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, as we’ve pointed out in a past article about “confirmation bias”, 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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  • 6 out 11 people found this review helpful

    Best Wine Club EVER. Hands Down.

    • Los Angeles, CA,
    • Jun 19, 2015

    Super surprised by the low reviews on this site. Have you actually experienced the awesome-ness that is Club W?

    1. Personalized wine – I take a short, quick quiz on the different tastes I like - spicy food, mushrooms, and berries and then they match me with wine that has similar flavors. AMAZING. I was recommended some awesome bottles.​
    2. Choice – I was able to go with my recommendations or choose bottles I wanted. I watched the videos that went with the wines I thought would be tasty, and got a sense for whether I would like them or not. You can order as many as you want & any order over six bottles has free shipping... WIN!
    3. Quick, convenient delivery – I got the wine in two days. three bottles for $39 delivered to my office in a sleek, light-weight box with a handle for easy carrying! The wines came with awesome recipe cards and tasting notes!
    4. Not a scam – Before my next order, they sent me an email reminding me to go select my wines before my next shipment. Super helpful. I chose a couple new bottles (my new recommendations!) and got them a few days later.

    This is the best wine club out there. These wines are actually a huge steal, Napa Cab for $13? Yes, please.

    I totally recommend Club W to all my friends.

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

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  • 5 out 6 people found this review helpful

    I think they're great.

    • New York, NY,
    • Jul 17, 2015
    • Verified Reviewer

    I find the list of negative reviews below to be very odd - my experience with Club W has been nothing but positive. When signing up, it was very clear that there was a monthly commitment that can be canceled with an easy phone call (although I'm aware of a current "trend" that actually talking to someone on the phone is seen as a horrible thing). I've tried 30 bottles in the last three months. Most of them were excellent and interesting; the worst was no worse than pretty good. Living in an apartment building, we have a doorman who can accept delivery, which is very easy. So for me, the experience is fun, new, and fulfilling. I have no negative comments.

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

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  • 2 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Love this company

    • Oct 31, 2015

    I'm a very satisfied member but want to share a cancellation story. My father was a satisfied Club W member but recently needed to cancel his subscription due to an illness - extended stage lung cancer. When he called to cancel the Club W rep. did inquire why and he was forthright with her. She processed the cancelation flawlessly and wished him thoughts and prayers. He later received a personal card from the Club W. rep he had never met wishing him the best in his fight against cancer. It’s the little things that matter - unfortunately this thoughtfulness can be a rarity in our business culture today.

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

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    It's a monthly pick-me-up

    • Norwalk, CT,
    • Nov 26, 2015

    I like this service. It's easy to put a shipment on hold (I'm a single woman and am rollin' in wine at the moment), the customer service people have been nice, and it's kind of neat to get 3 bottles of wine at my door each month for a reasonable price.

    I'm impressed with the videos they make describing the wines, the recipe cards and descriptions that come with each shipment. It's very well thought-out.

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

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Buy Smart

    • Eau Claire WI,
    • Jan 21, 2016

    Club W was recommended by a friend. For a year I've been a satisfied customer. Yes, the wines vary in appeal, especially initially; that's cause to intelligently rate your bottles as you uncork them. In doing so you will draw more wines that appeal to your tastes into your prospect lists. For a bottle that severely disappoints, Club W honors its promise to fully refund the purchase price. I've had a few such bottles, and a quick, easy phone call is all it takes to get the disappointing bottle's price credited to my account for a future purchase. Not every wines is 5-Star, but take care to note the ones that aren't and you soon will be amiably sampling wines you can enjoy from around the world.

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

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Good product and customer service

    • Wisconsin,
    • Feb 19, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was quite pleased with my wine, and when I wanted to cancel, it was a 30 second phone call, with no hassle. The customer service representative was super friendly, and in a world of sub par customer service, it was enough to make me want to actually review something for once. I would recommend this service to anyone. I will probably re subscribe in a few months, and have wine shipped to family for birthdays.

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

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Great Choice

    I started with a Groupon Coupon at a great price for 15 bottles of wine. Yes, it was a deal but I did not care for all the wines received. From there I looked for a wine club and settled on Club W. Yes, I am paying more for 4 bottles of wine and free shipping. However, I have enjoyed the wines recommended as a result of the survey I took when I joined. There are ways to save which is nice, but for me it is more about enjoying a wine at a reasonable price. I am sorry though that a wine that I did enjoy was no longer available. However, it forced me to try another new one that I liked even better.

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

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  • 3 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Excellent wine adventure

    • New York,
    • Jul 4, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have been a Club W member for almost a year, and have so far enjoyed the experience immensely. It's like Christmas each month, when my delivery arrives.

    Although I have been a wine drinker for many years, my palate and discernment of what works for me has grown exponentially since joining Club W. Therein lies the real value of Club W.

    As a result, within a few short months I decided to become a premier member so as to benefit from even deeper discounts and added benefits. This has reduced my per-bottle price. I usually select one or two of their specific recommendations for me, and I include one or two from the other wines listed, increasing my level of experimentation and surprise. So far, it has been way more "hit" than "miss". I had a couple of bottles that I did not like, but overall, the quality of their wines has been above average, as compared with prior wines I have experienced in that same price range or even higher priced in some instances.

    That said, there are a couple of things that I would strongly suggest the company do to improve the Club W experience. First, the wines that are offered are limited in quantity and time period, so if you fall in love with a particular wine, there's a good chance it might not be available any longer once you decide to reorder it. This has happened to me several times. Secondly, I would like to see more variety in their overall selection options.

    Club W's value is in helping the wine enthusiast hone and deepen their personal taste preferences without the hit-or-miss aspect of local wine stores and wine store salespeople's recommendations. At least I know that the vast majority of wines I receive will be of very good quality, and that, should I object to a particular wine, they will take care of me with an account credit. I don't know of any wine store that does that. Yes, I can opt to try wines reviewed in wine magazines, but it has been fun receiving my regular shipments and varieties.

    Skipping shipments has not been a problem whatsoever either. I have even been provided with a free Club W sommelier phone consultation to ask any wine questions I had, It was very educational, informative and pleasant.

    I take a little bit of issue with Highya's review comments that suggests the wine labels and pricing are what influence one's opinions. While that may be initially true, the ongoing process of sampling a wide variety of wines over time, soon develops into a discernment of what a good wine should taste like, regardless of price and labeling. That has been the case with my own experience. My husband and I have both become more adept at identifying the nuances of what makes a wine taste good, at least for us! We will eventually expand to other wine sources to broaden our choices, but so far so good.

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

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  • 3 out 4 people found this review helpful

    It's not rocket science folks – It's WINE.

    • Phoenix, AZ,
    • Jul 26, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    This is CLEARLY a monthly wine subscription. I've been a member for years with only minor complaints. The wines I receive are great. My wife really enjoys the whites, and I like the reds, especially the Malbecs from Argentina and ANYTHING they send from Spain has been terrific. I've gotten some bad wines, but I expect some good and some bad from an adventurous wine club.

    My mother LIVES in Napa so I know and drink great wine all day long. If you want snob wine, this is not for you. If you want a fun experience with above average (and some great) wines... give them a try.

    I had one issue where the wine arrived very warm (in Phoenix) and had to send the wine back. That problem has been fixed.

    I don't know if it's hard to cancel as I don't plan to! But all my interactions with customer service have been pleasant and they fixed anything I needed with a smile.

    Overall Club W is something I plan on staying with for a long time and I recommend it to people all the time.

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

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  • I love Club W

    • 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

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  • 10 out 11 people found this review helpful

    Definitely not a scam.

    • Columbus, OH,
    • Jul 18, 2015

    I thought it was very clearly written that it was a monthly wine service. Not sure why so many people are saying it was a scam. I mean at worst, you got some more wine.

    I just upped my order from 3 to 6 bottles for next month. All were good wine, and it’s great for a novice wine drinker. They give you descriptions of the taste which is something I love. I hated going into a grocery store and having no idea what I was getting into. Or worse yet, someone asking me what the wine was like and I bought it blind. For each wine they have videos, food pairings, and recipes.

    It’s a pretty cool site and definitely not a scam.

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

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