About Club W

Picking a good wine can be stressful.

Most people are concerned about price, so that’s the first filter we usually apply. Is it under $10? Deal.

But once you’ve got your wine budget in place, you’re still left with dozens of choices under the general umbrella of “wines under $10”:

  • Red or white?
  • Old World (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, etc.) or New World (U.S.A., Australia, South Africa, etc.)?
  • If you go red, should it be a pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, merlot or something weird-sounding like grenache or beaujolais?
  • If white’s your fancy, how do you pick between chardonnay, pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc or sparkling wines like Champagne?
  • How the heck do you know what it tastes like?

These types of grocery-aisle, deer-in-the-headlights moments are what wine-subscription service Club W claims to solve.

By taking a quick quiz about your taste preferences, they curate a custom trio of wines that fit your flavor profile. You can choose bottles from these suggestions or pick your own.

Once you sign up and pay for your first box of wine, they send you three new bottles every month, unless you want to add more (a fourth bottle gets you free shipping and the fifth bottle gets you 10 percent off the entire order).

Sounds like a breeze, right? Just do a quiz, then Club W does the rest. But what are the prices like and how do they compare to the average bottle of wine? How do you know how good the wines are? What’s the actual wine delivery process like? How easy is it to opt out of their subscription service?

We were curious about each of these questions, so we tried out Club W for one month, taking advantage of a Memorial Day special in which we got 50% off our order.

As we work through this article, we’ll answer each of the questions we posed and give you our perspective on Club W.

What’s the Wine Delivery Process Like?

Club W notifies you by email when your wine has shipped, quoting a 3 to 7-day delivery time. Since the shipment contains alcohol, someone 21 years or older has to sign for delivery.

Our box came within the delivery window. We opened it to find four bottles of wine packaged neatly, along with four information cards to correspond to each bottle of wine we bought:

  • 2015 Sauvetage Rosé (France)
  • 2014 Pas Ordinaire Saint-Chinian blend (France)
  • 2015 WKND Sparkling Chenin Blanc (California)
  • 2014 Sapore Locale Nero D’Avola (Italy)

Each of these wines cost $13 a piece, the price at which you can buy most of the stuff on the site. There were a couple of wines above $30, but the majority were $13 and several were between $15 and $30. The majority of wines sold in the United States cost under $10, so $13 puts Club W’s wines in the mid-range price category.

We think that Club W does a great job of branding their wines. We enjoyed the information cards, which included:

  • The story behind the wine (where, how and who made it).
  • A flavor profile of the wine that takes into account body and flavors (earth, wood, fruit).
  • A recipe that goes well with the wine.

In our opinion, these information cards are a great resource for newcomers to wine who want a service that picks wines for them, educates them and integrates the wine with a fitting recipe.

How Do You Know How Good the Wines Are?

Because Club W is a wine service charging you a little more than you’d probably pay for other wines at the supermarket, it’s important to know if you’re getting wine that’s worth the few extra dollars.

And herein is the great mystery of Club W, for several reasons.

It’s Hard to Tell: Club W’s Wines Are Exclusive

The wines you get from Club W can’t be found anywhere else. A wine distributor named Winc runs Club W’s wine selection, and the wines they select are exclusively distributed through Club W. That’s great for the winemakers – there’s a constant stream of business from Club W’s customers.

But that’s not so great for you, and here’s why. The only way you can get reviews about Club W’s wines is through the Club W website because the wines aren’t sold anywhere else. You’re kind of stuck with the opinions of fellow customers of Club W and not the wine world in general – you remain in the Club W universe.

And, if you’re dazzled by the info cards and the cool labels Club W’s wines tend to have, you might just perceive the wine as tasting better than it actually is.

But the whole discussion about how a wine tastes and how good it is brings up another issue: the average person has a hard time distinguishing between good wine and bad wine.

Expensive Wine or Cheap Wine? Consumers Don’t Really Know

There have been many studies about the taste of wine, the most interesting of which have tried to show that how a wine tastes to us has little to do with how it actually tastes.

A 2011 article from The Atlantic covers a couple of these studies. Here’s an overview of what each study discovered, as well as a couple of other articles we found on the subject:

  • 2001, University of Bordeaux: 54 oenology students (people studying wine as a profession) drank a white wine and the same wine dyed red. They were asked to write down tasting notes. Very few students realized the red wine was actually a white wine.
  • 2008, Cal Tech University: Researchers asked wine experts to taste wines at five different price points ranging from $5 to $90. Turns out the experts liked the more expensive wines the most, even though the $90 and the $10 were the same wine. Pricing, the researchers concluded, is a huge influence in how we think a wine tastes.
  • 2013, Huffington Post: Staff members tried cheap and expensive bottles of red and white wine. Tasters had a hard time telling the difference between the two.
  • 2012, Forbes: Writer Katie Bell talked about cheap and expensive wines, and pointed out that the wife of a notorious wine snob had her husband and his pals taste a bottle of wine that contained leftovers of unfinished wine from previous tastings. They couldn’t tell the difference, she said.

How Does This Relate to Club W?

So what does all this mean for us, the average people who want a fun wine experience through Club W? We probably won’t be able to tell how good the wine is, and since the wines are exclusive to Winc, there’s no way of knowing how good they really are because no other websites have reviews of the wine.

Also, there’s no way of knowing if we’re overpaying or underpaying for the wine since there’s no way to compare the price of the wine.

And on top of that, our perception of a wine’s taste and quality has a lot to do with price and packaging. So, there’s a good chance, as we mentioned before, that we’ll think the wine is great because it’s a bit more expensive and it comes with interesting information cards.

Our opinion? There’s no way of knowing how good the wines are, as perceptions of taste are influenced by a lot more than the wine. Are you getting a great deal on interesting wines you can’t get anywhere else, or are you overpaying for average wines dressed up with good marketing? It’s really tough for us to say.

How Easy Is It to Opt Out of Club W’s Auto-Shipments?

At HighYa, we get pretty worked up when someone mentions auto-ship programs because they’re a tactic that shady companies use to trick you into paying tons of money for shipments you never knew you were getting.

Fortunately, Club W isn’t one of those companies. They’re up-front about the fact that they’ll auto-ship more product each month after you sign up, whereas many auto-ship companies bury that fact deep in their terms and conditions.

Cancelling Your Account Can Only Be Done Over the Phone

We wanted to know how easy it was to cancel, so we called the Club W number. Turns out their representatives are very pleasant and cancelling takes all of 30 seconds. There were no hidden fees or lingering charges on our credit card.

Also, we liked that Club W lets you skip a month of shipments simply by logging into your Club W account and one-clicking a skip button.

What Happens if You Don’t Like the Wine You Get?

Club W’s website says they’ll refund you the cost of the bottle of wine you didn’t like; it’s part of their satisfaction guarantee.

We talked with one of Club W’s “Concierge” representatives, who told us that they’ll give you a credit for up to two bottles of wine in your shipment. After four requests for a credit, you’ll be transferred to one of Club W’s sommeliers, who will talk with you about your taste profile and try and help you find what you’re looking for.

Club W’s refund policy is a bit different. Let’s say you forgot to cancel or pause your membership, and you didn’t see the shipping notice Club W sends out 48 hours before your wine ships. If the shipment is already out and you want to return it, you’ll pay a $20 restocking fee.

Our advice is to keep in mind that wine you get through a subscription service is always a gamble. You never know if a bottle will meet your expectations, whether it fits your flavor profile or not. And keep an eye on your shipment notices. If your new batch of wine is sent out and you don’t want it, you’ll pay a pretty steep price.

Club W Reviews: What are Other People Saying

This is the second review we’ve done on Club W, mainly because the company has changed a lot over the past few years and we felt we needed to update what we previously wrote about the company.

That being said, 40 HighYa reviewers gave Club W an average review of 2.2 stars, with people complaining about customer service and the quality of the wines. The 11 most recent reviews date back to Nov. 2015. Six of those reviews are one or two stars, while five of them are four or five stars.

More than 800 reviewers on specialty food and beverage review site Influenster gave Club W an overall rating of 4 out of 5 stars, with customers praising the quality of the wines and the label designs.

Readers on product-review site Revuezzle gave the service a 2.2 out of 10, giving Club W low marks for wine quality and customer service.

A 2015 article by foodie website Eater said, when compared to other wine-subscription services, Club W was a “solid choice at a pretty decent price.”

Last Call: Our Conclusions About Club W

The Club W experience is pretty fluid and simple. Do a quick survey about your taste profile, see some recommended wines and sign up for your membership.

The delivery process is painless and the wine shipment includes great information about where the wine came from, how it was made and how it tastes. The recipe on the back of the card is a nice perk, too.

But when it comes to knowing if the wine is worth the money you’re spending on it, it’s really hard to tell. Studies show that our perception of how a wine tastes is influenced by price, packaging and other factors.

We suggest you keep an open mind if you join Club W. Realize that you might receive wines you don’t like. However, each wine you do receive comes with a unique story and the opportunity to try a wine that, most likely, none of your friends or family have ever tried before.

If you’re an adventurous wine drinker and you want a way to try unique wines from all around the world, Club W is probably a great fit.

If you like to stick with your favorites and are skeptical of wines outside what you’d normally drink, Club W may not be a good choice for you.

Overall, though, we think Club W is one of the more reliable and enjoyable subscription/auto-ship services we’ve seen. Their wine shipments are a great idea for gifts and provide you a chance to taste interesting wines you may not normally have thought about trying.

If you aren’t sold on the idea of Club W’s service, Firstleaf, Bright Cellars and Tasting Room are similar companies offering monthly shipments of wine.

Read 57 Club W Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Customer Rating: 2.2
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 10 4 star: 5 3 star: 2 2 star: 7 1 star:  33
Bottom Line: 28% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 57
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  • Think twice

    • By Pedro P.,
    • Palm Springs, CA,
    • Feb 7, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    It is very disappointing that this business operates under very dishonest grounds. I was given a code to use their service for the first month. Before the next box was delivered, I sent them an email to cancel my subscription since they don't let their customers cancel on their own. First, they told me they couldn't cancel my next delivery because the package was "already en-route to the first FedEx hub." Then, I was actually told, by the same person through email, that the package "has not left the warehouse." Which means they lie in order to charge me for the next box. The representative just offered me to refuse the wine and still pay a fee or take the wine and get a small discount towards my third box.

    After reading their entire Terms & Conditions Agreement, it said nothing about this kind of cancellation policy where you cannot cancel your account or an order even though they still have it in their warehouse and they have not provided the customer with ANY shipping information (because it was inexistent and they still had the wine in their facility). I asked the representative to refer me to the section of their user agreement indicating their cancellation policy and, of course, he wasn't able to provide any legal reference to this.

    They only canceled my account but didn't cancel the second order. They couldn't even provide me with a package or shipping number, because the wine was still in their facilities waiting to be shipped days later.

    After reading other experiences and reviews from their customers, this is something they do VERY often. Many others have experienced this same situation where they are left with no other option but to pay $100+ for a service they don't even want anymore.

    On the other hand, the quality of their wines does not reflect their inflated price tag. I DO NOT RECOMMEND!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Warning

    • By Veronica,
    • Boston, MA,
    • Jan 26, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I don't usually write reviews, but I have to say, this has been one of the worst experiences I've had.

    I used Club W/Winc and the last bottle they sent me broke as I was opening it, cutting my thump. I had to go to the doctor given the severity of what happened and when I told Winc, they did not give me a refund, or covered my expenses. Instead, they asked me to sent them back the bottles I had (paying for shipping myself), and they would refund what they received.

    I do believe this is an awful service with cheap and dangerous wine bottles that are not worth the risk. I would not recommend this to anyone.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Terrible customer service, not a professional company

    • By Ian Epstein,
    • Long Island, NY,
    • Jan 6, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I received a $100 gift certificate for the holidays. After receiving my first order (which I was excited for), I realized one of the bottles was the same brand but different wine. I ordered the Cabernet and they sent me a Chardonnay. Not a big deal, so I contacted customer service two times and got no response.

    So I called customer service and was able to reach a man who was very unfriendly. He told me that he would give me a credit for the bottle. I asked him if he would just send me the correct bottle and he got very nasty with me. He said the money is in your account and hung the phone up on me. I went on to my account and did not see the credit. When I refreshed the page, my whole account with all my information and my order was deleted. Are you kidding me?!

    The worst customer service I have ever received!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • I love Club W

    • By Sue Smyrock,
    • Maryland,
    • Jul 23, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I've been getting Wine delivered from Club W, now Winc for over 3 years. I am very happy with the service and with the wine. I order a lot of wine and I've only ever had 1 wine that I didn't like.

    They start off with a questionnaire and then recommend 3 or 4 wines a month, depending on your answers. You can choose to taste those wines or you can switch them out for wines you like.

    The delivery is free as long as you get 4 bottles of wine. I usually get 12 bottles and get the case discount.

    I like that I'm able to skip months when need to and it's not a hassle. You can do it right on the site.

    I plan on being a member as long as they're around.

    Good quality, reasonably priced wine delivered for free to my door step. You can't go wrong.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

  • Outraged!

    • By Ashley Adams,
    • California,
    • Jun 1, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Terrible company! I got one shipment and the wine was not good, so I decided to cancel. Well, they have no place on the site to cancel, so I spoke to a representative on chat and they said my account was canceled. The next billing cycle I am charged $53.00! I contact customer service immediately; I had not received a shipping notification yet just saw it on my bank app. They said there was nothing I could do.

    They REFUSED to refund me for an order they sent without permission after my account should have been closed then told me if I refused the order there was a $20 restocking fee. If I sent it back, the shipping would be on me as well, and a restocking fee may still apply.

    I'm OUTRAGED. They make it impossible to cancel their subpar service. Also, you cannot choose when the wine is delivered, so it took me over a week to get my shipment after the first delivery attempt.

    DONT let this company run with your wallet!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • False advertising and misleading customer service.

    • By Michelle,
    • California,
    • Apr 27, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    False advertising. Customers CANNOT control the day/time of their delivery.

    As per their article here: https://support.winc.com/hc/en-us/articles/223279247-Who-can-accept-a-shipment-from-Winc-.

    "Further customize your delivery details (including scheduling a delivery date/time or delivering to another address*), you can sign up for FedEx's Delivery Manager to make those arrangements."

    This is NOT true, which means that if you cannot sign for the package the first time, you will either have to make yourself available at four-hour intervals or add another errand to your day by going to you local FedEx, line up, sign and pick up the package there.

    Awful customer service. I spent time arguing with them to then have them tell me that their website and support teams have been wrong and they were misleading customers.

    Too bad. It's good wine at good prices.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Winc

    • By Abbey,
    • Philadelphia, PA,
    • Jan 18, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Awful! Do not sign up for Winc Wine Club. The wine is terrible and overpriced, it really is a scam, do not get fooled like I did!

    Also, once you put your credit card info on there, they keep charging you, and the website is purposely hard to navigate so that you cannot unjoin the club or remove your credit card information.

    This is a real person warning you about this site. I wish somebody had done the same for me.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Winc Promotion is a Trap

    If you got any promotional mail or email from Winc, please go through completely because it is a trap. First, they will give you a promotion for $25 or so, but send you wine that's not even worth $5.

    And then the next month they will automatically charge your account $50 for 3 more bottles. And you cannot cancel this order. If you want to return the order, you need to pay $20 to send it back.

    So if you want to avoid this, then AVOID WINC!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

  • Quality is Okay

    • By Scotty,
    • Mountain View, CA,
    • Dec 16, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    I recently joined the Club W (now rebranded as Winc), got my 3 bottles of wine during new customer promotion, signed up for 3 free bottles, you pay tax and 9 dollars of shipping, cost me around 11.89 for three bottles, not bad at all.

    I bring those wines to my family members who own a well-known vineyard and wine making company up in Napa and ask them to taste the wine without seeing the bottle (I pour the wine instead of them holding and checking out the bottle), the results are...

    2015 Chenin Blanc Vinyasa - 3 stars

    2015 Wayward Wine Co. Clarksburg Chardonnay - 3 stars

    2015 Albarino Ye`Ye` Vino de Espana - 2 stars

    After the conclusions from all 23 members of family and friends, all three wines are rated below average with the price tag. Those wines actually cost 13 dollars per bottle without tax, but they taste similar to a 4-dollar bottle wine, 2015 Barefoot white wine, sold at Safeway.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Shady Business Practices - Scam Alert

    • By Andrew,
    • Atlanta, GA,
    • Oct 24, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    Whatever you do, DO NOT sign up for this company's monthly wine subscription. If you don't login to your account each month to check your "box" - where they automatically add wines to be shipped to you every month - or if you forget to skip a month's shipment, you will automatically be shipped wines you don't want and be stuck with the bill.

    Then when you call customer service to initiate a return, they won't provide you a return label unless the order was for six or more bottles of wine. And then they will charge you a $20 restocking fee - for wines you DIDN'T want, AND that you had to pay out of pocket to ship back!

    Each time I have had to send a return to them, they DID NOT automatically process my refund. I had to call and demand that it be processed - almost a month later to the day in the most recent incident!

    So let's review - you'll be sent wine you don't want, forced to pay return shipping, and then charged a restocking fee, AND you will wait an indefinite amount of time to see ONLY A PORTION of your money back. In other words, you will pay 50% of what they originally billed you just to return wine you didn't want! So basically they steal from their customers when you are ALREADY unhappy with their service.

    Absolute garbage. Horrible customer service policies. I canceled my account and will never go back.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • What a scam

    • By fiona,
    • California,
    • Oct 15, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    Disclaimer: I'm a snob, a little. I live next door to Sonoma and my local grocery is a Whole Foods so I get to drink nice wine.

    But honestly, all of the Club W wines taste the same. And they're not great. Not bad, but not good by any means.

    The really bad marks, however, are for their customer service. Total scam. They say you can cancel by phone or by live chat. None of the live chat links on their site work. Their support articles also cite "live chat buttons" — which do not exist. The phone is not an option for hearing impaired customers.

    When you submit a support ticket, you get no confirmation that it was submitted successfully.

    Great job, asshats. Still waiting for them to return my money since they sure can't give me the time I've wasted back.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Showing 1-11 of 57

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