Written by: Tim Edison

Updated on: April 13, 2022

California Wine Club Review Subscription

California Wine Club Review

This wine club review will help you decide whether the California Wine Club is right for you. The California Wine Club has been around for more than twenty years and provides members with offerings from California's small, boutique vineyards.  There is an option that sends international wines but we recommend sticking with California wines since that is the speciality.  

The club has five different options, and the four that send wines from California work as follows: the club selects one vineyard and a red and white wine they believe highlights the best of the vineyard and winemaker.  The selectors for the California go to the locations to truly get to know the winemakers, see the process, and develop relationships guaranteeing that wines sent out are known deeply by the club and not simply whatever they're given to ship.

This is a great choice for those who love California wines and want to get to know small, family-owned and -operated vineyards.  It is also a great club for those in and close to California, or who visit regularly, as the club comes with several perks designed for in-person visits.

California Wine Club Video Review

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How Many?

How Often?

How Much?

​Premier Series

SIgnature Series

International Series

Aged Cabernet Series​

Pacific Northwest Series​

2 (one red, one white)

2 (one red, one white)

3 (red, white, or split)

4 (red, white, or split)

2 (one red, one white)

2 (one red, one white)

​2 (one red, one white)

Monthly, every other month, or quarterly

Monthly, every other month, or quarterly

Monthly, every other month, or quarterly

​Monthy, every other month, or quarterly

​Monthly, every other month, or quarterly

$39.95 + shipping*

​$134 + shipping

$71 + shipping

​$219 + shipping

​$77 + shipping

About California Wine Club

California Wine Club has been bringing wine by mail for 25 years and is a small, family-owned business that doesn't outsource any of its work.  From packing the boxes to answering the phones - every employee is invested in the company.  In addition to being small, they appreciate other small businessed and support boutique vineyards, developing relationships with them.  Each month, members receive a red and white wine from the small vineyard of the month - only after the club founders and selection members have visited, learned, explored, and tasted.

There isn't a taste test or samples to drink and rate for this club - just pick the level and you'll start receiving wines.  If you pick the Signature Series you'll also decide whether you want two, three, or four bottles each month.

This club is an excellent education in wines from California but there is an option to learn more about the Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington) or the world.

Every shipment arrives with a folder containing spec sheets for the bottles in that month's box as well as Uncorked!, the club's newsletter.  Get updates about what's going on in the club and in depth information on the vineyard, climate, winemaker, and more.

What Does Membership Get Me?

  • Membership in a small, family-owned club that is local to most of the vineyards from which they send wines.
  • Uncorked!, the monthly newsletter of the club that gives in depth information on the featured vineyard and winemaker.
  • The Signature Series, which provides 2-4 bottles rather than just two.

Take Note: Be sure to check how much your shipping will cost!

Show Me The Money!

California Wine Club has a range of prices and even with shipping, the club has fair prices per bottle.  The Aged Cabernet Series is the most expensive with bottles costing over $100 but others are between $23-40/bottle.  While the prices are reasonable, there are some questionable practices when it comes to pricing and fees.  First, there is an option you must UNCLICK in order to not receive random extra shipments.  These come when the club has them, not on any sort of schedule, and are an extra cost to the member but there is no way to know when they are coming - you simply get charged an extra time.  We prefer to add bottles to a shipment or order directly rather than get dinged for extras we didn't know were coming.  Also, shipping varies based on where you live so be sure to calculate that out before committing.

The club offers $1 shipping for 6-12 bottle reorders, which is a great price but not applied to regular club shipments since they come in no more than four bottles per box.

Read The Fine Print:  In celebration of their 25th anniversary, California Wine Club is offering $1 shipping on all orders!

Detailed Review of California Wine Club

Club W


Price

Quality

Support

Educational Value

We liked

  • The Choices
  • Freight Forwarding
  • The Perks (if you're local or in the area regularly)
  • Lower prices for ordering more wine

We didn't like

  • The sneaky extra shipments.
  • Shipping is high.
  • Unclear website.
  • Difficult to get answers.

Summary:  California Wine Club is fairly middle of the road when it comes to all of the clubs out there.  While it does have great options, there are some negatives to the club that make others a far better options, especially when it comes to the price and how realistic it is people will be able to use the perks.  

Things We Like

A Reasonable Amount of Choice - It's nice to have a little choice but not an overwhelming amount.  Most of the club options within the California wine club send a box of 2 wines, one red and one white, from the vineyard of the month.  The Signature Series, however, offers 2-4 bottles.  It's a manageable amount of choice.  

 Freight Forwarding - Because this club using a freight company they can deliver to all 50 states - yes, even Hawaii and Alaska!

 The Perks - VIP tastings and tours of partner vineyards, those are just some of the perks offered to members of the California Wine Club.  These are a fantastic addition to $1 shipping fees on reorders, right?  But if you're not local or find yourself in California wine country often, it's a pointless perk.  And it's probably paid for by members - who'd rather see a break in shipping, we imagine.

 Discounts on Signature Series - Selecting three or four bottles per shipment versus the standard two bottles, brings down the price per bottle, which is always nice.

Things We Don't Like

Super Secret Shipments - We're not a fan of the extra shipments California Wine Club tries to include.  An unknown charge for an extra box at random times, with no control over rejecting them ahead of time?  No, thanks.  An easy fix would be for the club to notify members with an email or text saying, "We've got a great extra box this month - want it?" and then members can respond with a YES or a NO to authorize the charge and the wine.  We don't even have to be told what's IN the shipment - just that it's available and then we can decide if the timing is right.

High Shipping Costs - While we understand that working with boutique providers raises the price per bottle and that working with a freight company means everyone can enjoy the selections from California Wine Club, there are other clubs with better inserts, better options, and free or low shipping.  Without comparing club to club, we'll just mention that there is a club that ships 3 bottles per month will high quality, meaningful collateral (e.g. recipes, tasting notes, alternative pairings including desserts and cheese for each wine) that only charges $6 shipping ($2/bottle) vs. the $13.00 we're paying for California Wine Club's two bottles ($6.50/bottle).

What's Half of 3? - The California Wine Club website states that members can select the makeup of their boxes when getting the Signature Series with the three or four bottle option.  They define the choices as red, white or half and half.  How exactly, does that work with a three bottle delivery?  We're nitpicking but it's an oversight that should have been caught.

Lack of Communication - The California Wine Club website is small and family-owned - and we love that.  Unfortunately, that means it can be really hard to get in touch with them.  They don't respond to emails or even tweets regularly and it can be tough to get them on the phone, especially with the time difference.  That said, we haven't had complaints so it's not a huge deal.  It was tough in the beginning to get return contact.  Call to cancel and they'll call your right back - so that's a strategy.

The Verdict

There are many good reasons to go with California Wine Club.  It is so much fun to get wine from a small, unheard of vineyard and to get two bottles from the same vineyard.  The spec sheets contain information that helps deepen understanding of the wines and know what to expect and the newsletter gives more in depth information.  Sometimes they include a wine sleeve for keeping wine cool and safe in transit and when you join they give you a certificate.  It's definitely not our favorite club but if you live in an area where it is difficult to get a wine club delivered, it could be the perfect match!

About the Author Tim Edison

Although not having any formal training in wine, Tim has developed an irrefutable love of wine and interest in anything related to it ever since his late teens.

Coming from a family of wine lovers, it was from a young age that he got exposed to wine and the culture that goes with it.

Tim has travelled to dozens of wine regions across the world including those in France, Italy, California, Australia, and South Africa.

It is with great joy that he hopes to share those experiences here on wineturtle.com and take you along on the journey for a second time!

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