(This article originally appeared in the July 9, 2004 issue of Dan's Papers)
The Club Scene
LI Is Home To Golf Clubs, Country Clubs, Nightclubs. What’s New? Wine Clubs.
By Lenn Thompson
The Reserve Club. Club North Fork. The Wine Circle. No matter the name, the hottest thing in Long Island wine this summer isn’t even wine – it’s wine clubs. What exactly is a wine club and what’s in it for you? If you’re a Long Island wine lover, there’s a magnum full of reasons to join one at your favorite winery.
Specific benefits and perks vary from winery to winery, but at the heart of every club is wine (typically two or three bottles) shipped directly to your home either monthly, quarterly or seasonally. Membership is free for most wine clubs, so you just pay for the wine at a discount (anywhere from 10-20 percent) plus any shipping costs. You get your favorite vino shipped to you at a discount – not a bad deal already, right?
None of the wineries stop there, though. Often, the wines you receive aren’t the “everyday” wines that just anybody can buy either at the winery or in their local wine shop. As a member, you usually get first crack at new releases and exclusive access to winemaker “library selections” – older vintages that Joe Wine Drinker just can’t buy off the street. Heard that your favorite winery is bottling a new Merlot? Join their wine club, and you’ll get it before anyone else does. Does it get any better than that?
Well, yes. Long Island winemakers are truly thankful for the support they receive from wine lovers, and club members really reap the benefits. Many vineyards host free (or affordable) members-only events, such as barrel tasting tours, wine dinners featuring the cuisine of top Long Island chefs, and wine appreciation classes where you get to meet the winemaker.
Put it all together – the discounted wine, the members-only events, the exclusive access to special wines – and there’s really no downside. You really become a part of the winery when you join. You’ll start to feel very “at home” in the tasting rooms. You’ll get to know the people pouring and making your favorite wines. And they’ll get to know you.
Is there any better wine experience than tasting terrific new wines (at a discount) made and poured by someone you’ve come to know? Ask about the wine club the next time you’re out east tasting, and become a part of the Long Island wine family.