“National Give a Wine Club Day” has to be one of the silliest shopping events near the holidays, but of course the CT Wine Trail supports it! This year, #GiveAWineClubDay (GWCD) falls on Friday, December 15, 2017. Don’t miss it!
National GWCD celebrates gifting wine clubs over all else to those 21+ to support agriculture and the art of winemaking. We ensure that gifting a wine club membership is something that will be cherished by the wine-lover in your life for several months or an entire year. It gives the recipient flexibility to try new wines, order their favorites, or get limited vintages before the general public.
Wine Clubs are often customizable via different tiers – you pick the type of club/wines included, the number of bottles, shipping preferences and frequency, and more to create the perfect gift. There is a type of wine club for every palate and budget.
Wineries offering wine clubs often keep in touch with their members via newsletters and sometimes offer exclusive member-only tastings and events throughout the year.
Now, let’s explore some great Wine Club offerings at Connecticut wineries:
Jonathan Edwards Winery
Jonathan Edwards Winery in North Stonington offers two wine clubs, one of which I have been a member of for 2016-17. On their website, Jonathan Edwards refers to members as Loyalty Royalty, and the benefits that come with the clubs get you royal treatment! The benefit for me of JE’s wine clubs is that you pay nothing up front for the membership. This makes it harder to gift, but it spreads out the payments quarterly with each shipment of wine (you can also pick up the wines at the vineyard). The bottles range in price, but all receive a 10% discount (plus tax and shipping if applicable); each quarter can be anywhere between $75-$110 for the wines. It is automatically charged to your card, which encourages you to pick them up in a timely manner!
Here’s the best part – the membership also includes unlimited free tastings or a glass for you and two non-member friends. You could go to the vineyard every day they’re open (excluding winery events) and have a free glass of wine. You also get 20% off any bottles you purchase outside of the club wines – any vintage, any varietal, any quantity, any time.
Each year, the winery hosts Member-Only Pick Up events, where you can catch Jon pouring, grilling, or tasting straight from the barrel. This summer, members were even invited to RSVP for two free tickets to one of the summer concerts as an added bonus! That’s why it’s important to open your member emails. I love getting JE’s newsletters, as they do offer great events year-round, including Dark & Decadent for their Port-style wine limited release, and wellness events that collaborate with other local businesses.
Now let’s explore the two types of clubs JE offers:
- Grape Nuts is the club my husband and I joined. It provides 3 bottles, a mix of white and red wines, per season (in January, April, July and October). Every “shipment” comes in a 3-bottle carrying case with a sheet that describes the wine (tasting notes), provides a perfect pairing recipe appropriate for the season, and a letter from the winemaker.
- JEd’s Reds includes two shipments of six bottles of red wines per year in May and November. This club costs between $160-190 twice per year, and receives the same newsletters with winemaker’s notes, food pairing ideas and aging recommendations.
Depending on when you join either of JE’s wine clubs, you can choose to take the first season’s shipment with you that day so you have a physical gift to give the recipient. They have a great rack-card that describes each club, and that their wine club makes the saying “cheaper by the dozen” true.
Jonathan Edwards also offers case and half-case discounts and complimentary tastings for non-club members. All information about their clubs and discount programs is on their website. Join online or call 860-535-0202.
For the holidays, don’t forget that JE has a great gift shop with winery attire, great snacks to pair with your wine, and other wine accessories.
Priam Vineyards in Colchester offers three levels for their wine club. The membership has no fee up front, but is a year commitment. The wines are pre-selected and the vineyard follows the seasons with their selections. Members will get an email notification and their automatic payment will be processed seasonally in March, June, September, and December. Priam has quarterly events these months where members can pick up their bottles, do a tasting, and talk with the winemaker. Their three club levels are:
- Prince Hector includes one case (12 bottles) of Priam wine per year, with 3 pre-selected bottles per quarter. As a Prince Hector club member, you get 10% off any wine purchase all year (bottles or glasses), a complimentary tasting for two every month (12 complimentary tastings for you and a guest per year), and two complimentary Priam concert tickets for their summer concert series.
- Queen Hecuba includes two cases (24 bottles) of Priam wine per year. Members get a 6 bottle mix per quarter. At this level, the discount on all wine purchases increases to 15%. Other benefits remain the same with a monthly free tasting for two, and two tickets to a summer concert.
- King Priam is for… wait for it… four cases of wine per year! This is the biggest wine club option along the CT Wine Trail. You get a great deal at 20% off the 48 pre-selected bottles of Priam wine, and any other wine purchases you make that year. At the King level, complimentary tastings increase to four per month, and members get two season passes for the Priam summer concert series.
More information about shipping costs is available on their website.
Preston Ridge Vineyard
Preston Ridge Vineyard in Preston has a Case Club; you become a member by buying any case of wine (except when special promotions are running). Their club year restarts every November 1. When you buy a case at Preston Ridge (PRV) anytime after November 1, you have access to the Club benefits until October 31 of the next year. Members are automatically eligible for the following: 10% off any purchases at PRV between the case purchase and October 31, a free glass of wine at the vineyard (limit one per member per day), exclusive previews of PRV’s new releases, and ability to earn points on purchases throughout the season. The points allow members to become eligible to receive gift cards or discounted/free tickets to select events, including their exclusive, Case Club member-only year-end harvest party.
Hopkins Vineyard in Warren has three levels of membership for their Highland Wine Club that is based on case purchases:
- Bronze Level provides a 10% discount on your first case purchase (any 12 bottles).
- Silver Level is a 15% discount on your second case purchase. It also includes special discounts at Hopkins annual wine festivals, an exclusive invitation to their Winemaker Social event, and four free wine tastings per year.
- The Gold Level membership is for a third case purchase within one year. With this you receive a 20% discount, two free admissions to Hopkins annual wine festivals, an exclusive invitation to their Winemaker Social event, plus your wine tasting fee is waived for the cardholder and one guest per visit.
Of course, you must maintain 1-3 case purchases per year to continue qualifying for each level of membership. You can buy cases separately and build your level membership with increasing levels of discounts, or buy all three cases at once for a 20% total discount!
Gouveia Vineyards in Wallingford offers a wine club that easily makes a great gift. There are three tiers of membership that include a different number of months, 3, 6 or 12. Each program entitles members to two bottles per month of their choice from the selection of Gouveia Vineyards wines, which comes out to about $23.50/bottle.
The Bronze Membership for $140 (plus tax) includes two bottles in January, May and September.
Silver Membership for $280 (plus tax) gets you a whole case, divided between two bottles in January, March, May, July, September, and November. The Gold Membership for $560 (plus tax) includes two bottles per month January through December, rounding out the year with two cases of Gouveia Vineyards wines.
Members may stop in anytime during the months included in the membership to pick up their two bottles of wine, or stay and enjoy them at the vineyard. Membership also includes other benefits, such as a free wine tasting for you and up to three guests, a 15% discount on all additional cases (can be mixed cases) when taking wine to go, a 10% discount on gift items, including gift baskets perfect for the holidays. To enroll in the wine club, email Gouveia from their website or call 203-265-5526.
Haight-Brown Vineyards in Litchfield has an annual wine club that includes four 6-bottle shipments with tasting notes. Being a member of the club gets you 15% off all in-store purchases as well as free admission for the member and one guest to a Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate Pairing Class and a Patio Tasting.
Jones Winery in Shelton offers a ‘Friends of the Winery Program’ for any guest that provides their name and contact information. There is no charge for the program. When a guest accumulates $250 spent on anything in the Winery/Gift Shop, they receive a discount on their next purchase on bottles of wine only.
Paradise Hills Vineyard & Winery
Paradise Hills Vineyard & Winery in Wallingford is working on a wine club, but in the meantime have gift cards available in any denomination. Stay tuned for more information about their wine club!
Not all Wine Clubs and Connecticut wineries can legally ship to every state, so look that up in advance.
Miss National Give a Wine Club Day? Don’t worry – you can give a wine club membership any time!