Why should you get a wine subscription?
Generally, a subscription will take the hassle out of having to choose from an overwhelming number of options. While it is fun for some to look through every single bottle in stores and wineries, the sheer variety of options can make this an exhausting ordeal. Subscriptions still you the chance to choose and discover, but with a much smaller and personalised pool.
Are wine clubs and wine subscriptions the same?
Yes! The idea of a ‘wine club’ started out in 1972, when Paul Kalemkiaran Sr. put up a wine “monthly selections” display in his California liquor store for his customers who would constantly ask for his recommendations. Eventually, due to popular demand, the monthly selections would be delivered directly to customers’ homes and it became known as the Wine of the Month Club.
Nowadays, there are plenty of Australian wine clubs that you can join, depending on your tastes and budget. ‘Wine subscription’ is just another name for the same service, since it works like a magazine or any other kind of subscription where selections are sent to your doorstep.
The best wine subscriptions in Australia
Have you ever felt overwhelmed and intimidated when you’re in the wine section?
Tom Walenkamp knew what it was like to be clueless about wine, so he created The Wine Gallery. It makes buying wine easy and less scary for beginners by walking them through the process of choosing the perfect bottle. The Wine Gallery rebranded and relaunched itself as Good Pair Days in 2018, and they now focus on subscriptions.
Good Pair Days, according to Walenkamp, is like the Netflix of wine. You take a fun online quiz that will help them figure out your tastes and budget, then they pair you with three bottles. As time goes by, they learn more about your tastes and suggest better matches, similar to how Netflix suggests shows.
A set of three bottles can set you back around $AUD 54, which already includes shipping and the membership discount! This can change depending on their suggestions, which will depend on your quiz answers.
For those who want to play sommelier but are overwhelmed by the idea of receiving several bottles each month, the wine tasting club Secret Bottle is the answer. Instead of full bottles, you get tasting tubes which are specially packaged to preserve a wine’s unique taste and aroma.
If you happen upon a wine that you absolutely love, Secret Bottle can offer you exclusive deals on buying full bottles! These means you won’t be stuck with half-empty bottles of wines that you don’t end up liking as much.
Since each tasting tube is only 100ml, this wine subscription is quite affordable. You can choose either a set of three white or red wines for $AUD 19 per month or just get both for a total of six for $AUD 38 per month. If you’re feeling up to it, you can go all out with their full bottles – $AUD 76 for three a month, or $AUD 148 for six!
If you’re looking for unique wines produced by talented winemakers, then Naked Wines is for you. While not exactly a subscription, Naked Wines merits a mention as it will introduce you to wines that you otherwise wouldn’t have had access to.
Members are called “angels” because they’re actually serving as angel funders or investors for small, independent Australian winemakers. The $AUD 40 that you pay every month is not a membership fee, but an investment. You can use it anytime you wish to buy wines on the website, where you can get the best value with special prices as an angel.
Being a Naked Wines angel can save you over a hundred dollars depending on the number of bottles you buy. And an additional perk for those living in Sydney or Melbourne is free delivery! For other places, shipping costs will vary.
You can’t go wrong with one of Australia’s First Families of Wine and the oldest family-run winery in Victoria. Tahbilk Winery has been around since 1860, and is a favourite of many Aussie wine enthusiasts.
While you already get discounts by simply signing up to be part of the wine club, you can take it a step further by upgrading to their Plus Program. This is perfect for those who purchase a lot of wine – at least four dozen a year! The Plus Program means you’ll receive at least twelve bottles four times in a year at much cheaper prices.
The Tahbilk Wine Club Plus Program requires a lock-in of at least one year to get the discounts and savings, which can be anywhere from around $AUD 150 to $AUD 200. Once the initial year’s over, you can cancel any time.
Drink easy and drink well with a range of celebrated and sought after natural wines from around the world. The Borough Box may be the new kid on the block, but it has already established itself as a reliable and trendy service that takes care in its choice.
Run by two professional sommeliers and natural wine importers based in Australia, this monthly subscription box includes six natural, handpicked wines. Each box features a mixed variety of rare and highly sought-after drops, with every wine included made by sustainable farming. Get yours delivered straight to your doorstop for $180, or gift someone a one-off box.
For anyone in need of a holiday, this subscription service offers adventures-in-a-box. Travel the world through your tastebuds with Wine Journeys, and save on the expensive plane ticket.
Immerse your taste buds in regional styles across Europe and Australia through themed boxes that are curated by locals. Savour the taste of the French Riviera's rosés and you'll be transported to the pristine periwinkle seaside with a glass of crisp rosé in hand.
Next up, take a tour of Tuscany by sipping on smooth red wines that will elicit the golden sunsets and rolling hills of the region. Or keep it local by 'visiting' Tasmania and Victoria's pinot noir offerings.
Prices vary but expect to pay $150 - $300 for a box. Each one comes with six wines and maker and destination notes in the form of creative post cards.
If you consider yourself a bit of an amateur sommelier then it might be time to dive into more unique wine offerings. This South Australian based business has been around since 2008 and aspires to bring the diverse styles and varieties of its wine regions to the world.
Currently they're developing an Alphabet of Wine, where each 'letter' embodies an individual winemaking project. Helmed by Adelaide local Sam Berketa who joined Alpha Box & Dice as Head Winemaker in 2016, Sam has already created new 'letters' by finding couplings between vineyards and varieties.
Choose from 3, 6 or 12 wines and how regularly you wish to receive them: half yearly, every three months, every six weeks. Every option includes discounts on the online store and score a free barrel tasting with Sam if you opt for the six-week choice.
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