It’s easy to get overwhelmed by wine. It’s a category that’s thousands of years old, speaks many different languages, and increases by the minute.
In Washington state alone, the number of wineries has almost doubled over the last decade. However overwhelming picking the right bottle may be, there is a better way to buy one than simply going to the grocery store and staring aimlessly at the shelves. The answer is: Join a wine club. All of your favorite wineries have clubs attached, but if you really want to beef up your knowledge, join a club that lets you sample lots of grapes from many producers from all different regions. Below are three Seattle-based wine clubs to get you started.
The club for explorers: The Thirsty Club by Bottlehouse
Madrona’s favorite little house turned restaurant, Bottlehouse, has a club for people who want to explore the vast world of wine. The shop’s wine selection already varies between new world and old world, providing options at every price point, but the Thirsty Club takes it one step further. This members-only club is a yearly subscription that provides members with wine unavailable in Bottlehouse’s retail shop.
Curated by in-house sommeliers, members can choose between quarterly subscriptions of three or six themed bottles (for example, "island wines," "ancient regions," and "geeky bottles" have all been themes). Other perks include quarterly events for members, tasting notes on each bottle, pairing recipes, cheese recommendations, and plenty of discounts on everything Bottlehouse offers.
The everyday club: Left Bank Wine Clique
South Park’s newest addition, Left Bank, is the neighborhood’s first wine bar. Its wine club, the Left Bank Wine Clique, is a monthly subscription service that includes six bottles a month, accompanying tasting notes, and a curated soundtrack (available on Spotify). The wine club looks to mirror the shop itself—affordable, approachable, and fun.
Along with fantastic everyday-drinking wines, members receive a five percent discount on retail wine and invites to exclusive Left Bank Wine Clique events. The membership only runs about $80, which means that every bottle of wine averages roughly $13, making the Left Bank Wine Clique the most reasonable club in town.
The clubs of variety: Portalis Wine Club and Portalis Explores!:
Portalis offers two different wine clubs in order to appeal to all its customers. The first is for people who want to drink high-end, special wines from around the world. Owner Jens Strecker choses the wines based on one of three things: a specific wine region, a particular grape varietal, or one single winemaker/winery. This flexibility allows us the team to mix things up and surprise members with something new and different every month. The two bottle option will run you between $40-$60 a month, and three bottles will take you between $60-$90.
Portalis Explores! is the second wine club offered from this Ballard wine haven, and it's one for anyone on a budget. Consider this the right choice for newbies looking to learn or lovers of inexpensive bottles that taste great. The wine club features two bottles, totaling no more than $30 a month, from around the globe. That means $15 bottles of delicious red table wine from Spain, rosé from Provence, and acid-driven new world whites made for enjoying on a patio.