In recent years, I’ve tried to get away from buying “stuff” for my family and friends on the various gift-giving occasions. We’re settling down now, but there was a time when most of my loved ones were transient, and sometimes the last thing you need is another picture frame, set of mugs or life-sized stuffed ptarmigan.
Presents of charitable donations, experiences or consumables are generally greatly appreciated by the recipient and don’t take up much closet space. Concert or sports tickets, gift certificates for a favourite restaurant, specialty or handmade food items and, of course, bottles of wine are never in the wrong colour or size — the giftee is almost guaranteed to use and enjoy them.
Wine club memberships are a nice splurge gift for the oenophile or enthusiastic neophyte in your life. Most clubs offer a range of time commitments and price points to accommodate your budget. To get you started in your search, we’ve compiled a list of wine clubs across the country, featuring a variety of offerings.
BC Wine Club (Province-wide) — One red and one white each month, drawn from the province’s 200+ wineries. Delivers all over the province, but shipping charges apply.
Vinomania (Edmonton) — Subscriptions range from the basic one red and one white bottle each month ($200 for three months) to the Cellar Club, which features three cellar-worthy wines each month ($750 for three months). Subscriptions must be picked up at the store.
Wine Collective (Calgary) — One-time gifts or monthly subscriptions available, with price points starting at $45/month.
Cava Wine-of-the-Month (Saskatoon) — Available only to members of the Cava Wine Club — Cava being a new private wine store in Saskatoon. Six “seasonally appropriate” bottles each month, with the average price of each bottle around $25. A minimum one-year commitment is necessary.
DeLuca Fine Wines (Winnipeg) — This club offers four levels of subscription, including the President’s Club, which gets members a case of rare, collection-worthy wines every quarter. Shipping is free in Winnipeg, but the club will hold wines for pickup for those outside the city.
Winery to Home (Province-wide) — 11 subscription choices, ranging from Exploration ($39/month for two bottles, either red, white or one of each) to The Cellar Butler ($155/month for three reds and three whites). All Ontario wines, many limited releases.
Premier Wine and Spirits (Province-wide) — Three levels of commitment (bronze, silver and gold), topping out at $55 per month, for two bottles. Sample bottles cover a range of regions and varietals.
Opimian — For your wine-loving friend who has everything. You purchase a membership ($40 initiation fee, $69 annual fee, plus applicable provincial taxes) and then the lucky recipient is part of Opimian’s wine-buying co-operative, with access to some bottles available nowhere else in the country.
Photo: Thomas Parisot