Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Do you recommend any wine clubs? Are they good holiday gifts for wine lovers?
—Kathy, Akron, Ohio
Wine clubs used to seem like places where excess wines were dumped. But we’ve noticed that a new breed of wine clubs has cropped up over the past few years, with new strategies including curating small-production wines, and some have algorithms that help customize recommendations.
If you're shopping around for a club, think about who the wines are for. Are they new to wine, and could use some help discovering new tastes and styles? Do they know what they like and need a wine club that will cater to their taste?
I also like to bring up individual winery wine clubs in these discussions. Most domestic wineries have wine clubs, where regular shipments are mailed out to their members, and sometimes these memberships include other perks, like opportunities to purchase library wines, discounts on purchases, special bottlings, and live or virtual events to attend. For anyone who has some favorite wineries, that might also be a thoughtful gift.