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The Top 5 Willamette Valley Wine Clubs

Sequitur Cellar Room in Ribbon Ridge

Your Passport to Willamette Valley’s Best Wine Clubs

If the rolling hills and luscious Pinot Noir of Oregon’s Willamette Valley are capturing your imagination, then it’s time to think beyond the tasting glass. As you meander from one vineyard to another in this idyllic region, you’ll hear whispers of exclusive wine clubs. They are the valley’s well kept secrets. Perhaps it’s a tantalizing wine available only to club members that piques your interest or the infectious enthusiasm of friends who can’t stop talking about their new winery memberships.

Here are our recommendations if you want to jump right ahead:

Our Five Favorite Willamette Valley Wine Clubs

  1. Domaine Divio: A Confluence of Oregon Spirit and Burgundian Tradition
  2. Élevée: Terroir as Scripture
  3. Winderlea: Where Winemaking Meets Utopia
  4. Shea Wine Cellars: A Legacy in Every Bottle
  5. Bergstrom: A Collective Approach to Wine Enjoyment

Bonus Section: Willamette Valley’s Premium Wine Clubs

  1. Beaux Frères: The Epitome of Oregon Pinot Noir
  2. Antica Terra

Willamette Valley: Where Wine Clubs Are More Than Just a Subscription

So, what exactly are these much-discussed wine clubs? Essentially, they’re the wineries’ way of rolling out the red carpet for their most valued patrons. Members are spoiled with periodic shipments of curated wines—think of them as little love letters from the vineyards that arrive a few times a year. These shipments can even be customized to your palate and lifestyle, allowing for an incredibly personalized experience. And it doesn’t just stop at wine delivery.

These memberships come packed with a myriad of benefits, varying from one winery to the next. While some clubs offer member-exclusive discounts, others throw in complimentary tastings or invite you to members-only events like winemaker dinners and exclusive pickup parties. Fancy a special reserve or an experimental bottle? Many times, these rarities are tucked away just for club members to savor.

Far from being just a transactional experience, these wine clubs can also serve as social catalysts, connecting you with fellow wine enthusiasts during special events and pickup days. So, if a visit to the Willamette Valley leaves you smitten with a particular winery, inquire about their wine club. It’s more than just a subscription; it’s a lasting relationship with a winery you adore, ensuring that your next sip of this magnificent region’s offerings is never too far away.

Before we toast to our top 5 wine clubs in the Willamette Valley, let’s uncork the history of wine clubs in the United States.

The Heritage of Wine Clubs: A Quick U.S. Backstory

The inaugural chapter of this tale dates back to 1972, courtesy of Paul Kalemkiarian Sr. He founded what is now known as the oldest wine club in the U.S., the “Wine of the Month Club” in California. This pioneer quickly gained worldwide acclaim, delivering both domestic and international wines to a growing membership base. Beyond wines, members also enjoyed perks like gift baskets and special discounts on wine accessories.

Did you know…🤔 The “Wine Club of the Month” was founded as “the first mail-order wine club in America.

Since those formative years, wine clubs have blossomed across the nation. Elite names like the New York Times wine club and Williams-Sonoma now offer memberships that can exceed $90. Not to be outdone, innovative ventures like Winc Wine Club have focused on drawing in millennials with enticing offers, such as three bottles of wine at $13 each per month. Similarly, the Plonk Wine Club captivates its members with four bottles of wine for three months at $330. It’s worth noting that while many clubs offer similar benefits, they vary widely in pricing and scheduling.

Wine club cellar at Robert Mondavi winery
The iconic Robert Mondavi Winery

 

This trend reached a fever pitch during the 1970s and 1980s, when luminaries like Robert Mondavi in Napa Valley championed the idea, offering aficionados exclusive access to limited-production wines and educational resources. 

What makes wine clubs so crucial?

Beyond being a subscription service, wine clubs wear many hats within the fine wine industry:

  • Direct to Consumer Sales: By bypassing traditional distribution channels, wineries have the luxury of selling directly to eager consumers.
  • Building Loyalty: The allure of exclusive perks and special events transforms casual buyers into loyal patrons.
  • Educational Aspects: From tasting notes to food pairings, these clubs make wine education a fundamental part of the membership experience.
  • Curated Experiences: Tailoring wine selections to members’ preferences, these clubs introduce wine lovers to a broad spectrum of flavors and styles.

In the context of Willamette Valley, wine clubs amplify these roles, adding a regional flair that combines the valley’s distinct terroir with a commitment to customer education and satisfaction.

Old World Roots Meet New World Innovation

It’s worth noting that the concept of wine clubs has a kindred spirit in the Old World. In places like Bordeaux, France, the tradition of buying wine futures—known as “en primeur”—offers a parallel to our modern club memberships. Both systems provide early access to limited-availability wines, although the Old World system often serves as an investment vehicle, while American wine clubs focus more on immediate enjoyment.

Is Joining a Wine Club a Toast-Worthy Investment? Especially in Willamette Valley?

Absolutely, yes! When you unearth that ideal wine club tailored to your taste buds and lifestyle, the value becomes as clear as a glass of Willamette Valley’s finest Pinot Noir.

Picture this: each bottle arriving at your doorstep feels like a personalized journey through the rolling hills and vineyards of Oregon’s famed Willamette Valley—a region renowned for its luscious, complex wines. This level of curated experience often eclipses the randomness of grabbing a bottle off the shelf at your local supermarket or big box store.

Being part of this “inner wine circle” showers you with several luxuries:

  • Savvy Savings: Membership frequently comes paired with discounts that make you forget all about suggested retail prices, especially on Willamette Valley varietals that can sometimes carry a premium.
  • Your Personal Sommelier: Enjoy a VIP tour of the vast world of wines, including exclusive peeks into Willamette Valley’s unique terroir, all from the comfort of your home.
  • Hassle-Free Happiness: Many clubs, particularly those centered around the Willamette Valley, offer satisfaction guarantees. If a certain Pinot Noir or Chardonnay doesn’t resonate with your palate, you’re not saddled with regret.
Chardonnay Grapes
Chardonnay grapes at harvest time in the Willamette Valley

Consider the additional allure of having the Willamette Valley experience delivered right to your door. So, if you’re eager to immerse yourself in the aromatic and flavorful nuances of Oregon’s premier wine region, don’t hesitate to explore the numerous Willamette Valley wine clubs. Each club is a unique journey into the region’s viticultural soul, offering not just a bottle but a comprehensive experience that caters to both your palate and your sense of community.

How to Choose the Perfect Wine Club in Willamette Valley

Selecting a wine club in the picturesque Willamette Valley of Oregon requires more than just clicking the “Join Now” button. The decision should be as thoughtful and customized as the wines themselves. Here are some key factors to consider that will guide you towards a wine club experience that’s as rich and fulfilling as a glass of Willamette’s renowned Pinot Noir.

1. Align Your Budget and Preferences

First and foremost, align your financial commitment with your love for wine. Are you an aficionado chasing the highest calibers of viticulture, or are you more of a casual sipper focused on quantity for social gatherings? Willamette Valley offers a range of wine clubs to fit various budgets and quality preferences.

2. Assess Your Wine Wisdom

How wine-savvy are you? Your level of expertise—or lack thereof—should inform how much guidance you seek from your chosen wine club. Willamette Valley wine clubs often offer in-depth advice and educational materials. Decide how much guidance you’ll need to enrich your wine journey, and choose a club that offers the right balance of advice and independence.

3. Know Your State’s Shipping Laws

Navigating the labyrinthine landscape of wine shipping laws can feel like a maze. Laws on shipping alcohol can differ dramatically from one state to another, so ensure it’s legal to have Willamette Valley wines shipped to your location before sealing the deal.

4. Look for Comprehensive Tasting Notes

Whether you’re a newbie wine drinker or a seasoned oenophile, detailed tasting notes can deepen your appreciation of wine. Willamette Valley wine clubs usually provide insightful information about grape varietals, aroma profiles, tannin levels, vintages, and even the specific vineyards the grapes were harvested from. This wealth of knowledge adds another layer of enjoyment to your wine experience.

5. Scrutinize Membership Terms

With wine clubs, not all that glitters is grape. Before committing, dig deep into the fine print to understand the true value of your membership. Are the wines genuinely discounted? What are the cancellation and customization policies, and is there a satisfaction guarantee? Willamette Valley wine clubs differ in their terms, so choose one that aligns with your long-term wine goals.

After you’ve navigated these considerations, the last delightful task is to pick your wine community and settle on your perfect Wine Club. So, without further ado, here are our Top 5 hand-picked recommendations for Wine Clubs in the Willamette Valley.

Our Five Favorite Willamette Valley Wine Clubs

1. Domaine Divio: A Confluence of Oregon Spirit and Burgundian Tradition

At Domaine Divio, “family” transcends the mere semantics of the word—it shapes the very essence of their wine club experience. 

Domaine Divio Wine Club
Women’s group tasting at Domaine Divio in late summer

This unique winery marries the adventurous spirit of Oregon’s Willamette Valley with the age-old winemaking traditions of Burgundy. As a club member, you’re not just another consumer; you’re part of an intimate community that cherishes the finer things in life, like storytelling around a table laden with exceptional wines. 

With three meticulously curated club tiers—Ambassadeur for the seasoned aficionado, En Primeur for the burgeoning collector, and En Route for those looking to dip their toes in the world of fine wines—you’ll find a membership tailored to your level of wine appreciation.

Here’s a link to join.

2. Élevée: Terroir as Scripture

Elevee best club outing
Elevee Vineyard tasting room in the Dundee Hills AVA with the well known garden lavender in the foreground.

For Élevée, the soil is as much a part of the wine as the grapes themselves. They champion the concept of ‘terroir,’ or the unique interplay between the vine and its environment. The Silver Fir and Gold Fir memberships not only offer customizable shipments of their spellbinding Pinot Noirs and Rieslings but also give you an opportunity to be a student of the soil. Élevée’s commitment to sustainable winegrowing ensures that each bottle captures the untamed essence and individual personality of its specific vineyard site.

Here’s a link to join.

3. Winderlea: Where Winemaking Meets Utopia

Winderlea Wine Club
Couple celebrating on the deck of Winderlea Vineyard and Winery

The name Winderlea conjures images of a whimsical place where wind dances through meadows and wine flows like water—a paradise for any oenophile. Here, you’re not just joining a wine club; you’re entering a haven that combines the rustic allure of the vineyard with the comforts of home. Their array of society memberships is versatile and flexible, allowing you to handpick your wine experiences. Each curated bottle serves as a passport, inviting you to traverse the idyllic landscapes of their vineyards, all from the comfort of your home.

Here’s a link to join.

4. Shea Wine Cellars: A Legacy in Every Bottle

Over three decades of love, care, and dedication to viticulture are poured into each bottle at Shea Wine Cellars. Becoming a member of their Vintner or Harvest Club means you’re embracing more than just a selection of wines; you’re inheriting a piece of Shea’s rich history and their endless passion for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Shea makes every club experience intimate, from the hand-selected bottles to curated tasting experiences, transforming each sip into a voyage through time and terroir.

Here’s a link to join.

Grape Harvest at Shea Wine Cellars
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes harvested and waiting on the crush pad at Shea Wine Cellars

5. Bergstrom: A Collective Approach to Wine Enjoyment

At Bergstrom, the wine club experience extends beyond the individual to nourish a collective, community-driven ethos. Modeled after the concept of a farm share, or CSA, the Bergstrom wine club isn’t just a transaction; it’s an invitation to become a part of a likeminded community. The winery offers a range of memberships designed to meet various consumer needs, from the casual drinker to the hardcore collector. They even go the extra mile by offering a ‘Create Your Own Club’ option, giving you the freedom to explore and discover Bergstrom wines on your own terms.

Here’s a link to join.

For a quick comparison, here’s a snapshot of all the membership tiers across these 5 top wine clubs in the Willamette Valley.

WineryMembership TiersShipments/YearNo. of BottlesCustomizable?Special Features
Domaine DivioAmbassadeur, En Primeur, En Route312/6/4NoPriority access to limited wines, welcome gifts
ÉlevéeSilver Fir, Gold Fir212/6YesAccess to past vintages, futures, & events
WinderleaCollector Society, Vintner Society, etc.312/6YesFirst access to all wines, private sales, & elevated experiences
Shea Wine CellarsVintner Club, Harvest Club212/6NoFirst access to library wines, complimentary entry to winery events
BergstromPremiere, Quintessence, and Magnum3/3/212/6/3 MagnumsYesFirst access to limited wines, custom club creation

Bonus-Section: Willamette Valley’s Premium Wine Clubs

For the serious collectors whose cellar never lacks a treasured bottle or two (or a few dozen), we would like to introduce two of Willamette Valley’s premium wine clubs. These are the crème de la crème offerings that provide not just wine but an entire sensory journey. Here’s a detailed breakdown of two of the most exceptional clubs in the Willamette Valley.

1. Beaux Frères: The Epitome of Oregon Pinot Noir

Michael Etzel founded Beaux Frères in 1991, perched atop Ribbon Ridge. It’s a family affair, with Etzel’s son Mike taking the helm as the current winemaker. 

Beaux Frères Tasting Room
The old pig farm. The classic tasting room at Beaux Freres Vineyards in the Ribbon Ridge AVA.

What was once a pig farm discovered on a family vacation has metamorphosed into a haven for some of Oregon’s most exquisite Pinots. Now talking about their Wine Club here’s what they offer currently:

Wine Club Offerings:

  • Enthusiast Membership:
    • Six bottles per shipment, twice a year.
    • Cost: Approx. $625 per shipment, plus shipping based on location.
    • Perks include complimentary tastings for four guests and a private tour, as well as access to exclusive events.
  • Collector Membership:
    • Twelve bottles per shipment + one magnum, twice a year.
    • Cost: Approx. $1465 per shipment with complimentary ground shipping.
    • All the perks of the Enthusiast level, with the added benefit of priority access to event tickets and library releases.

Pros and Cons:

  • Pros: Early access to all wines, including rare and signature Estate single vineyard Pinot Noirs and barrel reserve selections.
  • Cons: High price point, with shipping costs that can add up for the Enthusiast tier.

Our Recommendation: For serious Pinot Noir aficionados, Beaux Frères offers an unparalleled experience, making the price tag worthwhile.

2. Antica Terra

The final Bonus Wine Club membership on our list brings us to the fertile grounds of Antica Terra. The vineyard’s geology is truly extraordinary, distinct from most regions. While other vineyards boast relatively young soils from Missoula floods or volcanic activities, Antica Terra sits atop an ancient seabed, with vines struggling through a cracked mixture of sandstone littered with marine fossils from 40 million years ago. 

The above-ground scenery at Antica Terra is equally captivating, characterized by exposed rock, steep grades, and sweeping views that give a sense of dramatic scale. A consistent west wind breezes through, intensifying at night, causing temperature shifts of up to fifty degrees. Despite being planted in 1989, the vines at Antica Terra, constrained by solid rock, appear surprisingly young and undersized, producing petite clusters of thick-skinned berries. This demanding environment requires meticulous care, offering in return the opportunity for unparalleled wine production reflective of the vineyard’s unique character and commitment to excellence.

Antica Terra offers a unique experience through its Collective Membership. With a focus on rare and finite wines that inspire and illuminate their winemaking process, membership in the Collective is highly sought after and, therefore, currently at capacity. If you have a passion for exclusive and exquisite wines, it’s worth joining the waitlist for an opportunity to become a part of this exclusive club.

Wine Club Offerings:

Arcturus Membership (Waitlist):

  • One Bottle Monthly (Exclusively Red Wine)
  • Cost: $140 per month, with shipping included.
  • Shipped twice annually, around April and October.

Circinus Membership (Waitlist):

  • One Bottle Monthly (Variety: Red, White, Rosé, and Sparkling)
  • Cost: $140 per month, with shipping included.
  • Shipped twice annually, around April and October.

Boötes Membership (Waitlist):

  • Two Bottles Monthly (Exclusively Red Wine)
  • Cost: $250 per month, with shipping included.
  • Shipped twice annually, around April and October.

Eridanus Membership (Waitlist):

  • Two Bottles Monthly (Variety: Red, White, Rosé, and Sparkling)
  • Cost: $250 per month, with shipping included.
  • Shipped twice annually, around April and October.

Each membership level offers carefully curated wines that reflect what the Antica Terra team loves to drink. The wines are hand-selected, with each shipment including a limited edition printed piece and full details on the included wines. 

Please note that Antica Terra and Lillian wines are not included in these subscriptions.

Pros: Exclusive access to rare and exquisite wines, curated by experts with a deep understanding and passion for winemaking. The cost includes shipping, and members receive detailed information about each wine they receive. Cons: High price point and no inclusion of Antica Terra or Lillian wines in the subscription. Membership is also limited, with a waitlist in place.

Shea Wine Cellars new club members
A group of friends tasting at Shea Wine Cellars in Yamhill-Carlton AVA of Willamette Valley

Our Recommendation: For wine enthusiasts and collectors who appreciate exploring unique and hard-to-find wines, the Antica Terra Collective Membership offers an exceptional and distinctive experience, making the wait and price worthwhile.

Here’s a link to join.

Here’s a comparison table for the two premium wine clubs:

 
Feature Beaux Frères Antica Terra
Membership OptionsEnthusiast, CollectorArcturus, Circinus, Boötes, Eridanus
Bottles per Shipment6 (Enthusiast), 12 + 1 magnum (Collector) 1 (Arcturus & Circinus), 2 (Boötes & Eridanus)
Shipment FrequencyTwice per YearMonthly (Shipped Twice Annually)
Price$625 (Enthusiast), $1465 (Collector), per shipment

$140 (Arcturus & Circinus), $250 (Boötes & Eridanus)

per month 

Shipping CostBased on Location (Free for Collector)Included in Price
Complimentary TastingsYes (For 4 Guests)Not Specified
Exclusive AccessYes (Collector)Yes (All Levels)
ProsEarly access to wines, Exclusive AccessExclusive, Rare Wines Detailed Info Provided
ConsHigh Price, Shipping for EnthusiastHigh Price, Waitlist, No Antica Terra/Lillian

The world of wine is one that is as complex as it is delightful. Whether you’re a casual sipper or a dedicated connoisseur, joining a wine club can be an enthralling gateway into the Wineverse. It’s about more than just the convenience of having bottles shipped to your door or the exclusivity of being among the first to taste new vintages. It’s about being a part of a community that appreciates the craftsmanship, the artistry, and the story behind each bottle.

So why join a wine club? Because it elevates your wine experience from a mere pastime to a passionate pursuit. The clubs we’ve highlighted—especially the premium options—are not just about wine; they are about an experience.

You’re offered an insider’s look at the world of winemaking and the opportunity to share in the traditions and innovations that make each vineyard unique. And most of all, it offers you the joy of discovery with each bottle, turning each sip into a new chapter in your ongoing journey to discover the best the wine world has to offer.

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