an extra bottle of high quality wine to each shipment for an additional $35 - $45 (or $39 if you pre-pay).
None
Satisfaction Guarantee
No satisfaction guarantee, but they will only replace any bottles you receive that are corked/damaged. If you want to cancel your membership, you must do so by the 7th of the month otherwise it will not take effect until the following month.
No satisfaction guarantee, but they will replace any bottles you receive that are corked/damaged at no additional charge. They will refund you for any returned unopened bottles unless they are unable to restock the wine back into inventory for any reason. You can cancel your membership at any time without incurring cancellation fees.
No satisfaction guarantee, but they will replace any bottles you receive that are corked/damaged at no additional charge. They will refund you for any returned unopened bottles unless they are unable to restock the wine back into inventory for any reason. You can cancel your membership at any time without incurring cancellation fees.

ProductReportCard Editors' In-Depth Review


Pros And Cons

Pros

  • Affordable membership that provides great introduction to wine
  • Wide variety of international and domestic wines
  • Featured on Good Morning America and Oprah
  • Can easily reorder favorite wines on their website at a discount (average is about 20% off and you'll receive free shipping if you order 6+ bottles)

Cons

  • Cannot ship to AK, HI, MA, ME, NH, TX, UT
  • Selection criteria for wine isn't clear on website and can't view more than three newsletters on the website
  • Add $4 fee to ship to a residence

Key Features

Products
Members will sample a wide range of red and white varietals from wineries in the US and around the world.
Membership Options
There are no sign-up fees, no monthly dues and no minimum membership requirements. You have a choice of receiving two different bottles of red or a bottle or red and a bottle of white. Other membership details to consider:
  • If you pre-pay for a 12-month subscription, customer service told me you will receive a $25 discount (not listed on the website as far as I could tell).
Recently Featured
It appears only the last three newsletters are featured on the website. Wines featured in August 2012 included:
  • 2011 Sangiovese Rubicone IGT from Il Sogno in Italy
  • 2011 Vin de France Rouge from La Petite France in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in France
  • 2009 Estate Sauvignon Blanc from Doña Paula from the Mendoza region in Argentina, which was one of only 18 wines (out of 700) to win a trophy at the Argentina Wine Awards.
Newsletter
In each shipment, Cellars will include their monthly newsletter, Cellar Notes. In addition to the winery's history and tasting notes on the wines, Cellar Notes will also provide information on the wine's region and club specials.
Extras
None
Gift Information
Cellars Wine Club offers free e-cards and free printable gift cards to quickly and easily notify gift recipients. (If you aren't sure what that person might like, you can also purchase a gift certificate for them.)
Shipping Schedule
You can choose to receive shipments every month, every other month or every quarter. Shipments are typically sent out on the 20th of the month, but if you place an order after the 20th, you can still receive your wine right away if you want. If possible, you should ship to a business because Cellar's charges an extra $4 to ship to a residence.
Satisfaction Guarantee
If you want to cancel your membership, you must do so by the 7th of the month otherwise it will not take effect until the following month.

Reputation

If you are new to learning about wine, Cellars' Premium Wine Club is a great way to sample a wide variety of wines from around the world without breaking the bank. What I like about this club is that you really get to experience different varietals that you probably wouldn't feel comfortable picking out by yourself in the store like a Tempranillo or a Torrontes. You can feel confident that all of the wines you receive as a member will be great-tasting wines at exceptional values. Cellars also keeps track of the varietals/regions they send each month, so you won't get any repeats from month to month and will always have exciting new wines to try.

I was disappointed that there wasn't a little more clarity on the website around Cellars' selection process, so I called customer service to ask them about it. Essentially, this is a smaller company that has two in-house wine aficionados who test wine that they've received from distributors or from distressed wineries looking to move inventory. Of the group, they'll identify the highest quality wines at the best value for their members. The wines you will receive are described as "varietal-correct", meaning that they aren't very complex and are best for dinner at home or a casual party. Not that it would make or break anyone's decision to be a member of this club, but I did ask Cellars' customer service about some online reviews calling them a "green" company. They do recycle bottles/packaging and send shipments in recycled packaging, but that is the extent of their green activities.

If you can have bottles delivered to a place of business, Cellars' Premium Wine Club is really one of the best deals on a wine club for the wine novice. It will expose you to a number of wines and allow you to identify which varietals/regions you really like and would want to explore further.


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