Not all wine clubs are created equally. And, how could they be? It all depends on the wines available within the winery’s portfolio itself, whether it’s an individual winemaker or an aggregate club of different labels, signing-up can sometimes feel like a bit of a gamble.

We all want to be members of a few select wine clubs that “really get us” but it’s a long-term commitment and how can you be sure you’re going to like what they send you six months from now? It’s seems like a great concept but is it worth it really? Dillon Sommer, Sommelier and Wine Educator at Temecula-based Lorimar Winery breaks down how to choose a wine club in ten easy steps.

1. Familiarity: Dillon Sommer says that the No.1 rule when joining one of Lorimar’s Wine Clubs is to make sure you have tried Lorimar’s wines or have come to at least one of its events. “Everyone has their own unique taste for wines and you need to make sure that the wines you’re committing to, fit your palate. This way, when you get that quarterly shipment of wines, you will be excited no matter what bottles come in that pack-out.”

2. Locations: Dillon points out that Lorimar has “two separate, but equally entertaining, locations for members: one in the heart of Wine Country Temecula and the other in Old Town Temecula. Lorimar also hosts free live bands every Friday through Sunday for the entire year.” He says accessibility to the winery itself provides a great sense of connection between its wine club members and the winery itself. “Once people walk in the door and see the beautiful location and taste the fine wines we serve, they become hooked instantly.”

3. Love: You have to love or, at the least, like the winery and its personality. This is a long term relationship you’re entering into afterall. Dillon says “The constant that I mainly hear from our members is that they’re in love with nearly every wine on our menu, especially our red wines. Second to that is having the live bands every Friday and Saturday night gives them a reason to come back week after week.”

Photo: Kelsey Knight

4. Offers: What kind of offers is your potential wine club offering? Your wine club should be  sweetening the pot beyond simply curating your wine shipments. At Lorimar, wine club members get access to special member-only events and first-come notifications for any new wine or event specials. Members also receive between eight to ten complimentary tastings or glasses a month that they can use for themselves or for any family and friends they wish to bring with them.

5. Pricing/discounts: As a wine club member you should be enjoying heavy discounts. Dillon says “Lorimar members get a base rate of 25% off all premium and reserve wines from the menu as well as 10% off all merchandise and food from the Pairings Food Truck.

6. Frequency Options: “Our clubs deliver three bottles of wine four times a year,” says Dillon. “Figure out what kind of frequency you’re after…it could be too much or too little to meet your needs. At Lorimar, we’ve responded to what our customers prefer which is a quarterly delivery. That seems to suit most people.”

7. Special Treatment: Even above the special offers and discounts, wine club members want exclusivity. “We do have a wide selection of reserve wines that are only accessible to our Symphony Wine club members” says Dillon. “This provides an extra reason to trade-up on membership.”

8. Clarity and Simplicity: In a world full of smallprint and resort-fee charges, it’s important your wine club, which is supposed to be an enjoyable experience, doesn’t stress you out with added-on fees. “Other than the quarterly three-bottle shipments for our members there are no other charges throughout the year for being a member. A member can choose to spend as little or as much as they desire for extra wine, food, merchandise or events,” says Dillon, and at Drink Me, we like that sound of that.

9. Seasonality: Most new wine club members tend to sign up in the summer or winter seasons. Your wine club should be keeping in mind the time of the year, what kind of foods you’ll be serving and what makes sense for its members to receive. Some wine clubs ship out leftover stock regardless of seasonal trends, so be on alert for that nonsense. “With the spring season coming around the corner we will be having numerous sales and specials for the perfect wines that you will want to have at the dinner table and our members will get the first access as well as added discounts for each of them,” Dillon explains. “Matching our wines to what goes on in our members’ lives is the obvious place we start when curating our clubs.”

10. Choices: Even within one winery, one membership will not fit all palates and wallets. Dillon explains the reasons for three separate wine clubs within one Lorimar:

  • The Trio Sonata Club is our mixed red and white wine club. Trio Sonata members can enjoy eight complimentary tastings or glasses a month of any wines from our premium wine menu. Quarterly shipments are two bottles of white wine and one bottle of red, which are hand selected to fit each season. The average shipment costs for a Trio Sonata member is around $70-85 (+ tax).
  • The Rhapsody of Red Club is for those who enjoy a fine glass of red wine above all else. They can also enjoy eight complimentary tastings or glasses a month of any wines from our premium wine menu. Their quarterly wine shipments will contain three hand selected bottles of Lorimar’s premium red wines. The average shipment costs for a RR member is around $95-120 (+ tax).
  • The Symphony Club is for elite reserve wine drinkers. Symphony members get 10 complimentary tastings or glasses a month of any wines from Lorimar’s premium or reserve wine menu. Quarterly shipments will contain a mix of three bottles from its premium and reserve red wines. The average shipment costs for a The Symphony Club member is around $115-150 (+ tax).