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Gold Medal Wine Club – Full Review

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  • Company: Gold Medal Wine Club
  • Available on:
  • Price Range: $37 – $370

What Are They About?

Gold Medal Wine Club strives to introduce members to the best wines in the world.  Each series focuses on either California or international offerings that have won awards, been top rated or now, with the new Garagiste series, yet to be discovered gems from the world’s independent and artisanal winemakers.  Gold Medal also has a special series that only sends Pinot Noir – which is sure to make the day of many potential customers.

Most series include choices around red, white, mixed, and even how those mixes are composed.  Members can also choose frequency of delivery for some series as well as set the number of shipments to be included in a membership including ongoing, 1-12 months with the 12 month option being provided at a 10% discount.

Membership Overview (6 Plans)

Gold Series

$37 - $70For Every Order
  • Delivery Every Month or Every Other Month
  • 2 or 4 Bottles in Each Delivery
  • 2 Bottles (mixed): $37
    2 Reds: $39
    2 Whites: $37
    4 Bottles (mixed): $67
    4 Reds: $70
    4 Whites: $67
  • Focus: Small California wineries

Platinum Series

$79 - $218For Every Order
  • Delivery Every Month or Every Other Month
  • 2 or 4 Bottles in Each Delivery
  • 2 Bottles (Mostly Red): $79 - $99
    2 Bottles (Reds): $89 - $109
    4 Bottles (Mostly Red): $158 - $198
    4 Bottles (Reds): $178 - $218
  • Focus: 90+ rated, rare, collectable (California)

Pinot Noir Series

$69 - $158For Every Order
  • Delivery Every Month or Every Other Month
  • 2 or 4 Bottles in Each Delivery
  • 2 Bottles: $69-$79
    2 Bottles: $138 - $158
  • Focus: Top rated California Pinot Noir

Diamond Series

$165 - $370For Every Order
  • Delivery Every 3 Months
  • 2 or 4 Bottles in Each Delivery
  • 2 Bottles (Mostly Red): $165 - $195
    2 Reds: $165 - $195
    4 Bottles (Mostly Red): $313 - $370
    4 Reds: $313 - $370
  • Focus: 93+ rated, luxury (California)

International Series

$65 - $95For Every Order
  • Delivery Every 3 Months
  • 3 Bottles in Each Delivery
  • 3 Bottles (2 Reds, 1 White): $65-$85
    3 Reds: $75-$95
  • Focus: High end, hard to find (Global)

Garagiste Club

$65 - $181For Every Order
  • Delivery Every Month or Every Other Month
  • 2 or 4 Bottles in Each Delivery
  • 2 Bottles: (Mostly Red) $65-$85
    2 Bottles: (All Reds) $75-$95
    4 Bottles: (Mostly Red) $122-$162
    4 Bottles: (All Reds) $141-$181
  • Focus: Independent

What You Get

Every shipment includes:

  • The selected number of bottles following the theme of that series.  Wines are selected based on awards and ratings, not individual member taste which means exposure to wines from across the spectrum.
  • Member choice of the makeup of shipments
  • Full color newsletters including tasting notes, information on wineries and wines, and pairing ideas for the included wines..

Members also get:

  • Discounts when purchasing from the site’s online store.
  • Tasting Videos are online and relate to all available wines.  These videos take viewers through the experience of tasting wines from nose to finish.  This is a great way to begin understanding various terms used in the tasting lexicon.
  • Opportunities for cool add ons – add gourmet snacks that pair with your shipment’s wines or additional bottles that complement the shipment.

Why it Works & What Could be Better

Why it Works
  • The Choices – There are so many choices when it comes to The Gold Medal Wine Club that members can essentially build their own personal club.  Series can be mixed and matched, frequency, number of bottles, makeup… the myriad choices provide personalization beyond most clubs.
  • Come and Go – There are no membership fees or cancellation fees.
  • The Garagiste Series – Adding this series or only joining it allow exposure to wines that are under the radar but likely to gain notice.  For the wine lover who wants to be on the cutting age this is an excellent, fun series.
  • Online Chat Option – There is a box in the bottom right of the website that allows you to chat with a real person during business hours in order to get customer service questions answered.

What Could Be Better
  • Mystery Pricing – All levels of all series list a range for prices.  While it’s only a few dollars for some options, the Platinum Series has a $30 swing in price.  Many consumers like to know exactly how much something is going to cost to better help them to budget.  That can be difficult to Gold Medal Wine Club.  There is also no information on shipping.  After making an inquiry I was told that shipping is based on weight and location.
  • The Website – For all of the perks of the club, the website is overwhelming.  There is far too much unnecessary information, things are impossible to find, and information that should be readily available is not.  This includes shipping costs.  Further, nowhere on the site is the current list of states that can receive shipments.  While this does change based on legislation and connections with freight companies, every other wine site I’ve researched contains a list with a note to inquire because the laws change.  Finally, the section describing various wine publications’ ratings is dense.  Most people don’t need this – simply saying, “We only ship bottles of the top two tiers of ratings,” or something similar would be enough.
  • The Promise – While implied, the focus on high-rated, award winning wines and related process might make many people think that this means that will get wines they like.  Wine, like anything else, is subjective.  Some people like plonk.  Some people like some plonk and some 100 point wines.  The push that these are award-winning wines could leave some disappointed.
  • Lack of Clear Focus – While the website name focuses on the perceived quality of the wine, most of the series focus on California wines – it is not immediately clear that there is a strong leaning toward this particular region.

FAQ

faq  Is the Gold Medal Wine Club available in my state?

Most likely Gold Medal wine club is available in your state. According to their marketing department they ship to all 50 states except Utah.

 

faq  When Does My Subscription End?

You can set a time period (number of shipments) or an ongoing subscription and you may cancel at any time.  Members only pay for wine that has been shipped so if you cancel prior to a shipment being processed you will not be charged.

 

faq  How Can I Know Exactly How Much I Will Be Charged?

It does not appear that you can.  If budgeting is an important factor in your decision making I have two recommendations.  First, you could pick a club option within your desired price range without much of a differential and plan on being charged the higher amount or call the club and see if they can provide you with an email record breaking down your anticipated cost per shipment.

All In All

The Gold Medal Wine Club is  a varied, California-focused (for the most part) wine subscription with choices that allow members to build the perfect subscription.  There are ample opportunities to make selections that work on a personal level including frequency, makeup, length of subscription.  Where the club falls short, considerably, is the unclear pricing and the website, which is difficult to navigate and will likely cause most potential members to move on to a more streamlined, clear site, likely run by one of their competitors.  While the wine focuses on high quality wines, the uncertainty around pricing, eligibility, and shipping costs need to be fixed before many will be comfortable taking the plunge.

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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