Although many people enjoy drinking white wine or rosé, 69% of wine drinkers prefer a red to one of the lighter bottles of wine.
If you like red wine, one of the easiest ways to try different reds and refine your palette is by subscribing to a red wine club.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at the best red wine clubs on the market for lovers of rich Syrahs and deep Burgundies. Plus, we’ll take a look at how to choose the right wine club for your individual preferences.
Quick comparison table
Best red wine clubs
There are tons of different wine clubs on the market, and if you want to drink red wines over whites and rosés, plenty of these clubs allow you to just choose red wines.
Whether you’re looking for a budget option or something with a greater selection of niche wines, there’s something for everyone on this list.
FirstLeaf is one of the most popular red wine clubs on the market, largely due to its affordable introductory offer, which gives you six bottles of wine for a very reasonable price.
After the introductory offer (which is good for your first month as a member), the cost of the subscription goes up. However, even though the price increases after the first month, you’ll still only pay around $15 per bottle.
That’s pretty affordable, especially considering that most three to four-star bottles of wine range from about $15 – $35 per bottle. If you’re looking for a cheap red wine club, FirstLeaf is a great pick.
Another thing that’s good about FirstLeaf is that they don’t send out random bottles of red wine. Your wine subscription is curated to your taste.
When you sign up for a membership, you’ll be invited to take a short wine quiz. The quiz helps FirstLeaf figure out your preferences and hand-pick wines that you’re more likely to enjoy.
Once you get your first box, you can record the wines you loved and those you weren’t as fond of. This helps FirstLeaf to continually improve the selection of wines that they send you.
Thanks to their introductory quiz, FirstLeaf is one of the better red wine clubs for beginners who are still discovering what types of red wine they like, and which ones they don’t.
Essentially, with FirstLeaf, you don’t have to worry about spending hundreds of dollars just to figure out your wine preferences. And once you’ve got your preferences dialed in, you’ll receive a great selection of wines each month at a very low cost per bottle.
Check on Firstleaf
Winc is a California-based wine club that was founded by a sommelier – a professional wine taster.
Thanks to this, a lot of their wines, which are made by indie winemakers, are really top-quality.
Much like with FirstLeaf, when you sign up for Winc, you’ll get to take an introductory wine preference quiz. This helps the team to send you wines you’re most likely to enjoy.
If you don’t have a lot of experience with wine (or if you’re looking to try something very specific), this quiz is great because it ensures that you won’t pay for wines you don’t want. If you’re looking for reds, you can choose to only get red wine from Winc.
Once you subscribe, Winc gives you a shipment of four wines per month. If you want to skip a shipment, you’ll still pay your monthly membership fee, which will serve as credit that you can use in the online store on individual reds.
Winc’s price tag is a bit higher than some of the other wine clubs on the market. But, since they give you access to many indie winemakers, Winc is worth it for connoisseurs who want to try blends you won’t find in the grocery store.
This red wine club has a wide variety of vegan and organic wines, too, which you can choose to get exclusively as a part of your membership. Winc is a great choice for wine drinkers with dietary restrictions.
One downside to Winc is that any and all refunds are issued in the form of credits to your account. So, if you don’t like something, you’ll be stuck swapping it for a new bottle, rather than cash.
Check on Winc
Naked Wines works a little bit differently than some of the other wine clubs on this list.
For one thing, you pay a membership charge instead of a monthly fee, and get sent a select number of bottles each month.
The membership fee then goes toward whatever wine you want to order. You can also save your membership fee each month, to accumulate a bit of money for larger purchases.
This system is great for wine drinkers who are looking for a red wine membership that doesn’t lock you into getting a certain number of bottles a month. Instead, you can make an investment in wine and use it whenever you’re ready.
Another unique aspect of this wine club is that your membership fee actually goes into a pool of funds with other users. These funds are then given to winemakers as an advance to create new types of wine, helping to support their research and development process.
The result is that Naked Wines always has an exciting selection of new indie wines available. With over 150 red wines in their database currently and more coming in every month, this site is great for those who want to explore something new.
In terms of what the wine tastes like, most of the reds on this site are easy to drink. They’re not overly potent and are crowd-pleasers that even those newer to red wine will like. If you’re looking for a more vibrant selection of reds, Naked Wines isn’t the best choice.
All in all, Naked Wines is a great subscription for those who are just getting into red wine. There are plenty of wines to pick from, lots of entry-level reds, and a constant supply of new wines, thanks to the membership fund system.
Check on Naked Wines
California Wine Club is ideal for red wine lovers who live in California or near the state’s borders.
All the wines in this club are California-grown, and as a member, you get access to VIP winery tours and tastings at any of the distributors’ vineyards.
The subscription also gives you access to a wine consultant, so if you want very specific types of reds, it’s easy to curate your subscription.
California Wine Club is on the more expensive side compared to other wine clubs. A two-bottle monthly subscription is about the same price as Winc’s six-bottle membership, and you have to pay for shipping as well. A four-bottle subscription costs twice as much, but you get free shipping to any state.
As a result, the costs can add up fairly quickly if you drink a lot of wine or are outside the state of California.
However, if you’re in the Golden State, a lot of these factors aren’t an issue – for example, shipping is much cheaper. Plus, you can feel good knowing that your subscription helps to support local family-owned wineries.
WSJ Wine Club is another wine membership that many people enjoy. This wine club is one of the cheapest on the market, offering an affordable introductory plan.
The intro offer works out to be around $5 per bottle, so it’s definitely a good pick if you’re looking to lower your cost per bottle.
After your first order, the price goes up and is charged every three months, for the same number of bottles. However, because you get 14 bottles in a case every three months, WSJ is still cheaper than most other red wine subscriptions on a per-bottle basis.
The WSJ wine club ships wines from around the world and has an exhaustive selection. So, if you’ve already got a lot of experience with wine and want to branch out, this subscription is a good choice.
This wine club also only stocks premium wines. As a result, you get to try wines at much lower prices than you’d get if you just went to the grocery store.
Another perk of the club is that free tasting notes are included for each bottle in your order. This is a nice addition for anyone who enjoys learning about different wines and expanding their palette.
Despite these advantages, the WSJ Wine Club isn’t without its downsides. For one thing, their affordable introductory offer is limited to one per household. If you live at the same address as someone who already uses WSJ Wine Club, you won’t be able to get the offer.
Another disadvantage of the club is that shipping isn’t included in their introductory offer. Shipping is a bit on the pricey side too, so this can sometimes outweigh the benefits of the low initial membership price.
Check on WSJ Wine Club
How to choose a red wine club
Now that you know a bit more about the different red wine clubs on the market at the moment, it’s time to figure out how to pick which one is right for you.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing a wine club to join.
Your wine club budget
One of the most important things to think about when choosing a wine club is your budget.
There are red wine clubs all over the cost spectrum, meaning you can sign up for clubs that cost under $60 per month or go for premium subscriptions that cost upwards of $200 each billing cycle.
A good way to pick a wine club is to think about how much money you’re willing to spend on wine, or how much you spend at the moment. Use that as a jumping-off point so that you pick a club that won’t be a stretch for you each month.
On top of that, you can calculate the price per bottle of the club. This helps you figure out how much you’re spending and can make budgeting a bit easier, especially if you already have a set maximum amount that you like to spend on each bottle of wine.
Research available wine clubs in your state
Not all wine clubs are available in every state. In fact, some states have strict liquor laws, making it hard or even impossible for wine clubs to operate.
Before signing up for a wine club, be sure to do your research.
Look at what states the club ships to and which it doesn’t. And, look to see if there are any benefits for individuals in your state.
For example, clubs like California Premier Wine Club give you extra perks like wine tours that only make sense if you’re in the state.
Taking advantage of a local wine club can help you make the most of your subscription.
Ease of use
Ease of use is another big factor in choosing a wine club.
Some wine clubs have a use it or lose it policy with your payments – if you don’t spend your monthly credit, it’s gone and won’t roll over into next month.
If you’re looking for flexibility, and want the ability to pause your subscription, you might find this type of club less user-friendly.
On top of that, there are some wine subscriptions that force you to go through a lengthy cancellation process. This could mean calling customer service instead of just hitting a button to cancel your account online.
Make sure to look into the ease of use of your chosen subscription before getting in too deep. That way, you’ll avoid any unpleasant surprises down the road.
Curated vs personalized wine clubs
There are two types of wine clubs: curated and personalized.
- Curated means that the club selects the wine for you and sends it out to you each month. California Premier Club is an example of a curated club.
- Personalized clubs send you wine based on your individual preferences. FirstLeaf and Naked Wines are examples of these types of clubs.
Think about whether you want to put in the work to personalize your box, or whether you’d rather have someone just send wine to you. This basically boils down to whether:
- You know that there are certain types of red wine that you don’t like, such as Pinot Noir, and want to ensure that you avoid them.
- You’re new to red wine, and don’t mind trying all different types.
Having this in mind makes it easier to pick the right red wine club.
There are tons of different types of wine out there, from premium to organic to vegan.
If you prefer a specific type of wine, you’re going to want a subscription that caters to your preferences.
On the other hand, if you just want standard, easy-drinking wines, you can go for subscriptions that don’t necessarily include organic or vegan wines, because they sometimes cost more per bottle than regular red wines.
Remember, these days you don’t need to spend a lot of money to subscribe to a quality red wine club. With a Firstleaf subscription for example, you’ll get sent a range of quality reds each month for a very low price per bottle. Because these wine clubs buy so much wine in bulk, they’re able to offer wine for a much lower cost than if you went and bought each bottle individually.
Do you still have questions about red 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.