Gold Medal Wine Club Review – Is this Wine Subscription Service for You?

Gold Medal Wine Club is a monthly wine club that offers monthly shipments of wine to its subscribers. The wineries that are featured are never mass-produced, close-out wines, private labels, or bulk produced. You will notice that the wines come from small batches and wineries that are often family-owned. The wines that you receive will come from different regions, both international and domestic. With that being said, there are more wines from California than in other regions.

The wines that you get are going to be high quality as they are all award-winning or have special ratings from wine publications. There are no wines that you will receive that are not high in quality. There are several different wine club memberships that you will be able to choose from and with each one, you receive either two or four bottles of wine. Gold Medal Wine Club allows you to choose from options that include all white wines, all red wines, or a combination of the two. When you choose the four bottle per month option, you will find that you actually save an additional 10%.

There are different membership tiers that are available as well. If you are choosing a higher tier membership, you will get wines from the most luxurious brands. Some of the levels even feature champagne and sparkling wines, so if you are a fan of the bubbly you should check to ensure that your tier includes that.

The Gold Medal Wine Club Plus Program

One of the favorite benefits to the Gold Medal Wine Club is the Plus Program. This program is an add-on that allows you to receive an additional bottle of wine. The wine that is chosen for this is different from the other wines that you receive. This is a wine that is charged additionally on a month to month basis. It is a highly rated wine that has a smaller production. It is a wine that there simply does not have a large enough supply to give to everyone who is a part of the club.

Where Do the Wines Come From?

One of the things that we love about the Gold Medal Wine Club is that it features wines that are both from the United States and international. All of the wines come from small wineries that are often referred to as boutique wineries. The shipments actually include tasting notes which are not really as detailed as other clubs that I have tried, but the notes do have enough details that you will know how to pair the wines. Sometimes they even include a recipe.

Overall Quality of Wine

The thing that I was most disappointed with when it came to Gold Medal Wine Club was the overall quality of the wine. Each wine that I received is supposed to be high end, but the ones that I received did not seem as high end as what I would have liked. I felt like most of the bottles were discount grocery store quality. Given I only tried the Gold Series Club membership, the other memberships have higher quality wines, but I can not personally speak for them.

To be more specific, the white wines that I tried were really good. They were of higher quality than the reds. The reds that I received just tasted cheap and are not as good as what I expected from a club that “guarantees” high-quality wines. There was one bottle of red wine that I was unable to finish as it was not enjoyable at all. I rarely ever throw away wine, but this bottle was one that I did not enjoy enough to continue to choke down.

Membership Levels

There are actually six different clubs and membership options that are available with the Gold Medal Wine Club. Here are the notes and information about each of them.

Gold Series Club – The Gold Series Club is the basic level and the most popular subscription. It features small wineries that are family-owned and located in California. There are two wines included in this subscription each month.

Platinum Series Club – The Platinum Series Club is the next level up. This membership includes the collectable and rare wines that are made by the top wine producers in the state of California. These wines each have a wine rating of at least 90 points or higher. It includes wines that you cannot get elsewhere and even some pre-releases that are specific to membership.

Garagiste Series Wine Club – This is a wine club that features wines that are small lots, handcrafted, and have been made by winemakers considered to be independent artisans. The wines that are featured in this club are typically wines that there are 1,500 or fewer total bottles of. There are wines from California, Oregon, and Washington although most are from California. This wine club mainly features red wines.

Pinot Noir Series Club – If you love a good Pinot Noir, this is the best option for you. This wine club features top-quality Pinot Noirs that you are not able to get anywhere else. Many of the bottles are limited editions and they have all earned very high ratings. There are Pinot Noirs from international wineries and those from California included.

International Series Club – The International Series Club offers a great option for exploring unique bottles of international wine. There are imported wines from wineries throughout the world. You will not be able to find these wines anywhere else which is another reason that you might want to try this option. The wines that are included are two bottles of red and one bottle of white each month and there are sure to be special bottles included regularly.

Diamond Series Wine Club – The Diamond Series Wine Club is the exclusive wine club that features the best and most exclusive wines. There are wines that are both high in quality and those that are unique and rare. The club only allows for there to be five hundred members at a time, so you will likely have to be on a waiting list for a while.

Choosing the right wine club is something that you should be able to handle by considering your personal needs and determining which club fits those needs best.

Gold Medal Wine Club Price

Gold Medal Wine Club is pretty much the same price as other wine clubs. The price is good for the wines that you receive. There are wine clubs that require you to have quarterly payments and some that you are able to choose a monthly payment. You can also choose whether you receive wines monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly. Depending on the club that you chose the price is different.

  • Gold Series Wine Club — $39 +
  • Platinum Series Wine Club — $89 +
  • Garagiste Series Wine Club — $75 +
  • Pinot Noir Series Wine Club — $74 +
  • International Series Wine Club — $75 +
  • Diamond Series Wine Club — $179 +

So, essentially there is a wine club available for every budget.

Gold Medal Wine Club Pros

  • Gold Medal Wine Club appeals to those wine drinkers who appreciate small-batch wines.
  • There are international club options if you do not want primarily California wines.
  • There is month to month, bi-monthly, and quarterly options for payment.
  • There are prepayment options available for between one and twelve months.
  • There is a pay as you go option available which many wine clubs do not offer.
  • There are options for customization.
  • You can receive newsletters, magazines, and other options for discounts when reordering specific bottles at all club levels.
  • There are some options where you do not have to complete a contract and can get wines on a month to month basis.

Gold Medal Wine Club Cons

  • Gold Medal Wine Club does not ship to Alabama.
  • Gold Medal Wine Club does not ship to Utah.
  • There might be additional states where the wine club does not ship, but I am unable to find that information when looking on the website.
  • There are membership fees, contracts, and commitments, so if you are unhappy you might be required to finish your contract term.
  • The majority of the wines are from California.
  • The taste and quality of the wines are not as good as other wine clubs that I have tried.

Alternative Options

If you do not think that the Gold Medal Wine Club is for you, here are some of the other clubs that we would recommend.

Winc – A Modern Wine Club

Winc is considered to be the most modern wine club that you will be able to find. It is often noted as the preferred wine club of Millennials.

Pros

  • Each month you get a box of wine that costs $13 + per bottle.
  • Each bottle is personalized to your tastes and wants.
  • There are options of red, white, vegan, rose, and sparkling.
  • A comprehensive Palate Profile ensures that you receive wines that you will enjoy.
  • The Palate Profile is updated when you share what you liked/didn’t like about the wines you receive.
  • It helps newbies to find wines that they enjoy.
  • It helps seasoned wine drinkers to find wines that they might not have known about.

Cons

  • Some wines cost as much as $45 per bottle.

Firstleaf

Firstleaf offers you a 100% money backed guarantee that you will love the wines that they send to you. Their confidence lends to the overall experience that you have and makes it a great wine club for both novices and experts alike.

Pros

  • Firstleaf is one of the most affordable wine clubs that you can find today.
  • You will be able to discover what you like and do not like it when it comes to wine.
  • There are six bottles included in the subscription.
  • Wines are both domestic and international.
  • Firstleaf is an easy to manoeuvre wine club that makes getting the options that you want easy.
  • Bottles are less than $15 each.
  • They offer a good selection of wines that are interesting.
  • The information about each wine is clearly identified so you know the body, sweetness, tannin levels, acidity, and fruitiness of each bottle before you open it.
  • Review wines to ensure that you do not get wines that you do not like in future shipments.
  • Firstleaf offers a way to swap out wines so you can avoid the ones that you are not pleased with.

Cons

  • Overall quality is not what you would expect from marketing materials. (Basically, the product does not live up to the hype.)
  • There is a shipping fee of $9.95 regardless of how expensive your shipment is.
  • Not available in all states.

Martha Stewart Wines

Martha Stewart is a known culinary name who has built an empire while curating her brand. As with all of her ventures, Martha herself works to help curate and create the wine boxes that you receive.

Pros

  • The branding is beautiful and you feel like you are receiving something that is truly special with this wine club.
  • The quality of the wine is really nice.
  • Martha Stewart Wines offers a nice variety of wines to select your own personal preferences from.
  • There is free shipping offered with the membership.
  • The wines range in price from $11.67 to $14.66 per bottle.
  • You receive six bottles of wine for a $70 price tag (unless your state requires taxes which are then added to this price).
  • Superior white wine options are available.
  • Infographic sheet with information about each of the wines that you receive.

Cons

  • Martha Stewart Wines is a club that is not available in all of the states.
  • The red wines are not as high in quality as the white wines.

FAQs (Common Questions)

What is the best wine club?

Finding a good wine club can be a challenge. In fact, there are so many wine clubs out there that you might have a hard time determining which you would like to try. We have tried quite a few and while we have not had a bad experience, some experiences have been better than others. We can confidently recommend the Gold Medal Wine Club, Winc, Martha Stewart Wines, and FirstLeaf. These wine clubs all offer great subscription options, a number of delicious wines, and choices so that you will be sure to try wines that you are going to love.

Are wine clubs worth it?



The question is not are wine clubs worth it, but rather why are wine clubs are worth it? As a rule of thumb, wine clubs are a great way to save money and experience new wines without the pain of having to guess whether or not you will like it. Thanks to your profile or the survey questions that you answer when you join a wine club, you are going to find that there are a number of great options for you to enjoy the wine club that you are in. If you are still questioning whether or not you will find value in a wine club, there are a few questions that you can ask yourself:

1. Do I like to drink wine on a regular basis?
2. Do I enjoy trying new wines?
3. Are there certain styles of wine that I would like to explore further?
4. Do I drink at least a bottle of wine each week?
5. Do I like to save money on the bottles of wine that I drink?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, then it is likely that you would find value in being a member of a wine club.

How does Winc Wine Club work?

Winc Wine Club allows you to be connected to a unique network where you get to experience wines that are curated with you in mind. You will be trying the wines that are tailored to your desires. Plus, you get the wines delivered right to your door. Winc offers a comprehensive six-question assessment that will help to ensure that you receive great wines that you are going to enjoy. This survey is going to give the curators information that is needed for them to develop the wine delivery that you are sure to love. Your wines will be chosen with your specific palate in mind. With some clubs, you can save money by purchasing more bottles each month so if you drink a lot of wine, this is a good option for you to save some money in the long run.

What is the cheapest wine club?

Finding a good wine club on a budget might sound like something that you can only dream about. However, there are some great options available if you know where to look. Of course, your opinion of affordable might differ from the club itself. It is a general rule of thumb that wine that costs $15 or less per bottle is generally considered to be affordable or cheaper wine. So, the following list is a collection of options for you where you can purchase wine at this price-point. Keep in mind that you will be able to still receive great quality wine that is just marketed towards those who cannot always afford to have the top-quality wines.
Here are some of our favourite “cheap” wine clubs:


– NakedWines.com – Naked Wines offers some great options for drinking wine on a budget. They have a great introductory offer where you can purchase six bottles of wine for $49.99 or twelve bottles of wine for $89.99. Then you are going to be able to curate your own boxes of wine each month with wines that are priced with a huge discount, in some cases as low as $8 per bottle.
– Winc Wine Club – Winc Wine Club looked at wine production and wine costs and determined that the best way to offer affordable wine was to become a winery. With membership, you save 50% off of your first shipment and then you get to choose wines each month. You can choose as few as four bottles and all bottles are priced at $15 or less. You can pre-pay for the year to save even more money, get discounts when you purchase a case or even receive credits for taking the time to rate their wines.
– FirstLeaf – FirstLeaf is another one of the more popular wine clubs. This wine club offers wines at just $15 per bottle and offers discounts with purchases that contain at least six bottles of wine and even free shipping with purchases that contain at least twelve bottles of wine. Plus, they are known for having some of the best customer service representatives in the business.

There are additional budget-friendly wine clubs, but these were our top picks and the best choices that we could find.

Are wine clubs profitable?

Wine clubs are a new trend that is turning out to be very profitable. In many cases, if you start a wine club, you are going to increase your revenue. There are many wineries that are benefiting from this new process. When looking at total wine sales, 47% of all wine purchased is from a wine tasting room. This is because this is a great way to get direct benefits of purchasing wine from the grower, like a cheaper price and the best options. In recent years, wine clubs have been consuming 33% of the wine on the market which makes them the second most profitable wine venture in the world. Basically the wineries that are pulling in the biggest profits are focusing on these two ventures rather than trying to get their wines into restaurants and grocery stores.

Why do people join wine clubs?

There are many different reasons why someone would join a wine club. One of the most exciting benefits of joining a wine club is that you get to have wines before they are available to the general public. In addition, you get first dips at special release wines and even get to purchase wines that are exclusive to the club that will never be seen on the liquor store shelves. There is typically a discount of 10% to 20% but in some cases, you can save up to 60%. There are even additional products that you can purchase from the winery directly through your wine club. You get to try new wines and the element of surprise is fun and something that is seen as beneficial. Plus, there are special events you could be invited to, and, in most cases, you can join a wine club without having to pay a fee. However, some wine clubs that charge a fee do offer deeper discounts.

Why do people join wine clubs?

There are many different reasons why someone would join a wine club. One of the most exciting benefits of joining a wine club is that you get to have wines before they are available to the general public. In addition, you get first dips at special release wines and even get to purchase wines that are exclusive to the club that will never be seen on the liquor store shelves. There is typically a discount of 10% to 20% but in some cases, you can save up to 60%. There are even additional products that you can purchase from the winery directly through your wine club. You get to try new wines and the element of surprise is fun and something that is seen as beneficial. Plus, there are special events you could be invited to, and, in most cases, you can join a wine club without having to pay a fee. However, some wine clubs that charge a fee do offer deeper discounts.

How to Choose a Wine You Will Love

Group of People Holding Wine Glasses

Choosing wine can be overwhelming and might even leave you wishing that you had just asked for a recommendation or had a friend pick up the wine. You might even find it hard to decide upon a wine when you are dining out, but don’t fret! We are going to take the guesswork out of choosing your next bottle of wine by teaching you some of the basics that will leave you feeling like an expert.

Understanding What a Good Wine Is

The first thing that you should note is that whether or not a wine is good is completely subjective. What might be good for you, might not be good for others? To fully understand a good wine, you should understand the following qualities:

  • Sweetness – If you do not want a sweet wine, you will want to choose a wine that is labeled as dry. Semi-sweet wines are not dry, but not overly sweet. Sweet wines are the ones that can often be defined as tasting like dessert.
  • Acidity – If you want a tart wine, you will look for one with higher acidity. The lower the acidity, the smoother the wine will be.
  • Tannin – The tannins are the naturally occurring compounds in the grape skins. These are naturally contained in the winemaking process and in some cases even added as the wine is ageing. If you choose a wine that has more tannins, you will find that your mouth feels dry. This does not mean that a wine is dry. In fact, you can have a sweet wine that has a higher concentrate of tannins which still leaves your mouth dry. Most of the time a red wine has higher tannin content which is why your mouth often feels dry after drinking a glass of red wine.
  • Body – Wines are typically labelled has been full-bodied or light-bodied. This means that the wine either feels light or heavy on the tongue. A heavier wine is going to be full-bodied.  Red wines are typically full body wines, whereas white wines are typically light body wines.
  • Alcohol – Now, if you have ever drunk a glass of wine and felt warmth or heat from it, then it would have had a higher alcohol content. Wines that are higher in alcohol have a warmer feel as you are drinking them and those that feature a lower alcohol content do not feel as warm.

Depending on who you are, there are preferences that you will have. Your preferences are likely going to vary from those preferences of your friends and family.

Tips to Pick a Good Bottle of Wine

Now that you know what good is a subjective term, you are ready to discover what bottles of wine you will enjoy. Keep in mind that your favourites might be choices that other people hate and that is okay as finding a good bottle of wine is all about who you are.

New to Wine? Choose a White or Rose

If you are new to buying wine, you will want to choose a white or rose to get started. This is because these are generally a sweeter wine and ones that are smoother to drink. These lighter-bodied wines help develop your palate, so you can enjoy the heavier bodied wines in the future.

Think About the Flavors that You Enjoy

There are no two wines that are going to taste exactly alike. Wines are unique, which is part of the fun of drinking wines. There are some taste identifiers that you can use to help you to determine which types of wine that you are going to love. If you like apple juice more than grapefruit juice, you will like a glass of sweet white wine. If you like grapefruit juice more than apple juice, you will like a dry white wine. If you like a latte over black coffee you are going to like a wine that is from the United States, Australia, or South Africa. If you like black coffee over a latte, you will like wine that is from the Old World (France, Spain or Italy).

Think About the Occasion

Are you picking out a bottle of wine to drink at home alone or choosing a bottle of wine to share with a group? Are you going to be pairing your wine with dinner or just enjoying some light appetizers or snacks? Depending on these answers, you will have different needs from your wine so there are some tips that will help you. If you want a crowd-pleaser, think of choosing both a bottle of white and a bottle of red that are general crowd-pleasers and appeal to different tastes. If you are pairing the wine with dinner, you can use a basic Google search to determine what type of wine goes best with the meal that you are preparing. If you are mixing the wine in a drink or when cooking, you can go a little cheaper and worry less about overall flavour than if you were going to be drinking glasses of wine.

Read and Understand the Label

First off, choosing a bottle of wine because you like the label is never a good way to choose wine. The eye-catching labels tend to sway wine purchasers who end up with a bottle of wine that is not the best choice for what they wanted. Take time to read the label and you will learn many things including the winery, the variety of grape, the year in which the grapes were harvested, where the grapes were grown, how much alcohol is in the wine, and even a description of the wine. By understanding this and looking at the basic characteristics, you will find that you can choose a great bottle of wine that you can enjoy.

Consider Second Label Wines

Many people do not realize that many high-end wine labels often have a second label that is equally as good, but more affordable. The same expert vineyards create the second labels which mean that you are getting a really good high-quality wine that is a fraction of the cost of their main label. It is a great way to get better wines at a price-point that is accessible to more people.

Forget About the Age

So many people fall into the trap of wanting to find a wine that is well-aged. This really does not matter for the casual or beginner wine drinker. In fact, pretty much the only people who care about the age of wine are those who can afford to spend a lot of money per bottle and want a wine with bragging rights.

Forget Price When Choosing

While you need to stick to your budget, do not be afraid of wines that are less expensive than what you planned on spending. In some cases, these more affordable wines are great choices.

Not Every Bottle with a Screw Cap is Bad

There are some cheap wines that are not good, but there are some cheap wines that are surprisingly good for their price-point. Just because a wine has a screw cap does not mean that it is not good quality. So many people shy away from these cheaper wines because they think that they will not be good and they end up passing up a really good option.

Keep Notes in. wine Journal

As you try new wines, take notes and keep them in a wine journal. This will help you to remember which wines you really enjoyed and which ones you would not want to purchase again. It really helps you to keep from getting confused when you are trying to quickly pick up a bottle of wine.

When you use these tips, you are going to find that it is easier to find a great bottle of wine for a more affordable price point.

Why Choose Gold Medal Wine Club

Gold Medal Wine Club is a great choice for you if you love wine. You get to experience wines that are award-winning while saving money. The club is really flexible and offers you a number of options to pick from with different membership levels. Plus, they are flexible and offer a fully stocked store so you can grab extra bottles when you need them. This also gives you the chance to pick up some discounted bottles as gifts. However, there are certainly wine clubs that offer better tasting wines and the complaints against their customer service would make me wonder if I was making the right choice to keep up with this subscription.

All screenshots and images taken by author October, 2019.

Ben Holt

Ben practiced as a "Wine connoisseur" in the restaurant industry for over 2 years. He suggested, tested and educated diners on which wine would best fit their meal. Ben is also a freelance writer with over 4 years of experience. He now shares his insights on wine and wine accessories for those looking to take their love of this amazing beverage to the next level!

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