Traditional vs New Age Wine Clubs

I haven’t had a chance to write one in a bit, but I’ve got a couple more in the que….but there is one fundamental difference between traditional vs new age wine clubs. That’s one of the reasons I’m writing a series titled: What kind of wine club are you?

When I’m talking traditional wine clubs, I’m talking about the ones which were around well before I was of legal drinking age. Specifically I’m thinking of California Wine Club and the Original Wine of the Month Club. For new age wine clubs, I’m talking about wine clubs like FirstLeaf and Winc.

So what’s the fundamental difference?

The OG wine clubs generally speaking buy wine from name brand wineries and then ship it to your front door. You can look up the wineries, visit them etc. At least the good wine clubs are shipping from real wineries….more on that when I find someone acting in a way that I don’t appreciate.

The new age wine clubs, are permitted as wineries so they either buy juice and bottle it themselves, or work with winemakers to produce wine. At least that’s the general setup here in America. So with international wines, things are a bit different and more interesting. An important note, this is the setup EVERY wine club is going to be using largely because so many court cases have been decided that you can ship wine directly to consumers as a winery in ways that you can’t as a retailer. It’s, as you might imagine, a hell of a lot more expensive to do it this way and that’s why you’re seeing some venture capital flowing into the industry for the first time. It also adds pressure to add members, which leads to deeper initial discounts, which is AWESOME for consumers willing to shop around.

Ok, so some quick thoughts for a Friday afternoon. I’ll be talking more about the fundamental differences between these two type of wine club setups in future posts.

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