Cost per delivery: $189
Average bottle value: $32
Why it’s great: Singh is also a fan of the Crunchy Red Fruit wine club, which is another that’s led by a singular sommelier. This time, that’s Jackson Rohrbaugh, who has been a master sommelier since 2017 and was a bartender at renowned Seattle restaurant Canlis for 10 years. The club’s shipments aren’t limited to red wine, but it generally focuses on wines from small-batch producers. Besides bottles, each shipment includes detailed info cards, suggested food pairings, and sometimes a little extra treat (like a coaster).
The Best Cheap Wine Subscription: Ferry Plaza “All Four” Wine Club
Ferry Plaza “All Four” Level
Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant
Cost per delivery: $68
Average bottle value: $17
Why it’s great: San Francisco-based Ferry Plaza, a giant shop in the Embarcadero also offers a bunch of wine subscriptions respected by Singh. Managed by master sommelier Peter Granoff and wine competition judge Debbie Zachareas, the subscriptions come in five different “levels”—one focused only on Cabernets, one focused on the Pacific Northwest, another for collectors—but the “All Four” level gets you the best value. Each shipment comes with information on the wines and cheese pairing suggestions. Hopefully your local cheesemonger is still up and running.
The Best Big-Money Wine Subscription: Raj Parr Wine Club
Raj Parr Wine Club
Cost per delivery: $500
Average bottle value: $83
Why it’s great: If you don’t have a master sommelier best friend, getting into Rajat Parr’s club is the next best thing. Parr is one of the most celebrated sommelier’s in the world, who literally the book on wine. It’s called Secrets of the Sommeliers and it won a James Beard award in 2011. The wine club is very expensive, but the wine is, obviously, both astoundingly good and the opposite of basic. “He’s curating some really interesting wines,” says Wines. “Both super traditional and really cutting edge from around the world.” And then there’s the big perk: members get Parr’s personal cell phone number to ask questions about new and vintage wines and get restaurant recommendations. This might explain why the club has a waiting list for membership.
The Best Wine Club for People Who Want the Super Juicy Stuff: Day Wines
Day Wines wine club
Cadence: Three times a year (winter, spring, and fall)
Cost per delivery: $175
Average bottle value: $35
Why it’s great: Some people want to drink currant-heavy, tannin-rich reds and watch the world burn. But what if you want something juicier? A subscription to Day Wines will get you all the biodynamic, fruit-forward wines you can guzzle on your patio. Like Forlorn Hope, this Dundee, Oregon winery, run by Brianne Day, breaks the mold for the region . “I think the average person, who doesn’t really know a ton about wine, just relates Oregon to pinot noir, so it’s nice to venture out of that lane and experience something that is more unique in nature,” says Fortier. Expect sparkling pet-nats and flavorful, funky orange wines in either of the winery’s six- or 12-bottle subscriptions.
Five Other Wine Subscriptions You Could Consider
We spoke to Greg Parcelle in 2020 just before he launched Parcelle Wine Drop, a New York City-based service that gets you three bottles of seasonally-appropriate wine for $95 a month. The selections aren’t limited to a specific region or style, but that’s the point—you can think of each shipment as a crash course in the ever-expanding world of natural wines, each shipment. (Special shoutout to the company’s commitment to cartoons, which make those notes a lot more fun to read.) None of the other wine professionals we spoke with explicitly recommended it, but from our own experience, we think it rules.
Parcelle wine drop
We can’t quite say the same about the below wine subscription services. Not only were none of them explicitly recommended by the experts we spoke to, some were explicitly not recommended. Proceed with caution! But in our testing, all have proven to offer a hard-to-argue-against value—especially their discounted introductory packages. The pitch with these four wine subscriptions is decent (probably not life-changing) wine at a solid price. There’s no shame in the affordable wine game.
Winc Wine Subscription
Firstleaf wine club introduction
Both of these wine subscriptions start off newcomers with a quiz to gauge wine likes and dislikes, and then ship some algorithmically-suitable bottles. The simplicity is nice, but the results can feel random, like a Spotify Discover playlist. Winc and Firstleaf seem best for the not-so-choosy who just want to keep their cabinets stocked.
Wine Insiders Wine Club
Wine Insider’s shipments are as random as those from Winc and Firstleaf, but you get more of the randomness: 15 bottles for just $89. With the math that much in your favor, it’s a guarantee you won’t love every bottle you pull out of the massive box plopped on your doorstep. But you won’t have to worry about running dry—and you might stumble across a real winner.
Astor Wines Wine Club
Astor Wine and Spirits
Astor Wines and Spirits in Manhattan is a long-standing, cavernous ode to drinking. The store’s staff is knowledgable, and the selection well-vetted. The wine club’s a bit clunky though. Monthly shipments are massive, at 12 bottles each, and you need to commit to at least three months at a time. The monthly fee is steep, but the per-bottle price is solid (about $12 each), making Astor’s subscription a smart move if you’re pouring a glass or two every single day (no judgments) or looking to stock a cellar on a budget.