Join the (wine) club

Like me, you’re probably seeing more invitations to join wine clubs.

No, not a neighbourhood gathering to share bottles, but the option to sign up for a winery’s well, club.

And you may hear the acronym DTC more frequently in the wine world — direct-to-consumer (shipping, is the usual meaning).

While there are still barriers to the totally free and open movement of wine across provincial borders, trends in the industry indicate DTC sales are up.

What does this mean for the average wine drinker?

It’s time to join the club. Or maybe a few clubs. Numerous benefits await, especially if you are building a cellar or enjoy sharing a bottle on more than just special occasions.

Benefit No. 1? Discounts.

Most winery club members receive reduced prices on wine purchases both at the winery and when buying online, not to mention special rates for events; as a club member you may get front-of-the-line status for signature dinners or concerts at your favourite winery.

You’ll get a better shot at tickets for popular events.

No. 2? Access to exclusive wines.

Wineries may not put all of their wines out for purchase, but will hold back hard-to-find vintages, often wines that may be bottles from a smaller production, or unique blends, or library wines they’ve kept hidden away for a few years.

The latter may then go into select packages for members only.

If you’ve found a winery that you love, but never seem to pick up enough bottles before your favourites sell out, benefit No. 3 is frequent shipments.

No more worrying that you won’t be able to get to the winery to replenish your stock. Most clubs have different shipping frequencies and you choose once, twice, or more over a year.

Look for clubs that offer options, including how many bottles you need to purchase per shipment or annually, and keep in mind that while it’s typically free to sign up, you will need to buy a few bottles.

Finally, the fun perks: pick up parties!

Join your fellow club members for member-only get-togethers to pick up your bottles in person. You’ll get wined and dined, probably meet the winemaker, maybe get a behind the scenes tour, and enjoy an afternoon comparing notes with fellow aficionados.

As B.C. wine continues to rack up awards and recognition, more wine tourists make their way here, and wineries hang their “sold out” signs earlier each year; having your club card can help to ensure you get your favourites, conveniently packed, shipped, and delivered.


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About the Author

A creative thinker with more than two decades of experience in communications, Allison is an early adopter of social and digital media, bringing years of work in traditional media to the new frontier of digital engagement marketing through her company, All She Wrote.

She is the winner of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association's 2011 and 2012 awards for Social Media Initiative, an International LERN award for marketing, and the 2014 Penticton Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award for Hospitality/Tourism.

Allison has amassed a following on multiple social networks of more than 30,000, frequently writes and about social media, food and libations as well as travel and events, and through her networks, she led a successful bid to bring the Wine Bloggers Conference to Penticton in June 2013, one of the largest social media wine events in the world, generating 31 million social media impressions, $1 million in earned media, and an estimated ongoing economic impact of $2 million.

In 2014, she held the first Canadian Wine Tourism Summit to spark conversation about the potential for wine tourism in Canada as a year-round economic driver.

Allison contributes epicurean content to several publications, has been a judge for several wine and food competitions, and has earned her advanced certificate from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust.

In her spare time, she has deep, meaningful conversations with her cats.

She can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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