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National Geographic Wine Review 2024: Is It Good?

Author Mirela Niculae
Mirela Niculae
Updated on Apr 9th, 2024
Fact checked by Emma Vince

Overview

The National Geographic Wine Club, or Wines of the World, promises to introduce you to wines from all over the globe. The club works with wine merchant and legend Tony Laithwaite, whose team selects the wines that go into each box.

As a club member, you can choose between reds, whites, or a combination of the 2. Plus, detailed tasting notes, serving tips, and food pairing recommendations accompany each wine that reaches your doorstep.

With each delivery, you receive 12 delicious wines from independent wineries around the globe (as promised). Each wine in your box has at least 1 gold medal and a score of 90+ points, so you don’t have to worry about quality.

Overall, I find the National Geographic Wine Club impressive, which is why I decided to dig deeper and see if they deliver on what they promise. After a thorough review of the club, I can say that I am pleasantly surprised. So, if you want to know more about this club, continue reading!

Pros

Cons

Access to wines from all around the world

You can only order by case

Selections curated by a wine guru

The cases are pre-defined

Members get better prices and offers

Few personalization options

What’s on the National Geographic Wine List

At the time of my review, the National Geographic Wine Club featured the Gold-Medal Greats collection. This means that all of your 12 wines have at least 1 gold medal wine or a 90+ point score. You’ll receive a delivery every 3 months.

As a member, you can choose between 3 cases: a case of whites, a case of reds, or a case of mixed wines. The wines in each case are selected by Tony Laithwaite’s team. You can be sure that all the labels come from top wine estates.

Screenshot of National Geographic Wine Club's case of whites

And yes, you can only order by the case (each case includes 12 bottles). This may be a bit too much if you’re just looking to try the service and the quality of the wines. However, judging by the wineries, you’ll only get a range of fine-quality and interesting labels.

A few examples of wineries are Stones and Bones (a Portuguese winery well-known for its red and white blends), Pillastro (a winery in southern Italy that produces a rich red composed of Negroamaro and Primitivo), and Domaine du Chay (a Bordeaux house that produces delicious Cabernet Sauvignons, Cabernet Francs, and Merlots).

National Geographic Wine Club's case of red wines

You can see which ones go in each case. So, if you decide to become a member, you’ll know ahead of time what to expect. Additionally, you get detailed information on each bottle, including a review and its degree of popularity. For each wine, you’ll know the style, country of origin, region, grape, and flavor profile.

Screenshot of National Geographic Wine Club's  Mixed case

For your first case, you also get a gift, which includes 2 bonus bottles of a 90-point wine (at the time of my review, it was a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo) and 2 Dartington Crystal stemless glasses.

Unboxing

The National Geographic Wine Club doesn’t offer much info on the packaging, but you can rest assured that your bottles will reach your doorstep safe and sound. Also, in each case, you’ll find information about each wine, including food pairing recommendations and tasting notes.

There’s no information about recycling packaging materials, but Nat Geo Club does mention that every delivery is green. The club offsets each delivery’s carbon emissions through major reforestation projects.

Shortlist of My Favorite Wines

Please note that my selection of wines is based on the selection available at the time of this review. National Geographic Wine Club calls it Gold-Medal Greats. Considering that highly-trained experts selected these wines, I’m certain that each of them would fit my palate.

Still, based on the information the club offered on each wine, its reviews, popularity, and my personal experience, here are the top 3 wines that stood out to me the most:

Aluado Alicante Bouschet, 2022, Estremadura Portugal

A full-bodied red wine that truly encapsulates the strengths of this Portuguese grape variety. Intense aromas of ripe black plums, blackberries, and dark sweet spices leap from the glass, thanks to grapes that ripened easily in Estremadura's hot climate.

Screenshot of a bottle of Aluado Alicante Bouschet, 2022

The first sip reveals a richly textured wine with flavors of fresh plum, dark chocolate, and hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. This wine has great structure, with rounded, mouth-coating tannins and enough acidity to keep it lively across the palate.

The finish is long and savory, with notes of espresso and baking spice that linger. Built to age gracefully for 5-8 years, the concentrated fruit and smooth tannins of this Aluado Alicante Bouschet make it a wonderful match for grilled and braised red meats, savory pork dishes, and hearty winter stews.

Bees Knees Chenin Blanc Viognier, 2022, Western Cape, South Africa

The 2022 Bees Knees Chenin Blanc Viognier is a beautifully balanced white blend from South Africa's Western Cape region. This medium-bodied wine leads with lively aromas of ripe pear, tangerine, and apricot fruits, along with hints of orange blossom and lemongrass.

It hails from the renowned Journey’s End estate, where the Viognier grapes add rich stone fruit flavors while the Chenin Blanc provides zesty acidity.

Screenshot of a bottle of Bees Knees Chenin Blanc Viognier, 2022

On the palate, juicy flavors of honeydew melon, peach, and Meyer lemon mingle with touches of fresh-cut grass and cardamom spice. The finish is refreshing and long, with mouthwatering citrus fruits that pair ideally with foods like seafood, chicken dishes, Asian cuisines, and fresh vegetables.

With a vibrance that belies the warmth of the Western Cape, this white blend drinks beautifully now but will integrate more nutty, oxidative Chenin notes with 1-3 years of bottle age.

Palacio del Conde Gran Selección, 2016, Valencia, Spain

The Palacio del Conde Gran Selección 2016 is a sublime expression of Tempranillo grapes from the vineyards of Valencia. Its deep ruby hue foreshadows a medium-bodied red, brimming with the fruity signature of the variety.

Intense aromas of red currants, raspberries, and vanillin oak rise from the glass. The first sip reveals lush flavors of fresh strawberries and red cherries, heightened by fragrant notes of tobacco leaf, clove, and black pepper.

Screenshot of a bottle of Palacio del Conde Gran Selección, 2016

The tannins are refined and silky from extended barrel aging, enveloping the palate in a smooth, delicate finish. Its modest alcohol content of 14% and bright acidity lend an easy-drinking nature, while subtle leather and herb complexities hint at its capacity to age.

With 2 gold medals under its belt, this outstanding vintage continues the 9-year legacy of award-winning Gran Selección wines. Pair it with cured meats and cheeses, grilled lamb, or duck breast to complement the supple fruit and spice.

Prices

Starting From

Case Cost Without Shipping

Shipping Fee

$4.64 per bottle

$64.99 for the initial case (12 bottles of whites/reds/mixed, 2 bonus bottles, 2 glasses)

$19.99

$13.74 per bottle

$164.99 for every other case (12 bottles of whites/reds/mixed) 

$19.99

National Geographic Wine Club lets you take a slow start with an incredible discount for the first order. At the time of this review, the first case, plus 2 bonus bottles and 2 glasses, was only $64.99 plus shipping and applicable tax. This means that you receive a total of 14 bottles at $4.64 per bottle.

For the second case and any subsequent orders, you’ll pay $164.99 per 1 case of 12 bottles (plus shipping and applicable tax). In this case, the cost is $13.74 per bottle. Overall, club members get at least 20% off on all the wines in the National Geographic Wine Club.

Furthermore, the club has a 100% money-back guarantee policy. So, if you don't enjoy 1 or several wines, you get a full refund. There’s also the possibility to accumulate credits, which you can use to get free bottles, upgrades to a 1.5-liter Magnum, and other exclusive offers throughout the year.

Shipping & Delivery

National Geographic Wine Club delivers across the US, but wines and offers may vary by state. Also, the club delivers to Alaska, but there’s a $75 shipping surcharge per case. Additionally, there’s limited delivery in CT, FL, IA, IL, and IN.

The club delivers 1 case of 12 bottles every 3 months, and the order must be picked up by an adult aged at least 21 years old.

How National Geographic Wine Works

Once you sign up for a membership, you’ll receive 12 expertly selected wines every 3 months. You can cancel at any time, and you can review the wines you received.

How to Sign Up

National Geographic Wine Club doesn’t require you to create an online account to become a member. However, if you want to keep track of your orders, review your wines, and make customizations, you’ll need one.

Here are steps to follow to place an order and create an online account.

  1. Choose your case: You can choose between whites, reds, and mixed. Click on View Wines to see the labels that go in each case, and select the 1 that best fits your tastes.

  2. Introduce your email, address, phone, and date of birth: Also, check the Yes, I would like to receive exclusive offers on your latest wine discoveries if you want special offers included in your boxes. Screenshot of the steps 1 and 2 of the sign up process

  1. Introduce payment details: You have the option to pay via card or PayPal. Also, check the Save my details and Create an online account checkbox to create an online account. Otherwise, you won’t be able to customize your future cases or review the wines you receive.

  2. Complete the order: To complete the order, check the 2 checkboxes above the Place Order button. This is National Geographic Wine Club’s way to make sure you’ve read and understood what it means to be a member. Screenshot of the steps 3 and 4 of the sign up process

  1. Receive the order’s details: You’ll receive an email with your order’s confirmation and other details, like the tracking number and account login details.

Managing Your Subscription

You need an online account to manage your subscription (so make sure to tick that box during sign up). Once you log in, you can review the wines you received, organize your list of favorites (in case you want to re-order), delay a delivery, or skip a case.

If you want to change something in your case, you have to get in touch with the customer service team. You can cancel the subscription at any time by either calling the customer service team or using your online account.

Customer Service

You can contact the National Geographic Wine Club via phone, at 1-844-485-1027. There are no other contact channels, like an email address or a chat. Also, the site doesn’t specify the times the phone line is operational, so you have to try your luck.

How National Geographic Wine Compares to Other Wine Delivery Services

  • National Geographic Wine Club vs. Firstleaf: Both clubs offer globally curated bottles chosen by wine experts to match member preferences. However, Firstleaf sets itself apart with greater personalization through its tasting profile quiz. Additionally, Firstleaf provides complete freedom over shipment frequency, whether that’s monthly, every other month, or quarterly. Those wanting maximum control over wine selection and delivery schedules may find Firstleaf to be the slightly stronger option.

  • National Geographic Wine Club vs. Vinesse: Vinesse specializes in small-production, boutique labels that often represent excellent value. Vinesse partners directly with artisan winemakers to source interesting bottles recognized through competitions and past customer feedback. The goal is to make these distinctive wines more accessible. In contrast, National Geographic casts a wider net in countries like Italy, Chile, South Africa, and others without focusing solely on less mass-produced wines.

  • National Geographic Wine Club vs. The California Wine Club: While National Geographic ships curated wines from renowned regions around the globe, The California Wine Club takes a hyper-focused, specialized approach to small-production wineries within the state. Featuring mostly Californian labels, The California Wine Club helps artisan vintners reach broader audiences through its shipments.

The Bottom Line: Is National Geographic Wine Worth It?

If you like trying new and exciting wines from exotic areas of the world, yes. The National Geographic Wine is a great opportunity to discover new flavors and taste profiles without spending a fortune.

You’re wines will be selected for you, which may be a good thing if you’re not much of a wine connoisseur. The detailed tasting notes and food pairing suggestions will bring an extra layer of excitement and may even get you trying some new food as well as new wines.

If you’re not convinced or prefer to have full customization over your wine, check out our full list of the top wine delivery services for 2024.

Also, by becoming a member, you help support the National Geographic Society (they receive a portion of the profits) and its scientists, educators, and explorers. So, you’re doing something meaningful while getting to enjoy delicious wines. It’s a win-win situation!

FAQ

How much does a National Geographic Wine Club subscription cost?

The first case of 12 bottles + 2 bonus bottles with 2 glasses costs $64.99 plus shipping. After the first case, you’ll pay $164.99 for 12 bottles, delivered every 3 months. For each order, you’ll pay $19.99 in shipping plus any additional tax.

What happens if I don’t like a bottle of wine?

National Geographic Wine Club has a 100% money-back guarantee. So, if you don’t like how any of the wines taste, just call customer service and tell them about your problem. The club promises to refund you for any wine you don’t find enjoyable.

How do I cancel my subscription to National Geographic Wine Club?

The National Geographic Wine Club’s subscription is very flexible, and you can skip a delivery or cancel your membership anytime. To do so, you can use your online account or give customer service a call.

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