Hello there! Do you indulge yourself with a little wine clubbing? Does membership have its privileges? Are you thrilled with your shipment or dazzled by your pick-up? These are all thoughts to consider when making the decision about joining a wine club.
I know how fortunate I am to have several fabulous wineries within close proximity to research (Patz & Hall, Gloria Ferrer, Buena Vista, Hamel, Cuvasion, Artessa, Gundlach Bundschu and just in my neighborhood!) and research, and research, and research. And after a little more research, it soon became a reactive, emotional decision. I didn’t dip in my toe – I immediately jumped into the vat! I joined the most fabulous, most expensive, chicest wine club I saw. It was love at first sight. The architecture, the view, the food program. All exceptional. Oh, how good was the wine? Sure, I loved the single vineyard unoaked Chard. The Pinots were “nice”and the sparkling Blanc des Blancs was a delight. The staff was well informed and lovely, the attitude of the members, variable. Sadly, wine clubs tend to magnetize entitled douche bags but if the space is grand enough, you can dodge them or be seated so they do not obstruct your view. I wish they asked your preference of douche bag or non douche bag seating (like smoking, non smoking back in the day) but sadly, don’t join a wine club if you can’t suffer a few douches.(I’m beginning to sound like a staunch proponent for out-moded feminine hygiene) I digress – but this is a serious factor to consider. Other than excellent wine, all around kindness and civility with a healthy dose of frivolity is requisite for this clubber.
So, I fell out of love with my club. It was too far. Too expensive. High douche factor. The beauty and the wine could not hold my interest. I strayed, and I liked it. In fact, I had already joined the other club, I was a wine list adulteress. I needed to end this charade.
My official departure was an ackward long goodbye. My allotment was auto-purchased although I had already informed them I was leaving weeks before. Oopsie. After a few teidious exchanges I was reimbursed. I reassured them I did not want to suspend my membership, I wanted to cancel it. Valerie, the loveliest winery concierge ever, expressed she was sad to see me go, that I was one of her favorite members because I was so nice and “cheerful.” Tears welled up in my eyes as I read her email, how could I leave Valerie to the douchie wine-wolves! (I can’t call them snobs as most snobs I know actually are more disheveled and bookish and put their money in wine and travel not Rolexes and Teslas. Am I being a snob about snobs?) Well, I felt much better about leaving Valerie to fend for herself after seeing my allotment credited on my bill. I’m sure she says that to all her departing guests. Bon chance Valerie.
My parting advice on joining a wine club:
1. Love the wine – really, really, really love it. It’s actually the point of joining a wine club in the first place.
2. Sniff out the douche factor, calibrate your tolerance and if you happen to be a douche, you are probably in the right place unless it’s my wine club.
3. Is the club room accessible, totally fabulous, expanse enough that reservations are easy? Is the space comfortable for members at full capacity? You should never feel like you have been relegated to coach class and stuck in the center seat while tasting your flight.
4. How is the view? The architecture? The hospitality? Are the parties divine? Return to point number one. These alterior “experiences” can be an utter distraction if point number one is not undeniably true.
Many of you may be members of an online wine club and never visit your winery but for a handful of times, if ever. I applaud you for stocking your cellars while saving gas and lessening your carbon footprint. Furthermore, enjoying your wine sans douchebags is the ultimate luxury.