Enjoy wine, but never sure which bottles to buy? Want to discover more new bottles? Wine clubs are a hassle-free way to get decent and often interesting wines at discounted prices, delivered to your door at regular (or irregular) intervals.
Factors to consider are whether the cases and wines fit with your budget, as well as whether the club offers a money-back guarantee if you’re not happy with any of the wines. Also check whether the club charges for delivery, which can cost more than a bottle of wine itself.
Try to find a club with flexibility in terms of how often you have your wine delivered, and you may also want to opt for a club that allows you to change individual wines within cases.
Ideally, the wine club will have a good range, ideally hand-picked by a renowned wine expert.
Finally, remember that a case of 12 bottles doesn’t always include 12 different wines – we found one company that offered just three different wines in their cases of 12.
1. The Wine Society: Wines from £5.25; cases from £65, The Wine Society
For £40, you get a lifetime share in Britain’s oldest wine club, and £20 of that is credited back to you on your first order. After that, you can buy as little or as much as you want of the 1,500 wines . All its wines are good value and service is outstanding. Delivery is free for a case of 12 bottles or order of £75 or over, otherwise there’s a £5 delivery charge. For new members, the minimum quantity is six bottles for the first six months.
2. Tanners: Cases from £90, Tanners
The Wine in Time club has no registration fee, tie in or delivery charges and the award-winning cases include old and new world styles and wines which reflect the changing seasons – such as the Tanners Claret and a Chianti DOCG from Duca di Sasseta, great for colder, dark nights. There’s a choice of six different cases each month on either the silver or gold level, although you can just opt for bimonthly or quarterly cases.
3. Berry, Bros & Rudd: From £60 a month, Berry, Bros & Rudd
These wines, all selected by the company’s eight Masters of Wine, are top drawer. Members receive a case of 12 bottles every other month . You get tasting notes and food pairings, as well as access to exclusive tastings and dinners. There’s a 10 per cent discount on anything you buy online and the welcome pack is a wine-bible in itself.
4. Naked Wines: Six-bottle cases from £35.94, Naked Wines
Monthly £20 payments, which are put towards your wine orders, help fund independent winemakers. Meanwhile, Naked takes over the selling aspect for these wineries, offering members 25 to 50 per cent off retail prices. You get a free bottle every month when you order a case of 12 wines, along with invitations to tastings to meet the winemakers.
5. Taste4: £20 for first four wines, then £35 per month, Taste4
New comer Taste4 aims to encourage wine novices to be more adventurous with bottles. They send four every four weeks, with free delivery. The wines we tried were first-rate, while the descriptions were accessible and we liked the history and pairing tips you got with each bottle. It feels more like you’re getting good recommendations from friends.
6. WineTrust: From £96 per case, WineTrust
WineTrust’s founder John Valentine works with Masters of Wine to ensure members get quality bottles, including a good mixture of consumers’ favourites, as well as new and often unusual areas and grape varieties, all at a fair price. All members get a mixed case of wine every month, two months or quarterly. Whether for everyday drinking or special occasions, we found the wines to be excellent.
7. Averys: Cases from £99.99, Averys
Averys has two wine plans. The Signature Collection is like other wine clubs, in that you get a case of 12 wines (plus one free), mainly including new wines or customer favourites, for £99.99. The other is Claret Club, in which cases cost from £105 and include 12 bottles of some of the tastiest clarets around . With both deals, you get wines before the rest of Avery’s customers do, and you also 10 per cent off future orders. There’s good flexibility, but a £7.99 delivery charge (or unlimited delivery service for £24 a year).
8. The Wine Company: Cases from £99, The Wine Company
Club manager Robin James is almost always on hand during office hours to provide advice on the wine, including food matches, and his knowledge alone makes membership of this club tempting. The wine itself high quality, seasonal, and you get helpful tasting notes. Delivery is quarterly and you get discounts on in-store wines, as well as tastings and dinners. You can skip, delay or cancel anytime.
9. Marks & Spencer Wine Club: Club Classic £75 per case; Club Reserva £99 per case, Marks & Spencer
Sign up to either Club Classic (everyday wines) or the more extravagant Club Reserva, and you get a 12-bottle case delivered every three months, saving 25 per cent on usual prices. Plans are flexible – you can swap or skip a case - and wines are varied, the tasting notes are comprehensive and you get discounts, including for wine in store.
10. Rude Wines: From £99.99 per quarter, Rude Wines
This club provides a mix of wines from independent producers around the globe. There’s a good mix of the classics and lesser-known, like Peruvian bottles. Customer service staff are trained experts and the wines are endorsed by leading industry personalities. Membership gets you a preselected case of 12 bottles.
11. Laithwaites: Cases from £52.68, Laithwaites
This is the biggest home-delivery wine merchant in the UK, yet it remains family-owned and many of the wines — 1,500 of them from 22 different countries — come courtesy of smaller producers. You can pay anywhere between £52.68 and £242 (depending on your wine plan) for an introductory case, with which you get two crystal glasses. From then, it's 12 cases delivered at intervals of your choice, all the way from biannually to monthly. There's flexibility to change, pause or stop at anytime. Delivery is £7.99 for each case.
12. Virgin Wines: £95.88 per case, Virgin Wines
Membership for the Discovery Wine Club is £59.88, which includes a case of 12 wines, either mixed, red or white. Then, every three months (and again at Christmas), you get a new case for £95.88, which gives customers a discount of at least 20 per cent. The wines are varied and you can fine-tune your case, or skip them and get your money back if you don’t like the wine.
13. Monopole: From £15 a bottle, Monople
Membership here is not about entry level wines. Instead, Monopole deals with special wines, mainly Old World, with the exception of South Africa, with a price range of around £15-£40 per bottle and a fine wine range above that. There are some serious names behind this set-up, including Thierry Tomasin (of Angelus restaurant and then Le Gavroche), which helps explain how it manages to find such great European producers – and although annual membership is costly at £500 (less if you introduce other members), this is redeemable if you spend over a certain amount. It organises wine tastings, and you get discounts at certain wine venues. Great for serious wine connoisseurs with deep pockets.
The Wine Society’s membership fee can be off-putting – and it doesn’t have quite as much flexibility of as other clubs – but it is by far the best wine club in terms of range, quality of wine, value for money and customer service. We were also impressed with Naked Wines’ offering, but do remember that if you don’t buy wine one month, you’ll still be paying into your Naked Wines account.
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