After my husband tried the California Wine Club, which I thought was a bit pricey, I wanted to see what else was out there. Spoiler alert: there’s a lot. Wine subscription boxes are a dime a dozen, which is pretty much how subscription boxes are these days.
There’s a subscription box for everything from food and wine to clothing and toiletries. Some are really cool and some aren’t worth the hype.
I was hesitant about Martha Stewart Wine Club at first because I think of her as a home decor guru of sorts and never thought of her as a wine aficionado. Who curates her selections? Does she do it herself? Has she really tried all of these wines personally?
I guess maybe she is a jack of all trades after all. She has her hand in almost everything these days. Anyway, I gave it a shot, and I did not get what I expected at all.
About Martha Stewart’s Wines
In case you were wondering, yes, Martha Stewart has tested and approved all of the wines she ships as a part of her online wine subscription. She personally selects each one and there are currently more than 75 to choose from.
Every wine in Martha Stewart’s collection is sourced and vetted by a team of professionals at Drinks.com before it’s passed to the Martha Stewart team. They source these wines through special relationships with winemakers and vineyards all over the world.
This system ensures that wines go direct to the consumer quickly and more affordably than they would if she couldn’t leverage these relationships.
Despite these relationships, Martha does admit that she likes to travel frequently and try wines at restaurants around the world. She sips and tastes new wines all the time, including unique varietals and blends.
This allows her to take notes about new trends and return them to her team for continuous wine club improvement.
Martha’s extensive experience allows her to speak to her food pairings and the suggestions she makes for sipping her wines. She admits that the hardest foods to pair wines with are acidic foods with strong flavors.
However, she’s an advocate of experimentation. The biggest pitfall, she says, is always choosing to drink the same wines instead of branching out. You can achieve almost the same amount of experience as she has without traveling the world. Just try new things from your local store!
Take Martha’s favorite piece of advice with you, too. Taste carefully, savor the differences, and always trust your palate. What you like will be very different than what your friends like. That doesn’t mean the wines they like are bad. It means your tastes have developed differently.
There are only two subscription options here. They’re straightforward and easy to understand. No frills, no red tape, no confusing choices to make.
The half-case wine club ships six bottles every six weeks. That’s one bottle for you to enjoy per week. For frequent wine drinkers, that might not be enough, but you can always switch to the case wine club.
The half-case wine club costs $49.98 for six bottles. That’s $8.33 per bottle, which is insanely affordable for the selection you get.
The case wine club ships twelve bottles every eight weeks. This gives you 1.5 bottles to enjoy every week until your next shipment. If that’s not enough, you can shop in the Martha Stewart wine store for additional bottles and exclusive savings. More on that later.
The case wine club costs $89.88 for twelve bottles, which is only $7.49 per bottle. That’s even cheaper per bottle than the half-case wine club. It pays to buy in bulk.
Both wine clubs allow you to choose all white, all red, or a mixture of both. You can skip shipments, change preferences, and cancel your account with ease all from your online account. You don’t have to call to do it like with some other wine clubs.
I went with the half-case wine club to start because six bottles are cheaper than twelve, and I wasn’t sure if I would like it or not. I was pleasantly surprised when my box arrived, though, and next time I’ll do the case wine club for sure.
Martha Stewart Wine Club ships to all states except for Utah, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Kentucky, Hawaii, Delaware, Arkansas, Alabama, and Alaska. Shipments of alcohol are prohibited in these states.
If you attempt to order from Martha Stewart Wine Club with a delivery address in one of these areas, your shipment will be void. All orders are reviewed, accepted, and fulfilled by retail entities that are licensed in the industry.
You can’t fault the wine club for canceling your order if you live in one of these states. They abide by local, state, and federal law and simply cannot ship alcohol to destinations in these states.
What to Expect
As with everything that is branded by Martha Stewart, you can expect your wines to come in beautiful packaging with a well-designed box, clever packing, and pamphlets to introduce you to the club.
The entire experience is easy and seamless and shipping is fast. I couldn’t believe how fast my order came!
Because Martha Stewart’s name means attention to detail, beautiful presentation, and everyday elegance, it’s hardly surprising that the experience was no less than amazing. I don’t like the throw those million dollar words out there frequently, but I really enjoyed it.
You can expect your experience, from the moment you lay eyes on the website, to casually guide you through the wine subscription process, how it works, and how to order your first shipment.
After that, it’s smooth sailing with shipments automatically recurring at the frequency you select, with the ability to access your online account any time and delay a shipment, order more wines, update your subscription, or cancel if needed.
Here’s how my Martha Stewart Wine Club experience went in a little more detail.
The beautiful photography on the site had me excited almost immediately. It’s presented beautifully and explains your options fully. It coaches you through the signup process and guides you in selecting the right subscription for you.
It asks for all of the normal information like name, email, address, once you choose which subscription you want. Although you can choose red, white, or a mix, every new subscriber receives the same shipment as an introduction to the Martha Stewart wine cellar.
The wines you will receive with your first shipment are listed on the page where you select your assortment options of red or white.
Once I choose my subscription plan and my preferred assortment, I entered my contact information and it plopped my box in the cart. I was pleasantly surprised to see that shipping would be free.
You can pay with a credit card, AMEX checkout, or PayPal, which makes it super convenient. By far my favorite part of this whole experience was when I found out shipping would be free. FREE!
I had barely pressed the Confirm button when my doorbell rang and there was my box of wine. Okay, that’s not entirely true. However, it only took three business days. If you place your order before 2:30pm local time, your wine ships the same day, so it is super fast.
I got an email from FedEx with a tracking number and I appreciated that because I anxiously await these deliveries every second of every day. And because you have to be home to sign for it, it’s not to know when it’s going to come.
However, props to Martha Stewart, Drinks.com, and FedEx for delivering my package practically faster than they could update the shipping information online.
It came in a lovely Martha Stewart box that was simply stated and elegant. Thanks, friendly neighborhood FedEx man in the background! Pardon my messy porch. It’s been a stormy summer.
Unboxing that bad boy was super fun. I plopped it up on the counter and snapped a quick picture before I dug in, mostly because it coordinated so well with my kitchen island that I had to commemorate the moment.
Just look at the wood grain design on the box. I know it’s fake, but that’s exactly the attention to detail that makes anything from Martha Stewart a pleasant and special experience.
I opened the box and the first thing I saw was a really nice welcome note from my new BFF, Martha. She’s so sweet. Also included are suggestions for food pairings for each wine, as well as tips for when to enjoy your wine or what events they go great with! That is, if you want to share your wine. Martha calls this “pairing wine with meals and moments.” Nice touch.
You can see in the background on the inside of one of the flaps that it very nicely lays out the contents of the box for you so you know exactly what you should be receiving. You can cross-check your wines with this list to ensure everything is correct, but if I know my Martha, it always will be.
And it was. The selection I received was beautiful. The packaging, the inserts, and the labels on the bottles all completed the look. Wonderful colors and elegant design just emphasized how special the wine club is and how carefully these selections are made.
A couple of other things I’d like to point out have to do with more attention to detail. I really can’t say enough about how well-thought-out the entire experience was from beginning to end (except it’s not the end because I’ll be ordering it again).
This nice note on one of the flaps indicates that your bottles may be dusty, but goes into great detail explaining why. It’s all environmentally friendly, which is awesome, and I love that the club takes the time to explain it.
Drinks.com is a proprietary WaaS (wine as a service) platform that gives retailers, or in this case, Martha Stewart, access to a large network of fulfillment centers for compliant distribution without having to build a fully operational sourcing structure themselves.
Honestly, it’s a smart move on Martha’s part to take advantage of the Drinks.com network to get her wines out the door quickly and direct to the consumer better than she’d ever been able to do on her own without spending a lot of time building distribution centers.
I received three bottles of white and three bottles of red. I can’t believe I got all of this for less than $50 and shipping was free. Did I mention shipping was free? Let’s start with the reds and save the best for last.
A D’Arche Graves Bordeaux
Let’s get something out of the way really quickly. I don’t often enjoy my wine with food. It goes great with food. But I prefer to sip on my wine in the evenings after dinner, relax, and watch the kids run around.
So most of the pictures you’ll see are of me enjoying my wine by itself, as any self-proclaimed lush would.
The first one I opened was this smooth Bordeaux. It’s a 50/50 mix of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlet. It was gently balanced and a bit sweet with a long finish. I definitely tasted the blackberry notes with spicy vanilla on the tongue.
I don’t like licorice, but I was surprised to find that I enjoyed a hint of licorice stick in the background.
Georges Vigouroux Merlot
Bring on the Merlot! I love Merlot because it’s so rich in cherry flavor (which, surprisingly, I hate to eat plain), but this particular Merlot smelled deeply of chocolate-covered cherries. It made me want to shove chocolate in my face.
Lucky for me, I had made brownies the day before, and I ate them all so fast that I didn’t even have time to take a pretty picture of them together. That definitely satisfied my craving. I was only sad that I ate the brownies faster than I drank the wine, so I didn’t have any brownies left for the rest of the bottle.
This Cabernet Sauvignon has the same hints of black cherry, currant, and vanilla that the A D’Arche Bordeaux did, but lacks the licorice that some may not like. It’s not as dry as the Bordeaux and pairs so incredibly well with spaghetti and red sauce.
It’s full-bodied and jammy, so it’s heavy but delightful on the tongue. It wasn’t my favorite of the six, but there’s bound to be one you don’t like as well.
This was by far my favorite of the bunch. It had beautiful color as I poured it into the glass to enjoy by itself, once again. The first sip I took I think I actually made yummy noises out loud in the kitchen. It was so buttery.
I’ve had buttery Chardonnay before, but this one takes the cake. Speaking of cake, you wouldn’t be wrong if you poured this over a slice of cake and ate it for dessert.
Cannery Row Chapter One Chardonnay
This Chardonnay is by far the most beautiful in color. It has a medium body and it’s light and refreshing. It’s a nice, summery wine that I enjoyed on the back deck as the sun was setting. It definitely helped cool me in the Midwest humidity.
While not my favorite in terms of taste, it was definitely my favorite bottle in terms of design. I love the dingy label that’s meant to look old. I was excited about opening it, and it wasn’t necessarily disappointing, but they’re also wasn’t anything spectacular about it either.
Bernard Magrez Sauvignon Blanc
And another winner from sweet Martha. I took a sip of this sweet Sauvignon Blanc with a long, crisp, citrus finish and thought spaghetti would be delicious. And then I realized that if I wanted to spaghetti, I’d have to make it myself, and I didn’t want to do that.
By now you should have caught on to how much I like to relax and drink wine, and cooking dinner is the opposite of that. So instead of cooking spaghetti, I threw a frozen pizza in the oven. It’s Italian, too, right?
At any rate, it was as delicious as I expected, and I can only assume pairing it with spaghetti and red sauce would be just as delicious. The citrus in the wine went well with the acidity of the tomato sauce on the pizza.
It was bubbly, almost like champagne, which made it even more delightful to drink. Combined with fresh bell peppers on the supreme pizza I made was a supreme experience. My puns are as lazy as I am.
If you don’t want to commit to a wine club just yet, but you want to try some great wines at great prices, Martha Stewart allows anyone to shop her wine store and find affordable wines shipped right to your door.
There’s no hassle, no pressure, and no commitment, so you can try a few before you sign up. I really like this feature because it gives you a chance to try out the signup and delivery experience without a subscription. Not a lot of wine clubs do that.
Alternative Wine Subscriptions
Every wine subscription operates differently. Martha Stewart’s strengths lie in beautiful presentation and her partnership with Drinks.com allows her to source the best wines from all over the world.
However, you have other options like Cellars Wine Club, Vinebox, Napacabs, Winc, Gold Medal Wine Club, Malvino, Vinely Market, Palate Club, Wine Down, Revel Wine, Plonk, and so many more.
Vinebox is unique, and personally, I’m very excited to try it out myself and find out more about it. They ship samples you can try before you choose bottles. These sample vials come in a small box so you can pick what you like and order more.
You can also provide feedback and request more samples. It’s a bit pricey, but you save if you order more often. This is an original idea that’s not being practiced by many others, so it would be fun to try.
You can find out more about Vinebox from this review. (link once the review is written)
Winc used to be Club W. They offer four bottles for about $40, which isn’t as cheap as the Martha Stewart Wine Club, but still pretty affordable in the grand scheme of things. Shipping is still free, which I love.
Signing up for Winc requires that you take a quiz before you order so they can pick the wines they think you’ll like the best. They do their best to find out more about you before they handpick your wines.
How to Choose a Wine Subscription
Choosing the right wine subscription for you is highly subjective. It depends on your budget, how many bottles you want and how often you want it shipped.
For example, Martha Stewart is affordable, but shipments come every 6-8 weeks instead of monthly. You get full bottles instead of samples to try first. There’s a lot to think about and the decision is yours.
Yes, yes, thousand times yes. Jane had it right to say yes to Mr. Bingly. Only in this case, I’m saying yes to Miss Stewart. Her wine club is delightful and fun. Had I ever heard of these wines? No. Could I find the cellars online? Also, no.
So I’m not entirely sure if that means they’re carefully selected from small artisan wineries around the world or if they’re all made specifically for Martha Stewart and her wine club. Honestly, I don’t really care either way.
Better oenophiles than me may be up in arms about how these wines are all manufactured by the same small, core group of vintners and then the labels are slapped on in an attempt to make them look different, but Martha does such a great job at execution, I hardly gave it a second thought.
If you’re looking for a fantastic entry point into the world of wine subscriptions, this is by far the best option I’ve found because it’s easy, affordable, and so much fun. Free shipping, fast delivery, and all of those special touches made it a wonderful experience for me.
All screenshots and images taken by author September 2019.