Studies have shown that the price of a bottle of wine changes the way it tastes. In fact, these studies generally state that if a bottle of wine is priced higher, we think it tastes better even if there’s no real difference.
If you want to skip the expensive wine and enjoy affordable blends that are just as good as their expensive counterparts, an affordable wine club is a good way to do so.
In this guide, we’ll look at the best affordable wine clubs, as well as go over some tips on how to choose a low-cost, high-quality subscription.
Quick comparison table
Best affordable wine clubs
Affordable wine clubs shouldn’t compromise on wine quality. They should still provide a quality drinking experience that matches your taste preferences.
Below, we have looked at five of the most affordable yet high-quality wine clubs you can join at the moment.
Winc is a moderately priced wine club providing a service that caters to those who want an affordable subscription.
Winc works by having you take an introductory quiz that identifies your wine preferences. The quiz then picks out bottles of wine based on your preferences, making for a super-customized shopping experience.
The service has a good value introductory offer, making it a great pick for those who want to try out a wine club subscription without committing to an expensive membership. Even after your introductory month is over, the cost is lower than many other subscriptions.
Additionally, Winc gives you 10% off when you order 12 bottles or more, regardless of whether that’s as a one-off or part of your subscription. If you drink a lot of wine or have a larger household, this can be a big perk.
Another reason why Winc is such a great affordable wine club is that they partner with a lot of indie brands. Because of this, they’re able to get you exclusive access to types of wine that you might not be able to find in the grocery store.
Better yet, even if you could find them in the grocery store, you’d have to pay a premium for these indie bottles since they’re small-batch, niche wines. In contrast, with Winc, you get to try these unique craft blends at a lower cost.
Another area where Winc excels is that it offers a number of vegan, sugar-free, and organic wines. Whereas these wines are more expensive when paying retail prices at a wine shop, Winc offers them at the same price point as other blends.
If you have dietary restrictions, Winc’s specialty wines often wind up more affordable than if you purchased them at the local supermarket.
The only downside of Winc is that while affordable, there’s not a ton of selection, and they don’t frequently get new wines. After a while, you may find that you’re stuck repeating wines you’ve already tried.
Still, if you don’t mind repeating a few favorites, Winc is a very good choice.
Check on Winc
- Great choice of indie wines.
- Good prices.
- Discounts available on bulk purchases.
- Lots of sugar-free, organic and vegan wines as well as regular varieties.
- Not a big selection of wines.
Firstleaf is another low-cost wine brand with a great introductory offer. This deal provides you with six bottles of wine for about half the price of their standard monthly cost.
What’s unique about Firstleaf is that the company partners directly with wineries. This allows them to cut their prices by between 40 and 60% of the average retail prices in most wine stores. As a result, you can get some big savings on premium wines.
In fact, some of the wines offered through Firstleaf’s subscriptions are actually award-winning. Despite that, the company maintains the monthly per-bottle price and doesn’t charge extra for adding these wines to your order. If you want to try premium wines, this can be an inexpensive way to do it.
Firstleaf also offers a 100% wine satisfaction guarantee. This means that if you don’t like a particular bottle of wine, you can get a replacement or refund with no questions asked. While this doesn’t lower the subscription cost, it can reduce the amount of money lost on bottles you end up not enjoying.
Another thing that helps keep Firstleaf’s costs low is that they offer flexible subscriptions. You can choose your delivery time and number of bottles and change them each month. This lets you tweak your subscription based on a particular month’s budget.
There aren’t a lot of downsides to Firstleaf, but one thing you should be aware of is their shipping limitations. Currently, they only ship to 47 different states due to local liquor laws. If you live in one of the six states they don’t ship to, you won’t be able to sign up.
Check on Firstleaf
- Excellent quality wines available.
- Great value.
- Very flexible.
- Includes a satisfaction guarantee.
- Not available in three states.
Vinesse is known for its affordable boutique and small batch wines. Like Winc, this means that you can try craft wines at a much lower price point than if you purchased them through a local wine dealer.
Vinesse has a lot of aspects of its membership that you can tweak, such as the delivery frequency, number of bottles per shipment, and type of wine. By providing multiple shipment options, you can create an affordable membership that meets your specific needs.
For example, if you want to be part of a wine club but want to keep your monthly costs low, you can go for a shipment of two bottles at a lower price. This can often end up being much more affordable than paying for a subscription that forces you to receive numerous bottles of wine at a time.
Another advantage of subscribing to Vinesse is that the larger subscriptions give you free shipping. That means that if you do want to purchase large quantities of wine, you can save some money on the cost of freight.
Vinesse also has a grab bag offer where you can taste different wine flavors, depending on your preferences. The offer lets you pick six bottles of wine for less than $10 each, so you can get a feel for the membership before committing.
This deal is only available for your first purchase, but it’s still a nice way to see what the subscription is like at a lower cost before committing to paying full price.
A possible downside of Vinesse is its lack of transparency regarding its shipping costs. There’s an extra shipping fee of $2.50 for customers who send their wines to a home instead of to a business.
Luckily, $2.50 is a pretty small amount of cash, so this isn’t a deal breaker for most people.
Check on Vinesse
- Free shipping is available with larger subscriptions.
- Good choice of niche wines.
- Possible to choose a smaller subscription to save money.
- Grab bags give you the ability to try different wines before committing to a membership.
- Extra charge to deliver to a home address.
If you’re after an affordable wine club that stays well-stocked with ever-changing options, Cellars Wine Club is a good pick. It frequently releases new wine flavors, so you’ll never run out of bottles to try every month.
What’s really unique about Cellars Wine Club is that the bottles are curated by professional tasters. Because actual sommeliers choose the wines, you get really good bottles at lower-than-grocery-store prices.
Another significant advantage of this wine club is its single-bottle subscriptions. These subscriptions are perfect for beginners who are still exploring to find what they want. While the cost for these subscriptions is lower than, say, a four-bottle subscription, the per-bottle cost is much higher.
Finally, Cellars also offers a flat-rate shipping fee. No matter how much wine you order, you won’t get charged extra. For bulk buyers, this can really cut down on how much you spend.
However, flat-rate shipping can also make single-bottle subscriptions a bit on the pricier side. You’ll need to think carefully about this before signing up for Cellars Wine Club as an affordable option, depending on how much wine you want to buy.
- Great quality wines.
- Lots of new bottles constantly coming out.
- Flat-rate shipping.
- A bit expensive with single-bottle subscriptions.
Naked Wines makes it onto our list because although the per-month cost is a bit higher than subscriptions like Winc, they give you access to a huge selection, including a wide range of international wines.
If you’re already a regular wine drinker, this club is an excellent choice for trying new blends without spending tons of money.
On top of that, Naked Wines partners with multiple boutique wineries from around the world. This lets you try niche international brands that you won’t find pretty much anywhere else, at a relatively low price point, too.
Another great thing about Naked Wines is that there are no cancellation fees. Even if you terminate your membership before completing a set number of months, you won’t be penalized for it. This means it can be a good subscription to try out if you’re still on the fence about wine clubs.
Naked Wines sells its wines at around 30% less than the bottles’ retail prices, so you do get a pretty big discount. And you also get a 100% money-back guarantee for wine bottles that you don’t end up liking.
It’s worth mentioning that Naked Wines has an introductory offer. However, you have to order an entire case to take advantage of it, which can mean you might have to spend more than you originally budgeted for.
Also, when you join Naked Wines, you can start getting a lot of promotional emails. These get a bit spammy after a while, so if you do sign up, make sure to unsubscribe from the email chains.
Check on Naked Wines
- Massive selection of bottles available.
- No cancellation fees.
- Great prices.
- You might get annoyed by the promotional emails, until you unsubscribe.
Tips for choosing an affordable wine club
Now that you have a brief overview of some of the most affordable wine clubs, let’s look at how to choose which one is right for you.
Here are a couple of tips and factors you should consider when picking a budget-friendly wine club.
Calculate the per bottle cost
Cellars Wine Club aside, most subscriptions don’t offer single bottle subscriptions. Instead, you’ll have to pick a case of two to 12 wines. This can be pretty deceiving.
Even though the price of the membership goes up as you add more wines, what generally ends up happening is that the price of the bottle goes down. In other words, even though you pay more, you actually get a better rate.
Before signing up for a wine club subscription, calculate what the per-bottle cost works out to be. In many cases, if you’re willing to purchase a 12-bottle subscription or higher, you can get rates as low as $8 per bottle.
This can actually make the wine club much more affordable, especially if you only order a case once every couple of months or so.
Calculate the cost per shipment
Another thing to think about is the cost per shipment. Some wine clubs offer monthly deliveries while others send wine every three months. Others allow you to mix and match the frequency of the shipment.
What’s important is to look at how much you’re paying per shipment as opposed to how much wine you’ll receive.
For example, let’s say you’re choosing between a club that ships four bottles every month at a cost of $60 per shipment, and a club that ships twelve bottles every three months at $120 per shipment.
- If you go with the first option, you’ll pay $180 for twelve bottles of wine over three months.
- With the second option, you’ll pay $120 for twelve bottles of wine over three months.
Even though the first option might seem cheaper, the second option works out to be a better deal. Make sure to compare these per shipment costs against the frequency and number of bottles to see if you’re really getting a good deal or not.
Check for hidden fees
Some wine clubs have hidden fees and costs that you might not be aware of if you don’t read the fine print. For those on a budget, this can make seemingly affordable wine clubs suddenly not so cheap at all.
A few examples of common hidden fees include:
- Shipping costs
- Cancellation fees
- Bottle replacement fees
- Monthly charges, even if you skip a month’s shipment
- Residence fees
- Out-of-state fees
Before signing up for a club, make sure to carefully read the member agreement. Look for any additional costs and make sure you get a clear breakdown of what you’ll be paying.
Check the club’s guarantee
Money-back or bad bottle guarantees don’t save you money on your monthly costs, but they can save you money lost on wine you don’t enjoy. These guarantees basically ensure you get your money back or a replacement for wine that you end up disliking.
What’s important here is that if you decide you don’t like a particular wine, you don’t lose out on the value of that bottle. Instead, you get to try something new or get a credit back to your card.
These types of guarantees can save you quite a lot of money on wines that you end up deciding aren’t for you. If you’re on a budget, they can really make your wine subscription worth it.
Look for coupons
What’s better than an affordable wine club subscription? Discounts and deals that will help you pay lower prices.
The best affordable wine clubs don’t just have low monthly costs, but also have good introductory offers. Some of them even send regular emails with members-only coupons inside (such as Naked Wines).
Coupons will usually offer promotional discounts on top of already-cheap prices, meaning you save more money. So, aside from getting 40% to 60% off the average retail prices of wines, you pay way less than when you buy these bottles from local wine stores.
Although you might think signing up for a wine club is a huge expense, there are some excellent low-cost memberships on the market. Wine clubs don’t have to be expensive, and when you read the fine print and calculate shipping and per bottle costs, you can end up getting a great deal on your subscription.
Do you still have questions about affordable wine clubs and how to choose between them? Leave us a comment, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
About the author
My name’s Jessica, and I’m a full-time writer and part-time wine lover. I love being able to share expertise through the power of words.
I’m a self-proclaimed wine expert who’s been a patron and member of multiple vineyards. As someone who’s lived in the California Napa Valley and studied wine formally at the university level, I’ve gained a good chunk of knowledge on wine, its origins, and the current market.
I particularly like a good burgundy, but failing that, dry white wine is my go-to. Today you’ll find me sharing my wine expertise with the world. I may or may not have a glass of wine by my desk as I do it.