Winery Happenings: Wine Club Month

photo by Dave Dugdale via flickr
photo by Dave Dugdale via flickr

Besides harvest, we’re also coming up to Wine Club month for a lot of wineries, including mine, which means things are extra busy. 

What is a wine club? I covered this briefly when I joined my first wine club,  but a wine club is a program where a customer signs up to buy a pre-determined selection of wine from a winery every year. In return, they receive discounts, limited release wines, and often parties and chances to attend winemaker dinners or private tastings. There are a lot of advantages for both the winery and the customer in a wine club; the winery gains repeat customers and guaranteed sales, and the club member becomes something of a VIP, because wineries are almost always invested in keeping members in their club.

What is Wine Club Month?  Wine Club Month is the month when a winery sends out a wine selection to their club members; for my winery, it’s every April and October. Wine Club Month often extends to the month leading up to the shipment and the following month. Actually, I’ve noticed that the loose ends from Wine Club Month often don’t get tied up until it’s time for the next Wine Club Month.

What does that mean for wine club members? It means they’ll get a notice that their credit cards will be charged, and then they’ll get a notice that they can either come pick their wines up at the winery or their wines will be shipped to them. Being in a wine club is super easy, and wine shows up on your doorstep several times a year!

What does that mean for the winery? Someone (usually a Wine Club Manager) has a whole lot to do during (and before and after) these months, writing the newsletter, double-checking addresses, processing special orders from members (so-and-so never wants Syrah, such-and such wants to ship their wine to a different address, but then go back to the old one, this person wants to pick their wine up a month early, that person wants to order extra wine with their shipment), calling members whose credit cards have expired, and packing up all the wine to be shipped out (often hundreds of packages, depending on how big the wine club is)

What about the Wine Club Party?  Most wineries host a pick-up party where members can pick up their wine, have some food, and taste all the wines that they’re getting in their shipments. Wine club parties are a lot of fun, if hectic.

I love Wine Club Month, even if it’s busy and hectic. I like getting to meet the club members at the party or when they come to pick up their wine, and I even like making lists of what needs to get done. The new wine releases are always exciting to try, too! 

Do any of you belong to a wine club or work for a winery that has a club? What are your stories?

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