First, there's an old group of them that largely predate the internet. The Original Wine of the Month Club and California Wine Club fit into that group.
More recently, venture capital has found it's way into the wine space. Winc and Naked Wines fit this profile. There are others of course.
Major media has come into the wine space. After all, they have significant email lists and the need for revenue, so household names like Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and many others now have wine clubs.
Ok, so how do you choose the online wine club that's right for you?
1) If there's one that speaks to you on a deeper level: just do it. Specifically I'm talking about something like the UC Davis Alumni wine club, or NPR or something similar. Sometimes it's the story and where the money is going that matters most.
2) Ask what they shipped last month: You'd be surprised how many of the online guys don't want to tell you. If they don't, can't or won't it's an awfully bad sign.
3) Ask who makes their wine: Another thing no one wants to talk about: to be perfectly permitted, you can't be a retailer or a distributor, you have to be a winery. Many of the online wine clubs in question are having their wine made in bulk and slapping their own labels on it.
4) Ask what you'll learn: Look, the idea of most online wine clubs is that you'll find something interesting and be able to handle buying other wine on your own as a result. How are you going to learn about the wine in your glass by joining this wine club?
5) Last, what extras can I get? One of the great parts about joining the wine club of a local winery is that tastings and other events are often free. For online wine clubs it's harder to provide those types of extras. You should ask what else you can receive and the answer should be something more significant than a discount on wine reorders.
Mark Aselstine is the founder and Proprietor of the Visit our HTML tutorial
Uncorked Ventures Wine Club » which started 7 years ago. Still bootstrapped, he's living with the consequences.
Owner and Proprietor of Uncorked Ventures an online wine club and gift basket company, one of the most enjoyable aspects to my job is meeting the people who craft the wines that we all enjoy.