Have you or anyone you know ever belonged to a wine club in the past or do you belong to one now? I ask because I recently made a purchase from Williams-Sonoma on-line and am now on their permanent, forever, on-line e-mail list. Normally I just hit “delete” but today I noticed that they have a wine club. Hmmm… wonder what that’s about.
Perhaps when you were first getting into wine, you might have joined a wine club. Or maybe you belong to one now. I’m not talking about when you visit a winery and like their stuff so much you want to get regular shipments of it. No, I’m talking about those clubs you see advertised somewhere — probably food magazines — that promise to ship you great wines every 2-3 months. Of course, you have no idea what you’re going to get. Could be swill or could be something really great. Most likely not something really great. Oh, and they charge you to join. BUT, they send you a free gift. (Isn’t “free gift” redundant?)
Then, after the first 3-4 shipments you realize, “Hey, I can go to the wine store and get something I know I like for less money,” and you drop out. But you get to keep the free gift, usually a corkscrew, and goodness knows it’s good to have more than one of those since after opening the third bottle of wine, you put the dang thing down and forget where it is.
So I looked at the wines they were touting on the W-S e-mail. They have a $180 shipment of three $60 bottles of wine. Now I gotta tell you, in my world $60 is a lot to pay for a bottle of wine. They listed the wines they were including in the shipment, so I checked them out. One was a $50 and another was not shown on the winery website, but the previous vintages were $75-$80 so it might well be a $60 wine. Or at least carry a $60 price tag.
You know, if I’m going to shell out $60 for something, I sure as heck want to know I’m going to like it, whether it’s a dress I’ve tried on, a restaurant I’m making a reservation at, or a ticket to a concert. $60 for a pig-in-a-poke seems pretty risky to me.
I look over my wine stash and there is nothing that cost $60 — or even $50. About a year ago our little group got together and Micah brought a $75 wine. (Thank you, Micah — I’m glad to be your friend!) She explained, though, that she hadn’t paid $75. She had paid a decent price, but since it had been in her wine cabinet for a couple of years, the price had gone up. So we were drinking a $75 wine which works out to about $3 an ounce, or around $1 a sip. Pretty pricey stuff and really good, too.
On the other hand, I’m looking at the W-S wine club and seeing a collection of three “ultimate burger wines” for $50. Don’t know if that includes shipping, but I’m thinking the gas to go to your local wine store or market can’t be more than a couple of dollars and I’ll bet you can find three decent wines for way less than $50 to go with that burger.
If you want to pay Williams-Sonoma or someone to select wines for you once in awhile, I guess that might be fun, but for $50, gee, I can buy an awful lot of “hamburger wines.” In fact, I’m just taking off for the market. Just for fun I’m going to take my pretend $50 and see how many “ultimate burger wines” I can come up with. I’ll let you know.
Shameless Plug: I used to work for Phyllis Diller. I wrote a book about my experiences: “Beyond the Spotlight: On the Road with Phyllis Diller.” You can get it on Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Spotlight-Road-Phyllis-Diller/dp/0985972882