While there are plenty of great domestic wines to try, some of the best blends on the market come from foreign countries like Italy, France, and Argentina.
One of the best ways to try wines from around the world without spending a fortune is through an international wine club. With these clubs, you’ll get to try hard-to-find foreign wines that have been handpicked by sommeliers.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at the best international wine clubs for you to try. Plus, we’ll go over how to choose an international wine club that’s worth your money.
Quick comparison table
World of Wine Club
Best international wine clubs
If you’re interested in trying an international wine club, you’ll want to make sure you’re joining one that provides great quality wines. Even though there are a number of options on the market, not all of them provide the same caliber of wine.
Here are the five best international wine clubs in the US right now, and the differences between them.
The International Wine of the Month Club has been in business for over twenty years, making it one of the oldest international wine clubs on the market.
What really makes this club unique, however, is that wine experts rigorously check every part of the wine-making process of each bottle included in the subscription.
Also, all the bottles have to be approved by a panel of 30 judges. Only if a wine makes it past the judges will the International Wine of the Month Club include it in their subscriptions.
What’s great about this process is that it means that you get high-quality bottles that have undergone a rigorous vetting process. You won’t have to worry about getting mediocre international wines – instead you know you’re getting premium picks.
The subscription ships wines from all over the world. A few regions they source wines from include:
However, there are tons of other wine regions that you can get bottles from with this club. If you want a truly international club, the International Wine of the Month Club is a great choice.
Each shipment includes two bottles of wine as well as comprehensive tasting notes, detailed wine profiles, winery histories, and suggested food pairings. While these are more nice-to-have than must-haves, they’re great if you really want to learn more about the wine you’re drinking.
The one downside to the International Wine Club of the Month is its flat shipping rate. Postage isn’t cheap, and this can make an otherwise relatively affordable club pretty pricey.
- Each subscription comes with a history and profile of the wineries the wines come from.
- Ships from just about every winemaking region you can think of.
- The wine is hand-selected by sommeliers.
- Good value before shipping is taken into account.
- Flat rate shipping, which is fairly expensive.
The Wall Street Journal has a wine club which focuses on sourcing wines from all over the world.
This club only ships cases, which means that with each order, you’ll receive 12 bottles of wine. While the savings this gives you are nice to have, it’s a lot of wine, so if you’re not a big wine drinker, you might find this club is a bit much.
However, if you do drink a lot of wine, you can get a huge discount purchasing wine this way. Not only do you receive bottles at 20% less than average retail prices, which range from $15 to $35 per bottle, but you can also get an introductory offer of about $100 off your first order.
In addition to the wine, you’ll also receive tasting notes, serving suggestions, and food pairings with your shipment. This is nice if you’re looking to use the wine to entertain, or simply enjoy learning more about different wine pairings.
The WSJ Wine Club offers wines from just about every winemaking region you can think of, including:
- New Zealand
There are also tons of other regions available with their subscriptions. And, you can use their interactive wine region map to learn more about where each bottle comes from and what makes it unique.
Check on WSJ Wine Club
- They source from just about every wine-making region around the world.
- They have an interactive wine region map, so you can learn more about the bottles you purchase.
- You can get hefty per-bottle discounts.
- Great if you drink a fair amount of wine.
- Only ships in bulk.
The World of Wine Club from Vinesse Wines is another excellent subscription for international bottles.
It focuses on small-batch production, and sources wines from award-winning vintage and boutique wineries. Plus, each wine bottle in the subscription undergoes a meticulous extraction process and inspection, prior to being included.
This wine club grants you a shipment box of twelve bottles from the following wine regions:
While these are some excellent wine regions, it’s a notably short list compared to some other clubs on the market. This means that although you’ll get international wines, you won’t get to experience as many wine regions as you would with a different subscription.
Still, Vinesse does its best to engage subscribers with the wines they ship by including
wine touring tips, recipe suggestions, tasting notes, and wine information.
Another benefit of Vinesse’s World of Wine Club is that you get quite a bit of flexibility. With this subscription, you can choose:
- The number of bottles per shipment: 3, 6, or 12
- The kind of wine: red or white, or mixed
- How many shipments per year: 2, 3, or 6
These customization options are great for personalizing your subscription to your individual needs and tastes. For instance, if you drink wine regularly, you can get a larger subscription. On the other hand, if you don’t drink very often, you can opt for smaller or less frequent shipments.
Like the International Wine of the Month Club, Vinesse’s World of Wine Club has an extra shipping fee. However, they do have a one-time deal for two extra bottles at a low cost for new members, which can help to make the club more appealing to budget-conscious wine drinkers.
Check on Vinesse
- You can choose from multiple subscription sizes.
- There’s lots of flexibility with shipment frequency.
- They offer wine touring tips and tasting notes with their subscriptions.
- Good value for new customers.
- You have to pay extra for shipping.
- The list of countries they source from is relatively short.
Naked Wines is a relatively new wine club that operates by accepting donations from anonymous investors and then using this money to fund small, local winemakers. This means that the club’s wine selections are quite unique, and the bottles are often hard or impossible to find in grocery stores.
Additionally, because Naked Wines partners with the winemakers directly, the wine bottles are significantly marked down. If you’re looking for an affordable international wine club, the low cost per bottle can make this a good option.
Naked Wines lets you choose from the following international wine subscriptions:
- Cabernet Around The World
- Passport to South Africa
- Passport to France
While the passport clubs focus exclusively on South Africa and France, the Cabernet Around the World selection grants you access to cabernets from other countries. This is great if you want to broaden the number of wine regions you purchase from.
At the same time, however, you’ll only get cabernet with this subscription, so if you’re not a big fan of this type of wine, it probably isn’t the best choice.
And, since the only other international subscriptions focus on two countries exclusively, you may find Naked Wines’ international wine selection a bit limited.
Check on Naked Wines
- Helps support local winemakers.
- The bottles you purchase are unique and hard to find in grocery stores.
- You get bottles at a great discount.
- Mostly focuses on two countries outside the US.
- Their international wines are largely cabernet.
FirstLeaf has a reputation for selecting boutique wines, but they don’t limit their picks to any one country or region. As a result, they’ve got a fair number of international wines on offer.
FirstLeaf works hand-in-hand with wineries and vineyards, which helps keep the costs of this subscription pretty low. In fact, FirstLeaf is one of the most affordable international wine clubs out there.
Plus, with their wine satisfaction guarantee, you can get a refund or a new bottle if you don’t like any of their picks. Both of these factors make this club a good choice for those on a budget.
Another good thing about FirstLeaf is they have an introductory quiz that helps them hand-pick bottles according to your taste. This quiz will allow you to select what types of tasting notes you like, as well as whether you prefer red, white, rosé, or sparkling wine. This is very helpful for those who are just getting started with wine drinking.
As for the delivery schedule, you can choose between monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly deliveries. With every shipment, you’ll also get a bit of information about each wine and the tasting notes to look for. This makes FirstLeaf quite a good choice for those who are just getting into international wine tasting.
Unfortunately, FirstLeaf isn’t a club focused on international wine exclusively. As a result, your subscription will often come with a mixture of domestic and foreign wines. For those looking for a purely international club, FirstLeaf might not be the best choice.
Additionally, FirstLeaf doesn’t have a huge selection of wine at the moment. After a while, you may find you’re repeating the same bottles rather than exploring new international wines. Still, if you don’t mind repeating bottles, this won’t be an issue.
Check on Firstleaf
- Lots of options for delivery frequency.
- Includes tasting notes and winery information.
- Has an introductory quiz to help you pick wines you’ll love.
- Not focused exclusively on international wines
- There’s a small selection of wine to pick from.
How to choose an international wine club
Before settling on any of the above international wine clubs, there are a few things you need to consider.
Here are a couple of issues to think about when choosing a great international wine club.
Look at how many countries a club sources from
Some wine clubs, such as the International Wine of the Month Club, have an extensive list of countries that they source their wines from. On the other hand, some clubs, such as Naked Wines, only have a few select countries where they source international wines.
When looking for an international wine club, make sure to check how many countries a club sources from. If you want to experience the best of international wine, you’re going to want to look for a club with a larger number of countries available.
On the other hand, if you are only interested in international wine from a specific region, you don’t need to worry about clubs that offer wines from numerous different countries.
Think about what type of subscription you’re looking for, and keep this in mind as you look into wine clubs. This way, you’ll find a club that helps you experience the type and variety of international wine you’re after.
Check the quality of the wine
Regardless of whether you’re looking for an international wine club or not, you want to think about the quality of the wine you’ll be receiving.
However, this consideration becomes even more important with international wines. This is because it can be harder to verify the quality of the bottles with an international club, since you may not be familiar with the wineries.
Before settling on an international wine club, check how the club sources its wines. Do they have wine experts handpicking the bottles, or do they simply partner with wineries that give them a good commission?
If the company doesn’t explicitly state how they choose their wines, there’s a good chance they’re making partnerships with profit in mind instead of for quality bottles.
Doing your research into the type of wineries the clubs partner with, and how they pick their bottles, can give you a good idea of the quality of the wines you’ll be receiving.
Examine the regions the wine comes from
When looking for an international wine club, you need to look at the regions that the bottles come from as well as the countries they come from. The reason for this is that different regions are known for producing certain types of wine.
For example, Bourdeaux in France is famous for dark red wines such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, thanks to the types of grapes that grow best in these regions.
In contrast, if a region grows a type of grape that doesn’t do well in that area, you may get subdued tasting notes or a lower-quality wine. This is why checking the growing regions as well as the country the wine comes from is so important when choosing an international wine club.
Check shipping costs and availability
While international wine clubs can be a great way to experience wine from around the world that you wouldn’t normally find in your local supermarket, they can also come with high shipping fees.
In terms of the shipping cost, you’ll need to look at this to make sure that it doesn’t make the club unaffordable. In general, you shouldn’t be paying more than $25 for shipping from an international wine club, regardless of the number of bottles in the shipment. Any more than this can make it less affordable to purchase your bottles through a wine club.
Additionally, you need to look at the availability of shipping to your state. Make sure that your chosen club ships to your area, and be sure to read the fine print for any additional stipulations regarding the shipping time or cost.
There are some excellent wines to be found in a number of different countries outside the US. And, with an international wine club, tasting these wines for yourself becomes much more accessible and affordable.
If you still have questions about international wine clubs, be sure to leave us a comment. 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.