Wine Clubs For Every Taste
If there’s a country somewhere with only one citizen, it probably has a wine club with a dozen members. Once the province of the enthusiast or specialist, wine clubs are now as popular as Starbucks.
Wine clubs are founded for as many reasons as there are founders. Many are started in order to take advantage of group or special pricing available only to members. Others simply want to enjoy the variety that comes with receiving a new and often unexpected, vintage or vineyard every month. And, of course, a great many begin because the members seek the social interaction and the joy from sharing their favorites with others.
With a wine club comes an invaluable source of information about varieties, vintages and wineries from around the world. Clubs in every country exist that are devoted to the wines of that country, and other clubs seek out the new by exploring wines imported from elsewhere. French clubs investigate wines from Australia (though they don’t confess it!), and Italians and Spaniards review wines from California — many made by relatives with family ties going back generations.
Some wine clubs are as new as ten minutes ago, others started over 100 years ago. Often the experts that found or join these clubs are equal in knowledge and experience, regardless of the age of the clubs. From these experts comes advice about wine glass preparation, tasting methods or home winemaking tips along with recommendations for the best whites, reds or dessert wines.
There are clubs devoted to the product of a particular winery, often having been started by the owners themselves. These specialists can give early information about their own harvests, so enthusiasts can look forward in the coming years to sampling the finest these entrepreneurs offer. Such clubs will often make certain wines available only to club members and at reduced prices.
One club is even dedicated to those who have sampled over 100 different wines — and the forum discussing the wines is very lively! Each member has tasted over 100 wines, so the total selection ranges in the several hundred, with some overlap.
But at the end of the day, all the clubs provide their members with the expertise and experience of some of the world’s most knowledgeable and enthusiastic makers and drinkers of wine. And a mind-boggling amount of material it is.
The ease of sharing information worldwide and almost instantaneously, made possible by e-mail and the Internet, has produced a cornucopia of opinions about every aspect of wine. Debates rage about best vintage, pairing, vineyards, pros and cons of soil and climate types and on and on. Passions around political disagreements pale beside this United Nations of wine.
Fortunately, no wars have recently broken out, (some historians assert the influence of the grape is responsible in part for more than one!), but there are occasional skirmishes. Still, next time you’re invited to attend that special event honoring the ‘premier’ of a new wine, leave the Kevlar vest at home. Just be prepared with some oenological (the study of wine) ammunition — and don’t forget, the purpose is to enjoy!