Last Updated on

Wine clubs offer something for everyone! Regardless of whether you are a seasoned wine taster with a developed palate or a novice who is wanting to explore the world of wine, we recommend giving a wine club service a try. A wine club membership will allow you to enjoy a diverse tasting experience from the comfort of your own home. Being a wine club member will give you access to wines that are commonly not available via normal retail outlets. The wine club industry is one that has developed rapidly over the last decade and if you are new to the idea, then it can be overwhelming knowing where to start.

At the Wine Club Review, we offer a place where you can find in-depth company reviews and comparisons that will allow you to work out which company might suit you best. Today we are going to be conducting another one of our very helpful wine club comparisons. We will be looking at the California wine club and the Gold Medal wine club. We think highly of both these services, but they offer quite different wine club experiences, so let’s get started with our comparison.

Company overviews:

The California wine club has been around since 1990. It is passionate about California wines and connecting its members to the best boutique wineries from the California wine region. For those of you who have an interest in international wines, their wine list includes global wines. In addition to California wines, you will be able to taste wines from countries such as Spain, France, and Australia. They offer a diverse selection of club levels which makes it a great choice for either the novice or seasoned wine taster.

The Gold Medal wine club is one of the most established in America with over 25 years of experience. It is focused on delivering the best wines that the California wine region has to offer. Their preference is on finding award-winning wines from small-batch, family-owned wineries. Gold Medal offers you an experience that you will not find in your local wine store. They have six different club levels and they only include award-winning wines in their collection.

Who are the clubs for?

As both clubs offer an extensive range of club levels, they are suitable for novices and experienced tasters alike.

Main benefits:

California wine club:

  • Personal wine consultants who are on hand to understand your preferences
  • Pay only $1 on shipping for any reorders of your favorite wines.
  • Up to 50% discount on reorders.
  • A large variety of club levels to suit your needs.
  • VIP Tours at featured wineries along with a detailed travel guide to the California wine country.
  • ‘My Wine Cellar’ provides your very own personalized online club experience. Here you can build your ideal wine selection.

Gold Medal wine club:

  • The club only features award-winning and highly rated wines.
  • Highly regarded California wines, all from family-owned boutique operations.
  • A large variety of club levels to suit your needs.
  • A membership rewards program that provides up to 40% off all wine orders.
  • A tasting experience that is enhanced by a full-color publication that is included in every shipment.
  • No lock-in contracts or monthly dues.

The wine club plans:

The California wine club has five different club levels:

  1. Premier series: This is their original wine club level which provides two bottles of wines a month. These award-winning wines are solely from the California wine country.
  2. Signature series: This level is suited to those with a more developed palate. The Signature series provides two bottles of wines per month that are highly limited. The wines include award-winning and coveted California wines that are the highest-rated wines from the region.
  3. International series: This level is suited to those of you who would like to try wines from all over the globe. The International series provides two bottles of wines sourced from boutique international wineries.
  4. Aged Cabernet series: This level is for the connoisseur and provides two bottles of prestigious Napa Valley Cabernets. These wines have been aged for a minimum of 8 years and are ready now for your enjoyment.
  5. Pacific Northwest series: As the name would suggest, this level is all about the best wines from the Oregon and Washington wine region. This level provides two bottles of wines per month.

The Gold Medal wine club has six different club levels:

  1. Gold wine club: This club includes two bottles of wine every month that have been sourced from California’s best boutique wineries. These wines are highly awarded and hard to find. This club is the most popular of the Gold Medal wine club options.
  2. Platinum wine club: This club is more suited for those of you who know your way around the world of wine and would like to experience the best of California’s wines. This collection includes award-winning wines that and has received 90+ in ratings. These wines are often only available to club members. This wine club level is more expensive than the entry-level club but it gives you the chance to enjoy a sophisticated tasting experience. On this level, you will receive two bottles of wine a month.
  3. International wine club: This club offers the chance to try wines from around the globe. Enjoy three bottles of wine per month that include premium wines from some of the best international wine regions.
  4. Garagiste wine club: Garagiste is a French term that is used to describe independent winemakers who produce incredible wines from small-batch wineries. This club level provides two bottles of wines per month that are all but impossible to find elsewhere. This club promises a highly sought-after tasting experience.
  5. Pinot noir wine club: This club has been designed for those of you who are passionate about pinot noir! Receive two bottles every month of the most highly rated and awarded pinot noirs from around the world.
  6. Diamond wine club: This club offers you the best wines that are available. This club has been created for those with a developed palate who are passionate and knowledgeable about what they drink. Obviously, this is reflected in the price, but every quarter you will receive two bottles of wines that will provide the ultimate tasting experience.

The website and ordering process:

California wine club:

The California wine club has created a website that is user-friendly and easy to navigate. You will not have any problems with the subscribing and ordering process as it is very straight forward. To get your first order underway you need to choose your preferred plan and select the conditions that suit you best. These conditions include the type of wine, frequency of delivery, etc. Once you have created your account, you check out and wait for your wines to arrive. When we made our first order, we even got a phone call from their customer service department to check that we understand the process.

Once you have an online account you can change your plan, reorder wines, manage your favorite selections, create your tasting notes and have access to a personal wine consultant whenever you need.

Gold medal wine club:

The Gold Medal wine club website has been set up to be easy to navigate. With the Gold Medal wine club, you have the option to subscribe to their wine club or to make a one-off purchase. We thought this provided a great deal of flexibility for those who want to try the service. Each wine club level allows you to choose the regularity of your shipments. There is also the option to buy a delivery as a one-time purchase from their online store.

Once you have added your preferred wines to the cart you check out and wait for your wines to arrive.

Please be reminded that for any wine delivery you will need to have someone available who is 21+ to sign for the delivery.

California Wine Club Red Wine
The California Wine Club
gold medal international wine
The Gold Medal Wine Club

The wines:

California wine club:

With the California wine club, you will receive wines that are sourced from boutique family-operated wineries. California wine club is passionate about the fact that smaller operations produce the most interesting and enjoyable wines in the world. The portfolio of the California wine club includes almost 200 boutique wineries from the California wine region and from further afield. If you would like to have a look at the wines available, you can access their library of featured wines by clicking on the “about our club” tab on the website.

Gold Medal wine club:

The Gold Medal wine club only features wines that have gone through a very strict selection process. Wines must have received multiple awards at major competitions and high ratings from national wine publications. These publications include Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate which has over 50,000 subscribers in the US and readers in over 37 countries. Any wines that are included in the Gold Medal wine club offering must have received a score of 88+ points. The Garagiste wine club is the exception as most of the winemakers in this category have chosen not to have their wines rated. However, the team at the Gold Medal wine club consider

California Wine Club logo

Bottom Line:

At the Wine Club Review, we ensure we taste a range of wines from every wine club that we review. We enjoyed both our experiences with the California wine club and the Gold Medal wine club, but in every comparison, there needs to be a winner.

In this instance, our vote goes to the California wine club. We felt that the Gold Medal wine club is a wonderful wine club experience for those with bigger budgets and more refined tasting palates whereas the California wine club offers a wine club experience that is well suited to both novices and those with more sophisticated expectations. We loved their customer service and the fact that as a member, you always have access to personal wine consultants.