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Here we are again, trying another wine club. I have to say that I’ve tried some great wine clubs so far, but Plonk was intriguing because it has a funny name. In fact, plonk is a slang term in the UK for cheap wine. No, not just cheap wine, but terrible wine. Not all cheap wine is terrible, but if they’re calling it ‘plonk,’ it’s both cheap and terrible by definition.
Don’t be fooled by the name. The Plonk Wine Club is a clever play on words, because, in my opinion, it’s not cheap. Not even a little bit. When I set out to try it, I had some trouble finding the website because there’s PLONK Wine and then there’s the PLONK Wine Club. The PLONK Wine Club is what you want.
About Plonk Wine Club
Plonk Wine Club is a bit out of the ordinary. The curator strives to offer off-beat wines that are not your typical varieties. They may be unfamiliar, but the hope is that they’re delicious, and you get an education while trying something new.
She wants to push people outside of their comfort zones and emphasize wine education. She includes personal tasting notes with every bottle so you can learn more about these unusual offerings.
The wineries featured in the Plonk Wine Club are small, organic, and biodynamic. The wines you’ll try are made from sustainably grown grapes. There are no chemicals like pesticides, acidifiers, artificial sugars, or alcohol enhancements.
That means you’ll experience the true taste of the wine without all of that other stuff, and the environment will thank you, too. The idea is that these bottles are special and deserving of more attention, which is where the Plonk Wine Club comes in.
The unfortunate thing is, not all of that is good. In fact, there are many reasons why winemakers include additives, and our taste buds have grown accustomed to them. You may be in for a shock if you’re interested in trying PLONK.
Plonk Wine Club features three different subscription plan options. They are pretty self-explanatory. The Red Wine Only Club ships only red wine, the White Wine Club ships only white wine, and the Mixed Wine Club ships a mix of both.
You have two options with each subscription. You can order four bottles every month, or you can place your order for four bottles per month in advance either quarterly, twice a year, or once a year. If you pay monthly, you’ll pay $110, quarterly orders are $330, and 6-month orders are $660. You’ll save $60 by ordering yearly and pay $1320 upfront for four bottles to be delivered to you every month.
You can also order 12 bottles at a time monthly or have those 12 bottles delivered once a quarter. Either way you order, 12 bottles costs $285, which is certainly the best value, although ordering four bottles at a time is more popular among subscribers.
Rewards and Perks
The first perk you’ll get when you order from the Plonk Wine Club is a free corkscrew with your first shipment, but it doesn’t end there. You get tasting notes and recipe suggestions with every bottle you get, too.
With your subscription, you get discounts on any bottles you love that you want to reorder. As mentioned, you’ll get access to wine that tastes better and is better for you because it doesn’t have all the extra additives.
If you renew your membership for the second month, you’ll get one free bottle of wine.
With PLONK Wine Club, shipping is always free. This is always one of my favourite benefits because I’d rather pay top dollar for the wine itself than waste an extra $15 on shipping every month. That adds up fast.
Like most wine clubs in the United States, I can only assume that they ship everywhere except Alaska and Hawaii. However, they don’t indicate restricted shipping locations anywhere on the site, so it’s hard to tell. I’m sure if you tried to place an order using an address they can’t ship to, they’d let you know.
The pesky thing about PLONK Wine Club is that orders go out the first week of each month. That sounds fine in theory, but you have to have your initial order in before the first of the month, or your order won’t ship until the following month. That means you could potentially wait over a month for your wine. That’s not cool, in my book.
All in all, my experience with PLONK Wine Club was just “OK.” Signing up was seamless and easy, but it was $110 for four bottles. In my house, four bottles of wine might last us two weeks, at most. Often they don’t even last that long, with several people over the legal drinking age living under our roof. So to spend $110 on four bottles is a little outrageous.
I was, of course, pleased to see that the shipping was free, but it better be for the price of the wine. It asked for all of the typical information you might expect when signing up for or ordering something online.
So, when ordering, I thought to myself, “This wine better be good. I would never spend that much on a bottle at the liquor store.”
While shipping was free, that was the only good thing about it. I hate to be brutally honest, but the PLONK shipping system is terrible. Because they ship wine club boxes the first week of every month, and I placed my order in the middle of the month, I waited three weeks for my shipment.
Compared to other wine clubs, that’s insanely slow. Most wine clubs ship and deliver in less than one week. It seems efficient from the shipping side to send these shipments out the first of every month, but it’s really frustrating for those of us who like wine a lot or are impatient.
In fact, I didn’t realize this was their shipping policy until after I reached out to PLONK to inquire about when my order was going to ship. You would think after you place your order, they would give you a rough idea of when the wine would ship, but I didn’t see anything.
Keep in mind, I reached out to PLONK to ask about my shipment a full two weeks after I placed my order, and it still hadn’t even shipped.
They told me it would ship the next day and I would get an email when it did. It was still two more full days before I got the email it had been shipped.
When I got the email that it had been shipped, I opened it up for tracking information. There was a big button that said Track Your Shipment With Arrive. There was also a clickable UPS tracking number, but I didn’t see that at first, because it was very small and less noticeable than the big button
So, I clicked on the big button, and of course, it took me through downloading and registering for a third-party app to track my shipment. My initial thought, before I realized there was a UPS tracking number included, was that the entire process so far had been less than user-friendly.
It finally arrived! We’re pretty late in the day on the UPS driver’s route, so when things are being delivered UPS, it generally doesn’t get loaded on the truck until lunchtime and it’ll be at our door around 6 or 7 pm. More waiting! Although, this time, it wasn’t PLONK’s fault.
Then, of course, my two years old wanted in on the fun. So we unboxed, and he played.
And my other boys basted a brisket in the kitchen. Don’t mind the mess. We’re a busy family of six, with three other extended family members living under our roof, too!
I chose the Mixed Wine Club, so I received two bottles of red and two bottles of white. There was one wine I absolutely hated, one I enjoyed, and the others were simply “OK.”
Due Terre Nero D’Avola 2018
This is the one I didn’t enjoy at all. I drew a bath and poured myself a glass of wine to relax. The first sip, I tasted cough syrup. The tasting notes specify a crisp, crunchy, vivid expression of lush boysenberry and blueberry, but I thought it tasted like cherry flavoured Nyquil. Perhaps that’s harsh, but yuck.
I forced myself to give it several more sips before I ultimately decided I would just end up cooking with it instead of throwing it out. Plus, I think the label is pretty neat.
Alejandro Jofre Punao de Itata Moscatel 2018
This Moscato from Chile was quite unique and enjoyable. I had a blast with the zesty lime flavour and the light punch at the end. It was infused with honey and pineapple flavours, with just a hint of sweetness that was enough for me. This wine is very well done.
And as you may be able to tell, the bottle is already empty in the picture. Oops!
Cendre Grenache Blanc 2018
This wine featured subtle white peach flavours and floral aromas. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t really exciting either. I still drank it. After all, it’s wine! And, yes, that’s my four years old wanting in on all the fun now.
Casarena Sinergy Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
I really enjoy Cabernet Sauvignon, and the smoky flavour of this one was really nice. Again, it wasn’t anything special, but it was a good wine with hints of soy sauce, black olives, and smoked meat. Cute face and a cool label, too!
It doesn’t redeem the PLONK Wine Club by any means, but here’s my free corkscrew. I do really like the colour and I used it to open all of my bottles, despite the fact that I have a better one in the pantry.
There are plenty of wine subscription boxes out there, so there’s no shortage of alternatives.
Vinebox is a unique experience in which they send samples before you buy a whole bottle. The advantage to Vinebox is that if you don’t like it, you’re not wasting a whole bottle, but the downside is that if you do like it, you have to pay to ship a bottle of it.
It’s a bit more on the pricey side, but their presentation is nice and it’s an easy wine club to navigate.
Winc ships four bottles, same as PLONK, but for around $40, not $110. It’s affordable, and shipping is free. When you sign up for Winc, you take a quiz and then they handpick wines based on your preferences. They do an excellent job of selecting wines that you’ll love, so your satisfaction is almost guaranteed.
California Wine Club
This wine club ships wines from California and they choose local, family wineries that otherwise wouldn’t get the exposure. You can’t get these wines at a local store, so it’s an exclusive club, but it comes at a price. Although, it’s still not as expensive as PLONK.
Martha Stewart Wine Club
This wine club is super affordable, shipping six bottles at a time for about $60. It’s fast and convenient, but you don’t get the same Winc personalization. Martha curates her wine collection herself, so everything you receive goes through excellent quality control. While you may not like everything you receive, it’s definitely affordable enough to order more of what you do at a discount for being a member.
If you’re anything like me, you have some questions before getting started, to make sure it’s the right wine club for you.
PLONK Wine Club focuses on biodynamic wines that have the least amount of impact on the environment. I commend them for this effort, but it’s been my only experience with organic wines to date, so I’m not really sure that makes for better wines. That’s just my opinion. It is cool that they are all made with minimal intervention and minimal additives.
I honestly don’t think so, but many people may. After all, if you want to support environmentally sustainable practices, this is definitely the wine club for you.
Most wine club subscriptions allow you to cancel your membership at any time, and PLONK is no exception. However, they don’t have a membership portal that allows you to log in and cancel your membership. You have to reach out to them via phone or email and ask them to cancel it for you.
They’ll cancel it for you with no problem, but you won’t get reimbursed for any months you prepaid, and you have to request your cancellation at least seven days in advance of the next shipment, which is, of course, the first of the next month.
Calling or emailing isn’t a huge deal, it’s just an extra step.
You can always call or email PLONK with questions and they’ll be happy to help. However, they don’t have live chat support, so you’ll have to go to the trouble of calling directly or wait about 24 hours for them to respond to your email.
Yes, you can always switch from the mixed wine club to the white or red wine club, and vice versa. You can also always switch from four bottles to twelve, or adjust your shipment frequency at any time.
Yes, you can order more of any individual bottle you like at any time from the shop. However, there is a six-bottle minimum on shipments and there is a two-bottle minimum on each variety. Shipping is always free.
I think there are more affordable, more delicious, more convenient wine clubs out there. I wasn’t very impressed with my PLONK experience overall. That’s not to say there’s not something about supporting their efforts to choose organic wines that are better for you. I just think the shipping took too long and it was way too expensive for my taste.
There are also some minimum order restrictions in place that I’m not a fan of, and I’d rather have the flexibility to order more of something I like, at a discount even without having to worry about meeting some sort of minimum requirement.
If you really want to get your money’s worth, try Martha Stewart’s wine club or Winc. Both are excellent in both experience, value, and taste.
All screenshots and images taken by author November 2019.