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11 best wine clubs for discovering new vinos and becoming an expert

Letterbox vinos, generous discounts and more delivered straight to your door? Sign us up...

Aidy Smith
Wednesday 21 February 2024 13:26 GMT
Each wine club was assessed on the quality of the vinos it offers as well as value for money
Each wine club was assessed on the quality of the vinos it offers as well as value for money (iStock/The Independent)

A wine club is probably the best place to start as you begin to dip your toe into the world of vino. While supermarkets are a great place for convenience, they end up being pretty limited in terms of choice.

Wine clubs, on the other hand, offer a magnitude of options across every continent, wine style and grape variety you could wish for. They also allow you to broaden your horizons by suggesting wines you wouldn’t typically gravitate towards, allowing you to find new favourites along the way.

Joining a club of like-minded members and trying new wines from across the globe that have been curated by experts can be as fantastic as it sounds, but picking the right membership for you can also be daunting. After all, there are so many promising you the world, where do you even start?

These clubs vary more than you might think, so, we’ve compiled a list of the best, with each one offering something slightly different. Whether you’re a complete beginner, wine connoisseur or somewhere in between, one of these subscriptions should stand out as the one for you.

Exciting wines delivered to your door, expert advice, and delicious discounts, what more could you want?

How we tested the best wine clubs

A selection of the best wine clubs that we sampled
A selection of the best wine clubs that we sampled (Aidy Smith)

Each wine club was assessed on the quality of the wines it offers, value for money, and how it supports the wider world in the process. We also looked at things such as personalisation, customer service, speed of delivery, breadth of subscription offerings and, of course, the selection of wines.

Wines from each club shipment were tasted at their appropriate temperature, while we explored the other elements in the box and any additional online classes and interactive information portals and tasting sessions. Keep reading for the wine clubs we think you should subscribe to.

The best wine clubs for 2024 are:

Wanderlust Wine

  • Best: Wine club overall
  • Membership options : Silver (£48 for 4 bottles), gold (£116 for 8 bottles), platinum (£200 for 10 bottles)
  • Frequency: Once every two months
  • Why we love it
    • Great way to discover lesser-known wines
    • Options for different price points
    • Supports smaller producers

Wanderlust Wine focuses on sustainable and small producers, meaning you get to experience vinos that aren’t available on the mass market. As its name suggests, the company makes it easy for you to explore a multitude of regions and wine styles from all corners of the globe.

What stood out to us in particular is the vast collection of wines that feel similar in style to the grape varieties we always go for, but enable you to venture a little more into the unknown. Many of the wineries have their own unique stories, so you can come armed with dinner table talk, too.

Whether it’s the four wines included in the silver subscription (£48) or the 10 in the platinum (£200), every case comes with brochures about what you’re drinking, free tickets to tastings, and fantastic discounts. They also have a great customer service team, too.

Wines come directly from independent producers, cutting out the middleman and therefore extra costs for you. Wanderlust’s dedication to sourcing smaller producers means wineries that are often overlooked are given the support they deserve – a huge plus. Ultimately, It’s easy to join, easy to leave and, most importantly, the wine is easy to drink.

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Perfect Cellar Tastingbox subscription

  • Best: Wine club for premium wines
  • Membership options: Tastingbox subscription (£20 or £33.33 ), classic membership (free), cellar master (£7.99 per month), the perfect collector club (minimum spend £5,000 a year)
  • Frequency: Monthly or every three or six months
  • Why we love it
    • Fits in your letterbox, making shipment super convenient
    • Phenomenal wine choices

When it comes to sipping from a steady flow of exceptional wines (90+ points, industry-acclaimed and stocked in Michelin-starred restaurants), Perfect Cellar doesn’t disappoint. A master sommelier sniffs out the highest quality bottles and even provides a “sommelier in your pocket” tool.

Members get 15 per cent off the entire collection and a virtual cellar, but cellar masters get 20 per cent off, free delivery on orders above £49, exclusive access to rare wines and more.

For those who want to dip their toe into exploration by the glass instead of the bottle, Perfect Cellar also has a tastingbox subscription. Choose from three or six glasses of epic wines delivered through your letterbox every one, three or six months. If you want to join an ecosystem of luxury wines and personal service, look no further.

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Virgin Wine discovery club

  • Best: Value wine club
  • Membership options: £65.88 (currently on offer)
  • Frequency: Quarterly
  • Why we love it
    • Fantastic offers for people starting their wine journey
    • Huge selection of award-winning wines
    • Can swap out wines you’re not too keen on
    • You can get your money back if you didn’t enjoy the wine

Virgin has plenty of drinks retailer awards to its name and, with more than 1.2 million discovery club cases shipped, you’re in safe hands. Twelve bottles will be delivered to you every three months, and you’ll receive a preview of what’s set to be included, so you can swap out any you don’t want – a neat feature. If you decide to receive the suggested wines but don’t like them upon tasting, you can get your money back.

The sheer scale and availability of bottles mean you get to try so many new wines. Also, despite the massive brand name, the company works closely with well-reviewed independent winemakers, too – so, you get the best of both worlds.

With fantastic sign-up offers, this is usually where people start their journey, and it is well worth exploring if you’re about to host a big gathering, as you can save some pennies on your first case and enjoy some fantastic wines.

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Good Wine Good People

  • Best: Personalised wine club
  • Membership options: Weekend warriors, pleasure town, serious sh*t (from £57 per month)
  • Frequency: 3-6 bottles once every month, 2 months or quarterly
  • Why we love it
    • Personalised service
    • Range of price points

Launched in 2020 by wine and cheese expert Dan Belmont, Good Wine Good People is fantastic for a personalised wine subscription. The company aims to learn about your tastes and desires (when it comes to wine, at least) and, as you give more feedback and information, the brand continues to refine and tailor the selection of bottles sent to you.

Drawing from its top-notch range of 500 wines from more than 20 countries, the company puts serious work into finding bottles you’ll love. Where other clubs can fall short with a “one fits all” solution, here, you can choose your wines based on price point (£20, £30 or £50). It’s all about discovering who you are as a wine drinker, and the story of the producers selected, then bringing the two together in beautiful harmony – pure wine poetry.

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  • Best: For award-winning English wines
  • Membership options: Explore (£45 per month) and collectors (£66.66 per month)
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • Why we love it
    • Supports our local wine industry

Gusbourne offers two memberships, with the most popular explore membership costing £540 for the year, and the collectors £800. With English wine enjoying a meteoric rise, it’s surprising that Gusbourne is one of the only producers offering a membership programme so drinkers can get the most out of this flourishing space.

All the wines use fruit from the Gusbourne vineyards in Appledore, Kent and West Sussex, and you’ll receive a bottle, delivered straight to your door, every month. But there’s a lot more – complimentary wine tasting vouchers, preferential pricing, expert advice, and a customer service concierge.

Tasting is believing, so, see for yourself just how far English wine has come, with the best still and sparkling wines selected for you to try every month from arguably one of the best wineries in the country.

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  • Best: Wine club for choice
  • Membership options: Discovery (£99), tour (£149), grand tour (£199)
  • Frequency: Quarterly
  • Why we love it
    • Something for every occasion and price point
    • Really well thought out guide/magazine comes with each shipment

Unlike most wine clubs, Majestic has a high street presence and, as one of the biggest wine retailers in the country, it’s no surprise it comes with such a fabulous choice. Masters of wine sweat over the themed wines delivered to you four times throughout the year. An in-depth guide will accompany your 12 exclusive bottles, and, if you want to buy more, you’ll enjoy generous discounts. The themes take you on diverse terroir tours, while the value and quality of the wine are reliably fantastic.

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  • Best: Wine club for English fizz
  • Membership options: £580 per year (£48.33 per month equivalent)
  • Frequency: Annual, biannual
  • Why we love it
    • Fabulous sparkling wines from England
    • Free elegant wine glasses with your first shipment
  • Take note
    • This is club contains only sparkling wines

Ridgeview members receive two mixed cases of six bottles in May and November, a guided tour of the picturesque winery at the foot of the South Downs, a tutored tasting for two and a cracking 20 per cent off all Ridgeview wines year-round.

It’s a one-stop shop for getting involved in the blossoming world of English wine, and with Ridgeview being the UK’s first B Corp accredited estate, you’re in the right place. With ambitious carbon neutral aims, big expansion and investment plans and monumental yields, now might just be the best time to sail the crisp seas of English sparkling wine. Ridgeview will even throw in two free sparkling wine glasses when you sign up.

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The Little Fine Wine Company

  • Best: Wine club for small bottles
  • Membership options: Fine wine, classic mix, classic red, classic white (from £66.95) and champagne (£49.95)
  • Frequency: Monthly (skippable)
  • Why we love it
    • Perfect for those who want quality over quantity
    • Really well-chosen premium wines
    • Easy to skip or postpone
  • Take note
    • Don’t expect standard size 700ml bottles, these are 350ml half bottles

The quality and simplicity of The Little Fine Wine Company’s membership is hugely appealing. Each month, a region or theme is picked, and four suitable fine wine half bottles are painstakingly selected. Delivered to your door, they are accompanied by engaging tasting notes alongside an industry-leading online tasting, should you wish to delve deeper.

Don’t feel like exploring north-eastern Italian wine? You can skip months. The same offering exists for more bottles, and there’s a champagne and sparkling gift subscription that makes a thoughtful present.

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The Wine Society

  • Best: Wine club for experience
  • Membership options: Wine rack essentials, lighter wines, discovery, worldwide wonders and French classics (from £95 to £169)
  • Frequency: Bimonthly
  • Why we love it
    • One of the oldest wine retailers in the UK
    • A huge selection of different subscriptions to enjoy

Aptly named, this is the world’s oldest not-for-profit wine retailer. Alongside being a retailer from which you can purchase a vast assortment of wines, The Wine Society also offers a range of subscription plans, so you can really nail down what you want.

All the hassle is taken out of exploring delicious new wines, and it goes without saying The Wine Society has the knowledge and experience to deliver, whether it’s regions you’ve never tried before or traditional French gems.

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  • Best: Wine club for discounts
  • Membership options: One-time club card (£6.99), annual club card (£69.99)
  • Frequency: N/A
  • Why we love it
    • Availability on many wines that are sold out at other retailers
    • Fantastic discounts
  • Take note
    • This is a club that focuses on premium and higher-end wines, so your starting point per bottle is around £27

Grapey is a little different because it offers a club card rather than a traditional subscription. A one-time club card can be used for up to five bottles per order, whereas the annual club card is completely unlimited. Essentially, you need it to buy wine from Grapey – so what is the appeal of being part of the club? Well, the company works directly with winemakers, skipping the importers and retailers that usually add costs to every stage of the buy chain. This means premium and luxury wines with eyebrow-raising savings. It’s a model that gives regular drinkers access to fine wines from some of the most renowned wineries, and anything that democratises wine is good, in our book. It’s perfect for those who are keen to explore certain wine regions and wine styles while making a tidy saving in the process.

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  • Best: Wine club for exploring smaller wineries
  • Membership options: Three bottles (£55), six bottles ( £110), 12 bottles (£220)
  • Frequency: Monthly or bimonthly
  • Why we love it
    • Supports smaller family-run wineries
    • Contains food pairing suggestions

Plonk is a wine club importing directly, meaning it has access to interesting bottles you often won’t find at merchants or retailers. The focus is on small-batch independent producers and customisation, with no two boxes the same.

If you love French wine, Plonk might be for you, because this is their specialism – curating a great selection of first releases, new vintages, back vintages, and limited allocation wines from family-run producers. All the work has been done for you, you’ve just got to open up the box, sit back, relax, and enjoy. Oh, and the company also makes very admirable efforts with carbon emission deliveries, which is always appreciated.

Read the full Plonk review now

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The verdict: Wine clubs

There’s an increasing amount of competition in this space, as those who drink wine want to broaden their horizons. Innovations from the Little Fine Wine Company and Perfect Cellar enable us to look beyond the conventional case subscriptions, while the likes of Virgin Wines, Majestic and The Wine Society offer access to a huge number of wines from across the globe.

When making a decision, personalisation and access to wines from smaller producers were important factors, something to which Good Wine Good People, Plonk and Grapey paid particular attention. It was also refreshing to see local wineries such as Gusbourne and Ridgeview throwing their hat into the ring while showcasing the best of what the United Kingdom has to offer.

Ultimately, it was Wanderlust Wine that came out on top, with its sheer breadth of styles from across the globe, pursuit of supporting lesser-known wineries and stellar customer service. Their wine clubs help people venture off the beaten path and discover grape varieties they never knew existed.

Wine clubs featured are chosen on merit by our writers but The Independent works with Perfect Cellar to offer readers wine choices and will earn commission if readers choose to buy their wines via a link from this article.

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