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Club W – Six Months Later

Back in October we posted our review of Club W. But like boyfriends and new jeans, sometimes it’s a good idea to look back after a while and decide how we feel once the novelty has worn off. Today we’ll take you through our experience with the Club, including what we like, what could be better, whether or not we still belong, and all the other details to help you decide whether or not this is the club for you.

 

Club W At A Glance

Club W works with winemakers to provide wines to Club members at a low cost. Members answer a few questions upon signing up to help Club W decide what to send members. Members select, and can change, their basic package. Most people stick with three bottles: two red, one white. When logging onto the site the first three bottles shown are those based on on the members taste preferences. If the member rates wines received these ratings help Club W select more wines the member might like.

Each month the top three wines are shown when logging in which can be added all at once or selected individually. Underneath are other available wines — members are allowed to select from any available wine. That said, wines are small batch so if you know you like one, ordering multiple bottles is a great idea.

Wine is delivered monthly by FedEx and in addition to the wine there are cards that correspond to the bottles in the shipment. Each card introduces the wine and gives helpful information about its body, flavor profile, nose and some pairing suggestions. On the reverse is a featured recipe that is perfectly matched with the wine. The recipes are from great sites and range from apps and snacks to main dishes to desserts.

Revisiting Our Original Stance

In our original review we outlined what we liked and what we thought Club W could do better. How do they measure up now that we’ve been members for so long?

When We Started We Loved…

  • It’s Personal – We were impressed by the promise of personalized wine recommendations but we wondered whether or not it would pay off in the long run. Rating wines has proved the Club W promise: each shipment we have been sent wines that we love. Wines that we haven’t liked have only arrived when we took a risk and, honestly, that’s part of the experience. We’ve learned about pairing, climate, varietal and style and being paired with a few wines we didn’t love has helped us in our shopping and choices at restaurants.
  • Fair Policies – Spoiler alert: We haven’t cancelled and we likely won’t. But we have used the skip a month option. Once because we had way too much wine and another time due to travel and not being able to have someone available to sign for the wine. This is an excellent feature that is easy to access right from the website.
  • Choice, Choice, Choice – Choice is tricky when it comes to wine clubs. Sometimes clubs offer so much choice it’s daunting. Other clubs offer so little choice that you don’t really feel like you have any say in what you receive. Club W offers a perfect amount of choice from number of bottles to makeup of the bottles to selecting your wines the choices are important ones that actually make a difference. The recipes also offer alternative suggestions allowing you to choose to find your own recipe but with a guideline as to what pairs well. We’ve done this with recipes that have things we’re allergic to and have always been pleased.
  • Flat Rate Shipping – It’s still just $6/shipment! Club W has started a deal where if you order your wine in advance (pay for a few months up to a year up front) they pick up the shipping! You can still use the skip a month option even if you prepay.
  • Pricing – We were struck by the price and continue to be happy with it, especially with savings offered to those who choose to pay ahead a few months. We also love that this option is not just something provided to people who are new to the club but to any members. Too often companies lure in new people by offering a signing bonus type deal and forget about the loyalty of ongoing members. Not Club W!
  • Customer Service – Initially we didn’t think Club W was on top of their communication but loved the chat widget. We’re happy to report that we have found that the club is in fact awesome at communicating. They respond to emails, tweets, Instagram and FB tags, send surveys about how club members are feeling and actually read the surveys. Recently after answering a survey they contacted us to thank us for something we included — totally unnecessary. They also have an option where after you work with a customer service rep you can send them a gift card, lunch, or coffee. I sent the woman I chatted with lunch.

Our Complaint At The Beginning

  • The Descriptions – The wine descriptors used didn’t work for us in the beginning. While we liked that they were unpretentious we wanted some things said in ways we understood. As an example, if a Chardonnay is buttery we want to know (since we’re not fans). The descriptors have seen a meld of traditional and nontraditional, also the videos they post for each wine are awesome at going over the flavors and are always spot on.

New Features

Since we joined Club W they have started a new program called “Schedule-A-Somm”. Available to Club W Premier members, you can schedule a monthly 15-minute call with a sommelier who will help you with anything you want — a palate profile, making suggestions, understanding new vs. old or how climate changes the taste of wine. We have had one session with Sang from Club W and at the end had new wines to try — all of which we’ve loved so far.
Club W Premier is offered to members who are active in the club for a few months. Rating wines helps!

 

At The End Of The Day

Club W continues to impress and grow. They are reaching a demographic that wants to understand wine but is also budget conscious, doesn’t like pretension, and has foodie tendencies. By offering quality wine at a great price along with teaching the basics about it and providing recipes each month with Club W is a fun adventure in wine.

Nancy Koziol

Nancy Koziol is a wine writer specializing in wine news, culture, politics, and emerging regions. She has traveled throughout various wine regions and constantly strives to deepen her understanding and appreciation of the holistic experience of wine, from seed to glass. Nancy writes for a variety of wine publications spanning everything from how to make amazing Sangria to understanding the ecological impact of winemaking. She lives in Vermont where she is developing an appreciation for hybrid grapes - something she never thought would happen - and obsessing over orange wines.

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