Wednesday, February 24, 2010

SmartMoney Magazine Interview - Wine Clubs

On Monday, I received an e-mail from a journalist at SmartMoney Magazine, who is currently working on a piece for their magazine about wine clubs. I talked to the reporter, Jami, and he asked me a number of questions asking about my experiences with wine clubs, and I gave him my honest opinion. Sure, there are many wine clubs out there, and I don’t have a problem with wine clubs. But that doesn’t mean that I would join them. We do however have several friends who belong to wine clubs, and so long as you enjoy their shipments, that is all that matters. Currently, we only belong to one wine club, Tobin James. Tobin James makes fun, fruit forward wines, ranging from sauvignon blanc and chardonnay, to cabernet sauvignon, syrah, cabernet franc, petite sirah, Lagrein, Malbec, tempranillo, and course their famous zinfandel’s. They also make some tasty dessert wines, which is what originally turned us on to Tobin James. They ship twice a year, in the spring and fall, and each shipment contains 8 bottles, usually consisting of one white wine, 6 red wines, and one dessert wine. For $155 shipped, this is a great deal, and to re-order this exact same order, usually costs a bit above $300. They also give you a fun gift of something with their logo on it, and the last gift from the fall shipment was a blanket. So back to the story, per Jami, this story should go to print in either the June or July issue of SmartMoney, and I am expecting a follow up phone call or e-mail from him in the future. He didn’t really ask me too many probing questions, however, I gave him my honest opinion, and shared the fact that we only belong to the one wine club. As for as I am concerned, and from what I have seen, wine clubs from stores can be very boring. Wine clubs from wineries however are a different story. For you non-wine geeks out there, don’t confuse a mailing list with a wine club! Mailing lists from wineries offer their customers allocations to purchase particular wines, where wine clubs charge you a fee and send you the wines that they feel like sending you. There is a big difference! I’ve seen wine clubs charging anywhere from $40 a month for 2 bottles, to well over $200 a month for a few bottles. I don’t like the simple fact that you have no control over what wines you are receiving. This however could be a lot of fun, and there is nothing better than receiving a box of wine in the mail. I on the other hand, would rather walk into one of my local stores, first to give them the business, and second to have some control over what wines I am getting. At least this way, I am not getting sent wines that they possibly couldn’t sell, but also note that this is not always the case with wine clubs. There are some good wine clubs out there, but I just find they are not for me. So in short, check back to see how this story develops, and I hope to have some more information soon. We’ve been getting some good press from the blog, and hopefully 2010 will bring some other exciting opportunities! Stay tuned, and as always, cheers! -F. Scott

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