So you appear well-raised

Month: March 2020

Wine Clubs: How to Pick One

Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

Most wineries are considered small businesses. Personally, I like supporting small businesses and I want the ones I love to do well.

When it comes to wineries, one of the best ways to do that is through their wine clubs. Just about every winery has some sort of wine club. Most often, you sign up and the winery picks a few wines for you every month or every quarter and you can go get them or they mail them to you.

No lie, it took me and my husband 9 years to figure out which winery we wanted to have a membership to. We went to a lot of GREAT wineries! A good problem to have, I think. Hopefully, it won’t take you as long. Here are a few tips to help you to evaluate various wine clubs.

  1. Make sure you like at least 90% of their wine. Your wine club picks will come from their tasting menu along with a few that aren’t available to the public. If you only like one or two of a list of say 8 wines, that’s not enough for you to get a membership. Some wineries let you pick whites, reds, sweets, or a mix. The particular winery club we joined does a fantastic job with reds, which accounts for most of their tasting. Their whites are hit or miss. So we picked the “Reds Only” option and have been quite pleased.
  2. Quantity. How much wine can you drink? How often do they ship? If you aren’t drinking that much wine, make sure you have a good place to store it properly. I typically have about 6 or 7 bottles of wine on hand. Various kinds. If I am getting 3 or 4 bottles a month, I need to make sure I’m enjoying at least a few bottles every month.
  3. Pricing. While this is not super expensive, it’s a line item in your budget. It can be right around $100 a month. Are you willing to spend that every month? You benefit the most with a long, sustained membership. Some wineries let you skip months or hold the wine for a specific amount of time. Be sure to ask about that.
  4. Other perks. Besides the wine shipment itself, you get to enjoy other perks. Free tastings, exclusive member events, discounts on food and public events. Wineries are really getting creative with wooing members. They know that you can always take your business elsewhere, so they try to make membership very attractive by rolling out the red carpet.
  5. Ambiance of the winery. Do you want to hang out there? One of your perks might be a members-only area or discounts on food. If you like hanging out there, this can be a great place to entertain friends and family.

I recommend not deciding on a membership until you’re all-the-way sober. I worked at a winery and I can’t tell you how many people I sold wine club memberships to that were a little tipsy right after a 10-wine tasting (with generous pours!). You’ll want to evaluate the winery after you’ve gone home and had some time to think and sober up.

I know people that are members of several wineries. This is my goal. Hell, it took me 9 years to decide on ONE winery, give me time to pick other ones.

Money Matters

Money seems to be the last thing people want to talk about in polite society. You don’t want to offend anyone. It’s considered gauche to ask someone how much their possessions cost.

Can I get real here for a minute? It’s a HUGE pet peeve of mine when people talk about money. Now I don’t mean talking salaries and such with girlfriends or networking groups, because studies have shown that that’s helpful when salary negotiations come up. Also, that seems to be the appropriate setting. No. I’m talking about something TOTALLY different.

Look, whatever you spend on something is what you spend. I’m not in your pockets unless you’re asking for something out of mine. That being said, don’t worry about what I spend on things. I’m a bargain shopper. On my grave will likely be the words, “I have a coupon for that!” Because I rarely pay full price for anything. But even if I overpaid by a bajillion dollars for every single thing I own, it’s not anyone’s business.

I hope everyone is out there spending within their means. Sure, I would love a YSL bag. But the $3k+ price tag won’t cut it for me. I see plenty of my friends and associates with them. It’s not my business how they got them. They could have been gifts. They could have robbed a liquor store. They could have saved for it. Regardless, I like the bag and I’ll tell them that and say no more. Because how they obtained said bag has nothing to do with me.

What really blows my mind is how people will make flippant comments where you have to defend your spending. Story time. I was planning my son’s first birthday party. I knew it was going to be a big one. I knew I’d be going as “all out” as my funds would allow. Someone asked me about what I was doing, so I shared my plans. Their response was something to the effect of, “That’s so much! I would have just had some hamburgers and hotdogs at the house and invited a few people over to watch him smash a cake.” Ummmm, ok. There’s nothing wrong with that plan, but it wasn’t what I was doing and I shouldn’t have been put in a position where I had to defend what I was spending money on.

Money is one of those contentious topics one should be careful when speaking about. What I deem important, someone else may not. It’s just not my business what is a “must” line item in your budget where that same thing may be discretionary spending in mine. More and more, as people are prioritizing self-care, that may show up in very different ways. Spa, shopping, books, social events. Whatever it is, it’s theirs. Unless someone makes your budget part of theirs, do me a favor and “don’t care.”

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