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The California Wine Club Review 2024: Too Pricey?

Author Chelsea Legay
Chelsea Legay
Updated on Jan 4th, 2024
Fact checked by Deborah Leigh

Overview

Casual wine drinkers and connoisseurs alike can appreciate The California Wine Club. It caters to all levels of wine lovers, offering a variety of membership options, wine varieties, and benefits to suit all preferences.

The California Wine Club provides you with hand-selected, artisanal wines from small, family-owned wineries you might never have discovered on your own. Each month, it will surprise you with exceptional bottles that showcase the region's unique terroir and the winemakers' passion and dedication.

Whether you're looking to expand your palate or build your wine collection or simply enjoy the best of California's winemaking, the Club has you covered. Ordering from the Club is like taking a personal tour of award-winning wineries along the West Coast without leaving your house. Read on to discover more about this wine delivery service.

Pros

Cons

6 wine club options with great variety
Not enough budget-friendly wines
Easily replace any wine you don’t love
Shipping costs aren’t included in prices
The Club supports family winemakers
Customization options vary between plans

Current deal – Save 50% on the wine in your first shipment with promo code SAVE50!

The California Wine Club’s Selection

The California Wine Club features different wines each month. Expert sommeliers hand-pick the bottles you’ll receive. If you have questions about your wines or want to change your shipment, you can reach out to customer service via live chat or phone

The Club has 5 standard plans (aka “clubs”), plus 1 for ordering cases. Each club features a different selection of wines. As the name suggests, there are plenty of Californian options, but the Club also includes wines from small-batch vineyards in Oregon, Washington, and across the globe.

  • Premier Series – The original and most popular club featuring small family wineries.

  • Signature Series – Offers some of California’s highest-rated premium wines.

  • International Series – Includes a selection of wines from around the world.

  • Aged Cabernet Series – Exclusively features Napa Cabernets aged 7-12 years.

  • Pacific Northwest Series – Features wines from Oregon and Washington.

  • Case Club Series – Option for ordering larger quantities of featured wines.

screenshot of The California Wine Club's Series descriptions
Each series offers a different variety of hand-selected wines to match your budget and flavor profile.

Once you’ve selected a Club Series, you can customize what types of wine you get. Each plan offers different customization options like number of bottles and whether you want reds, whites, or a mix of both. 

Membership with any Series includes a VIP tour and tasting at any of the Club’s featured vineyards. This is a great perk if you live on the West Coast and would love a relaxed weekend activity to enhance your subscription and sipping experience, and learn about how wine is made.

The Premier Series allows you to order a mix of reds or whites up to 2 bottles at a time. The bottles come from small, artisanal wineries based in California. I found this is the most affordable option and a great introduction to west coast wine flavor profiles.

The Signature Series includes fine wines from award-winning, small-batch vineyards. It’s a bit pricier than the Premier Series since the wines are produced in small batches, but you can order up to 4 bottles. They are some of the top-rated wines in California with at least 90 points or more, and they are mostly red wines with occasional whites.

The International Series offers 1 red and 1 white or 2 of the same reds from abroad. Argentina, France, Germany, Australia, and South Africa are a few places from which the Club sources wines for this plan. The International Series is best if you want access to more exotic wines.

The Aged Cabernet Series offers top-shelf Napa cabernets and is the priciest Club series. These wines are only sourced from Napa Valley and have been aged to perfection for 7–12 years. This includes 2 bottles that are ready to be uncorked, decanted, and enjoyed. 

The Pacific Northwest Series includes 2 wines from Oregon and Washington vineyards. Vineyards are family-owned and operated in some of the most prime winery locations in the Willamette Valley, Rogue Valley, Red Mountain, and Columbia River Gorge. You can get a classic Pinot Noir from Willamette or a Cabernet from the Columbia River Gorge.

The Case Club Series sends you 12 bottles per month – 3 each of 4 distinct wines. These selections are mostly from California with some Pacific Northwest wines in the mix as well. The Case Club is also the best deal per bottle of all the Club’s Series, making it great if you want to stock up on your table wines or for an upcoming party.

screenshot of 12 bottles from The California Club Wine Case Series.
This is the best deal for trying a variety of West coast reds and whites.

You can order a Series once or subscribe to monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly deliveries. This is great if you’d like to test out the service to see if it works for you, or if you’re unsure which wines fit your flavor profile. 

The Club lets you reorder your favorite bottles, depending on availability. Check the Wine Store tab to see what’s in stock. The minimum order is 6 bottles, but you can mix and match wines in order to meet it. 

Non-members can take advantage of this à la carte ordering as well, but members pay a lower shipping fee. Whether you have a subscription or not, you can only order à la carte wines in quantities of 6.

I also love that the service sends a copy of Uncorked magazine with each Series (except the case orders). Uncorked offers tasting notes about each wine in your order, food pairing strategies, and details about the vineyards. It’s accessible for wine newcomers as well as aficionados. 

screenshot of The California Wine Club's Uncorked magazine
You'll find information about the earth, weather, grapes, and aging process of each wine available through The California Wine Club.

There’s even a “Love It Guarantee” ensuring you get a refund for wines you don’t love. This is a great guarantee to let you explore your flavor profile risk-free. Sign up for deliveries monthly, every other month, or once each quarter, depending on how often you want to try something new.

How The California Wine Club Works

Signing up is straightforward on The California Wine Club website. There’s no app, but signing up is still pretty easy. I found customer service to be accessible and helpful if you have any questions.

How to Sign Up

  1. Select the Series, à la carte, or gift wines you want. For gift wines, you can choose a custom dollar amount or gift a monthly membership that will be charged to the card you provide. You can also order a la carte wines in increments of 6. Remember that ordering wines beyond your Series incurs an extra shipping fee. 

The California Wine Club Series selection page
This service offers multiple purchasing options.

  1. Select your wine types and delivery frequency. Each Series has different wine types and bottle amounts you can choose. Make sure you choose the type and frequency that works for you.

screenshot of choosing wines and delivery frequency from The California Wine Club
Each Series has different wine options, so make sure you choose what you want delivered.

  1. Enter shipping and billing address. 

screenshot of entering billing and shipping address a The California Wine Club delivery
Deliveries that aren't signed for will be returned and you'll be charged an extra $40 shipping fee.

  1. Choose a shipping method. 

Unboxing

Each delivery includes your carefully packaged bottles, invoice, and copy of Uncorked. Bottles arrive wrapped in paper for extra protection from breaking and extreme temperature changes. Your invoice will show what bottles arrived for your Series, and your Uncorked magazine will include details about your wines and their vineyards.

You can sip and learn with each delivery since you’ll receive different wines each month. Uncorked is a great resource to learn more about tasting notes, identifying the various parts of wine identity from nose to body to legs, and how each of those flavors came to be during the wine’s development process. 

The California Wine Club’s Top Wines

All wines are made on family-owned farms in small batches. Prices vary per bottle, and The Club’s website provides all the details you need about each bottle, including pairing suggestions.

Premier Series: Scotto Family Cellars 2021 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc

screenshot of Scotto Family Cellars 2021 Mohr-Fry Ranch Lodi Reserve Sauvignon Blanc available through The California Wine Club.
Tasting notes include, "Well balanced, and broad with structure and a long finish."

The Scotto Family Cellars 2021 Mohr-Fry Ranch Lodi Reserve Sauvignon Blanc is available in the Premier Series and on the a la carte list as long as supplies last. It’s considered one of the “best buys” over the years on the Club’s menu.

  • California State Fair Wine Competition: 93 points

  • Final Blend: 100% Sauvignon Blanc

  • Batch Size: Only 950 cases produced

  • Pairing suggestions: Seafood, chicken, creamy pastas, as a cocktail wine

  • Hold time: Now or within 2 years

Signature Series: Stolpman Vineyards 2019 Hilltops Syrah

screenshot of Stolpman Vineyards 2019 Estate Grown Hilltop Syrah available via The California Wine Club
Tasting notes include "Opaque, tarry, dark fruit kissed with lavender and backed with sage and mint."

The Signature Series’ Stolpman Vineyards 2019 Ballard Canyon Estate Grown Hilltops Syrah is a higher-priced wine than those found in the Premier Series. This is typically available for about $50 per bottle and is suggested to be held up to 6 years in your cellar.

  • Jeb Dunnuck rating: 93+ points

  • The Wine Advocate: 93 points

  • Final Blend: 100% Syrah

  • Batch Size: Only 490 cases produced

  • Pairing Suggestions: Red meat, especially duck or lamb

  • Hold Time: Drink now or hold up to 6 years

International Series: Butterworth Estate 2018 New Zealand Pinot Noir

Screenshot of a Butterworth Estate 2018 Pinot Noir available through The California Wine Club.
Tasting notes include, "the palate is spicy with great length...and ripe gypsum tannins."

The Butterworth Estate 2018 Julicher Te Muna Martinborough New Zealand Pinot Noir is a more affordable bottle. This pinot noir is typically available for $25 to $30 as a single bottle. You can order this when you select the International Series or when you order an à la carte box. 

  • Cameroon Douglas, MS: 94 Points/Excellent

  • Final Blend: 100% Pinot Noir

  • Batch Size: 800 cases

  • Pairing Suggestion: BBQ beef tenderloin

  • Hold Time: Drink now or hold up to 10 years

Shipping & Delivery

All orders incur shipping and handling fees and added logistics to receive your order. Shipping depends on order size and distance from the shipping location. The Club doesn’t offer any shipping estimates since fees vary for each order

Orders typically ship 2 days after you place them, or 1 day after if you choose to expedite for an added cost. Deliveries typically arrive within 2–7 days whether on the ground or in the air. The Club will delay shipment if there’s extreme weather in order to protect your wines. You’ll receive tracking info via email as soon as the delivery is en route with your local carrier. 

The Club doesn’t ship to all states and cities, so I suggest checking your zip code before selecting a Series. Once you type in your zip code, you’ll get a notification like the one below if you’re not able to receive wine shipments. 

screenshot of shipping and delivery page showing an undeliverable location
While the California Wine Club doesnt' ship to Mississippi or Utah due to state restrictions, it does ship to Alaska and Hawaii.

Because of alcohol laws, The Club requires someone 21+ years old to sign for deliveries. If someone of age isn’t available during the delivery window, the service recommends you call its support team for alternative delivery options.

screenshot of 21+ years signature requirement statement
The return shipping fee is very high, so best ensure you have someone 21+ years available to sign.

The Club takes many steps to maintain the quality of your wines during shipping. If you suspect there’s been any issue with the shipping and delivery of your order, you can reach out to customer service and discuss return options.

Customer Support

Customer service agents are available by phone, email, or live chat. I found live chat to be the best option if you want to browse the website and ask questions at the same time. The handy live chat window follows you on each page, so you won’t lose track of your conversation as you browse The Club’s pages. 

You can also speak on the phone with the agent you’re connected to on live chat. All you have to do is request that they call you so you can talk. I found this helpful when I had a few questions about membership shipping benefits and non-member shipping fees.

A few agents suggested we talk instead of type since speaking would be more efficient. I consider this great service since the agent took the initiative to make my customer support experience more convenient. Great customer support makes all the difference when signing up for a subscription delivery service, and The Club thoroughly impressed me.

Live agents via phone or chat are available Monday to Friday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Pacific Standard Time. If you need customer service outside of their normal hours, you can leave an email. However, when I left a few messages after customer service hours, I never received a response email, even in my spam folder. I recommend sticking to live chat and phone calls.

How to Cancel The California Wine Club Membership

The California Wine Club offers a user-friendly account management experience. You can track the wines you love, switch membership Series, adjust delivery frequency, reach out to customer service, and even cancel your membership through your online account. Just follow these steps:

  1. Log into the My Account page 

California Wine Club's account home page
Head to your account page to control your plans.

  1. Click on Make Changes to Existing Membership

California Wine Club's account page menu options
You can also update your info, rate your wines, and more from this menu.

  1. Cancel the club you are signed up for

California Wine Club's Membership Changes page
This page lists all of your previous orders.

Customer support is helpful for getting guidance or making changes to your account. Whenever I reached out during service hours, I was connected within 30 seconds. Each agent was knowledgeable about how memberships work and which wines I might prefer best.

Prices

Starting from

Minimum Order

Shipping Fee

Membership: $10.99 per bottle

2 bottles/week: $43.45

$16 shipping

$5 handling

A la carte with membership: price varies each month

6 bottles/week: 

price varies by bottle

$1 shipping

$5 handling

A la carte, no membership:

price varies each month

6 bottles/week: 

price varies by bottle

$38 shipping

$5 handling

A la carte with membership: price varies each month

12 bottles/week: 

price varies by bottle

$1 shipping

$5 handling

A la carte, no membership:

price varies each month

12 bottles/week: 

price varies by bottle

$42 shipping

$5 handling

The minimum order from The California Wine Club is 2 bottles from any non-case Series. What’s great about this service is it offers a range of Series to suit different budgets. With options ranging from the budget-friendly Premier Series to the expensive and prestigious Aged Cabernet Series, there's a club for you. 

Subscription Series always incur a shipping fee of $16 shipping and $5 handling. This is a significant shipping fee if you’re looking for a budget-friendly wine delivery service. That means the most affordable Premier Series actually costs a total of $64.45 – or about $32.23 per bottle.

The California Wine Club’s à la carte options include a wide range of prices, but remember that you have to order a minimum of 6 bottles. The selection changes regularly, and you can easily filter the menu by price, region, varietal, and more. Members get a steep discount on shipping for these orders.

Series

Minimum Price 

(excluding shipping & handling)

Number of Bottles

Premier Series

$43.45

2

Signature Series

$139.00

2

International Series

$81.00

2

Aged Cabernet Series

$289.00

2

Pacific Northwest Series

$76.00

2

Case Club Series

$168

12

Case Club Series (Red Only)

$180

12

Case Club Series (Reserve Reds Only)

$780.00

12

Gift Subscription

screenshot of a California Wine Club gift note
With California Wine Club's selection of wines, Series, and price points available, you'll find a gift for anyone on your list.

The Club is more than prepared with gift set options and gift memberships. You can also purchase gift cards or eGift certificates in any amount. These are all available on the website, and you can contact customer service to arrange for branded corporate gifts.

Gift Set

Minimum Price

Number of Bottles

California Lovers

$43.45

2

Taste of the Pacific Northwest

$73

2

Old World Classics

$81

2

Organic Favorites

$120.45

4

Napa Reserve Cabernet

$300

3

12 Bottle Gift Set

$168

12

12 Bottle Gift Set (Red Only)

$180

12

12 Bottle Reserve Reds

$780

12

Anyone can order a gift set, but members get the special $1 shipping price per delivery. Everyone still pays the $5 handling fee, but that $1 shipping price is a $15 discount per order once you sign up for a monthly delivery.

There’s no minimum order or dollar amount for California Wine Club gifts or e-gifts. This makes finding a gift that fits your budget super convenient. But remember – someone aged 21+ years must be available at the recipient’s home to sign for the delivery. 

The Bottom Line: Is The California Wine Club Worth It?

The California Wine Club is worth it if you love small-batch west coast wines. The Club specializes in California reds, but you’ll also find California whites, Pacific Northwest wines, and a selection of international wines.

The Club is great for trying new, hand-selected wines from abroad, since you’ll find wines from France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, New Zealand, and more each month. It’s also worth it if you’ve found a wine you love and want to reorder it, or speak with knowledgeable customer service agents who can recommend a similar wine.

FAQ

What is the California Wine Club and how does it work?

The California Wine Club is a subscription service that delivers small-batch wines from family-owned wineries in California. By subscribing to CWC, you can choose from a variety of club levels and receive monthly shipments of unique, artisanal wines that are not easily found in stores. Members also get access to special discounts, tasting notes, and a personal wine consultant

Which is the best California wine club?

California Wine Club is one of the top wine clubs serving California. It offers several membership levels, each designed for different tastes and budgets. From the Premier Series for everyday wines to the Aged Cabernet Series for wine enthusiasts seeking exclusive, aged wines, there's a club level suitable for everyone.

Can I send a wine club membership as a gift?

Absolutely! A CWC membership makes for a unique and tasteful gift for any wine lover. You can choose the club level, duration, and start date for the gift membership, and even include a personalized gift message. The recipient will enjoy their hand-selected wines along with the benefits of being a club member.

How do I cancel or change my California Wine Club membership?

You can cancel your membership through your account login or with customer service over the phone, live chat, or email. Customer service can help you modify your club level, shipping frequency, or even pause your membership if needed.

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