A wine subscription makes for a wonderful present. We’ve lined up three of the best wine club operations, so that in the act of giving, you’re not condemning someone to 12 months of disappointment.
Berry Bros & Rudd
You know you’re in safe hands with Berry Bros & Rudd, a company that can trace its wine merchant roots back to the reign of William of Orange.
Its wine club has four levels. ‘Bourne’ is the bottom end, with a mixed case (three pairs of whites and three pairs of reds) costing £120 (expect wines like a £13.95 2014 Barbera D’Asti by Laiolo Reginin), rising up to £300 per case for top level ‘Wellington’ (containing tipples such as a £23.95 2011 Toolangi Vineyards Estate Chardonnay). The wines are accompanied by elegantly produced taste and pairing notes. Membership also brings a 10 per cent discount on anything bought online.
Berry Bros has chosen to incentivise the gifter this year with the promise of a free bottle of its Own Selection Champagne if they purchase the wine club as a gift between now and 21 December. A personalised letter is provided to wrap and place beneath the tree, and the giftee will receive their first case on 23 January, thus proving – yet again – that any attempt at a ‘dry January’ is a fool’s errand.
Le Petit Ballon
With the former head sommelier at The Ritz, Paris – Jean-Michel Deluc – selecting two delectable bottles of wine per month, it’s no wonder online wine shop Le Petit Ballon has shot up to 40,000 subscribers for its wine club – and the French company has set its sights on the UK.
Access to its superbly executed wine programme has been made all the easier through a selection of three, six, and 12-month gift subscriptions. Starting from £74.70 for a three-month package, both bottles of wine come complete with respective tasting notes as well as the brand’s wine magazine, The Gazette, which features recommended food and wine pairings, recipes, travel guides, and other wine-associated titbits.
As a bonus to the standard subscription gift, this Christmas Le Petit Ballon will also deliver a present with every gift card: either a bottle of wine or a tasting kit that includes two wine glasses, a Le Petit Ballon bottle opener, and tasting notes.
Averys of Bristol
For the Bordeaux obsessive, Averys of Bristol’s Claret Club is a fine port of call. Quarterly cases cost from £105 and include wines such as an intense Château Picheron 2010 Bordeaux or a fruity Château Fournas Bernadotte 2004 Haut Médoc.
The wine merchant has a long history in Bordeaux and built its substantial reputation on being a specialist in the region. The club’s mission statement claims to compile a parcel of claret that offers the best combination of ‘authenticity, value and clarity’.