Many wine lovers have at least heard of the Gold Medal Wine Club if they’re not already well acquainted with it. The Gold Medal Wine Club is a subscription-based service that sends its members one shipment of wine a month. These are specially chosen wines that focus on small batches and small wineries that are family-owned. In other words, they never deal with mass production, bulk wines, or private label wine.
This allows for a focus on extremely high quality, rarely known, and small batch productions that come from wineries that have the ability to really focus on interesting and delicious wine instead of dull mainstream flavors. Most (though not all) of the featured wines come from small boutique wineries in California or internationally. These are rarely sold in stores, and they are going to have multiple awards, medals, or ratings from the finest publications in the wine industry.
Our Complete Gold Medal Wine Club Reviews
In other words, each monthly shipment is going to be a delight. The focus here is introducing new high-quality award-winning wines from all around the world.
The Scoring & Rating System
This is always an important way to look at a membership program and see if it really holds up. There are several different things that we look at before scoring this out, and then we attempt to give an overall score as well as additional information to help you see if this wine club is perfect for you or not. So read on, and learn what the Gold Medal Wine Club has to offer you.
The Wine Selection: 10 out of 10
The selection is actually really good for the membership, and you do have options depending on what works best for you. Every club membership allows you to go with 4 bottles of wine or you can go with two. You also have the ability to decide what type you want whether all red, all white, or a blend of both. This is great versatility and as an added bonus you get 10% off if you go with 4 bottles a month as opposed to two. Each shipment comes with a booklet that gives you some notes, food pairing, and other information on each bottle of wine that is included.
If you want more, you can add their special “Plus! Program” feature. This add-on allows you to get a different bottle of wine each month that comes in addition to the rest of the order. These are the high-quality wines that the club wants to share, but there aren’t enough to go around, so this is how to get your hands on them.
There’s also an “Upper-Level Club” that brings in fine wines from famous wineries, as well as adding in a bit of champagne to the mix. Because of all these options, you have to really love the high score for selection options.
Membership Options: 10 out of 10
One of the things we love is the sheer variety of memberships that are available. More options is a good thing and means that more people will be able to find a fit that works for them. We were thrilled to find that the Gold Medal Wine Club features a remarkable six different membership options to choose from.
The Gold Series – The most popular option which focuses on smaller family-owned wineries that can be found in the state of California. This gives two bottles of quality & award-winning wines.
The Platinum Series Club – These are rarer wines that are made by some of the most famous and respected winemakers in California. All of the wines from this club have point ratings north of 90 points, and sometimes there are even exclusive options and pre-releases available only to this group.
The Garagiste Series Wine Club – This option is all about featuring small lot & “hand-crafted” wines from artisan winemakers. No big names here, only the independents, and the majority of bottles provided to this club have less than 1500 bottles made of each run. There are some Oregon & Washington wines here to add to the California selections.
The Pinot Noir Series – This one is pretty self-explanatory. This is for the Pinot Noir fans who only drink reds, and want to know what a limited run premium Pinot tastes like. These come not only from the States but also include international options.
The International Series Club – From around the world, this brings in 2 reds and 1 white per month, and all selections are high-quality international wines that are impossible to find domestically in the United States.
The Diamond Series Wine Club – Living up to the exclusive name, these wines are all 93+ points and include some very rare and legendary names. This club is limited to only 500 members at a time. If they’re full, you’re only option is to go on a waiting list until a spot opens up.
Looking at the Quality of Wine: 6 out of 10
So this was a bit of the blemish. In fairness, we all know that sometimes you get an errant bottle that didn’t age as well and there are differences in tastes and preferences, but even taking that into account, there seemed to be a gap between the awards, ratings, and the official recognition versus the quality of the wine that we actually tasted. In fairness, this also could have been a weak shipment that first exposed us to the membership, but it wasn’t putting the best foot forward to start.
This was the basic membership, but if you’re basic membership talks about being gold standard then you expect that. The reds weren’t as deep or complex as we hoped and were surprisingly acidic. Unpleasantly so. The white wine selection was better, but it wasn’t the stunning experience we were hoping for. That’s a little bit of a worry and while they weren’t terrible by any stretch, we do feel they were a little bit underwhelming.
How Do The Prices Compare? 9 out of 10
The standard Gold Medal Wine Club is at a very reasonable price. The price point is really good in comparison to the standard prices you expect for wine club memberships and the additional membership options allow a lot of adjustment based on your taste and budget. You can even choose how to pay: monthly, bi-monthly, or even quarterly. It is worth noting that for some of the high-end club options you do need to pay monthly, but you still have that pricing versatility.
The starting price points for each membership (ordered by price):
Gold Series – $39 per month
Pinot Noir Series – $74 per month
Garagiste Series – $75 per month
International Series – $75 per month
Platinum Series – $89 per month
Diamond Series – $179 and up
Packaging & Shipping Grade: 9 out of 10
There were no bulky crates, no sub-standard packaging. The wine actually arrived in a small slim box that was easy to pick up, easy to carry, and it was far more compact than we were used to seeing from other wine clubs. This made it much easier to pick up and move around, which also reduced the chance of an accident due to dropping the box. There were no identifying marks which some people would see as a positive and some as a negative so that’s a preference type of thing.
Each of the wines had a protective Styrofoam case that firmly fit around the bottles of wine within the box. This kept them from shifting, kept them protected, and meant something really seriously off would have to happen to damage the wine on the way to you. That type of reassurance is outstanding and lets you know that they take it seriously.
Wines sent as a gift are decorated with a small sachet bag which differs in color and design to match the style/color of the wine. That is great attention to detail and another bonus point to the packaging. The person sending the gift can include a little note, and you also receive some very well done little publications about the wine club as well as a bit of an informational advertisement for the wineries where the wine came from.
Best of all is the speed. Wine clubs are notorious for really, really slow shipping but in this case, shipping is actually pretty fast, and you can be sure that a shipment from the wine club whether an order or a gift will actually mail fairly quickly and be received quickly, as well.
Quality as a Gift: 10 points out of 10
These guys know how to make the gift look good. Whether you want to send a bottle of wine, a wine membership, or a wine accessory as a gift, they know how to do it well. You can set up one single shipment or set up an on-going shipment or membership. That versatility lets you really customize the gifts and helps you to customize the right gift setup with the recipient. The bottles come with sachet bags, and you can even choose additional gift packaging. Some of the options are basic, some are really fun, and you can send a personal message to add that extra special touch.
There are special gift sets available, as well. Price ranges vary so you can find some options that are relatively easy on the wallet while some others go a bit more costly. Plenty of featured pairings exist to add a little extra something special. Take a look at the wide range of accessories and gift sets, and you’ll be impressed, too.
This is one place where they really stick out compared to the competition.
Sizing Up the Customer Service: 6 points out of 10
This is another place where we were a bit let down. On the plus side, contact information is easy to find. You can find it on their social media pages, they make their 1-800 number really easy to call and find, as well as customer support e-mail, fax, and office address information, as well. That’s a lot of different options for contacting them, which is always a good thing and something we like to see on the customer service side.
There’s also a live chat option. That’s a fast response way to try to get questions answered, but unfortunately, this is one where it might work better in theory than in practice. The person we were connected within chat took a very long time to respond to questions, couldn’t give basic state shipping information, and at the end, we didn’t feel like our questions were answered or that we even knew why we couldn’t get the answer we wanted.
Customer service can be tricky since it only takes one bad hire having a lousy day to really sully your experience with a company, but the chat ended with the last question not being answered. Just ghosted – by customer service. This is never the way customer service should work, and that was definitely a rough experience to have. So much was done right, but the chat section of the customer service was a major black mark in our experience.
Reaching out to others, it seems like some of the other options just straight out work better and they had good experiences via phone or e-mail, but the chat definitely left something to be desired.
Who Is the Gold Medal Wine Club a Great Fit for?
Overall there were many more positives than negatives, and there are many people who are going to love the Gold Medal Wine Club absolutely. This is an excellent option for those wine drinkers who really enjoy experiencing the many options that come from lesser known, non-mass-produced, small batch wines. These wines all tend to be very highly rated, lesser known, hard to find, and thus offer an array of drinking experiences you might not find as often from mass-produced or well-known wineries or labels. The price points aren’t bad, but if you really enjoy your wine and want to experience everything they have to offer, then you will need to have some spending cash available to enjoy it all.
On the plus side, this is an absolutely great option for people who hate contracts, large membership fees, or long-term commitments. The flexible options here give plenty of room to wiggle when looking for the best match for yourself or as a gift. This is going to be an especially attractive choice for people who really like California based wine, but on the other side that also means if you’re not a fan then that can be a strike against their main offerings.
Sorting Out the Great from the Not Good
There were plenty of likes and dislikes. Right off the bat, we liked that they had plenty of options from California and international options. The variety that comes from six different club options (as well as add-ons) means that you should be able to find something that matches both your taste and budget.
The versatility in payment plans is another awesome bonus. Many clubs lock you into one single option when it comes to payment plans, but here you can pay as you go, pay monthly, pay bi-monthly, quarterly, or even pre-pay for longer periods of time. This is definitely an oddity when it comes to wine club memberships, and that wide array of options will be attractive. Flexibility is a great thing, and a flexible payment plan is a godsend for many of us who need to be very specific when it comes to planning out a budget.
Wine can be ordered a bottle at a time without having to commit to a membership, which is a definite plus. Featuring both a Wine Store and Wine Club gives even more options, and that open store option definitely sets them apart in a positive way since the overwhelming number of wine club memberships don’t do that.
Members also get to stay up to date with good newsletters, magazines, and more. There are even occasional sales or specials that really catch the eye and offer even more value.
On the negative, granted we had limited experience, but we really had hoped the base wines from the Gold Standard would have been a higher quality. They weren’t terrible by any means, but we really did expect more. The customer service via chat was awful in a way that was almost unforgivable. These could be isolated instances, but they’re the type of issues that can cause an otherwise great service to lose a lot of attention and a lot of business.
Gold Medal Wine Club Coupons and Promo Codes
From time to time, the Gold Medal Wine Club releases promo codes and coupons for us to exclusively use on our wine club review website. As those become available to us, well post them here.
Gold Medal Wine Club Discounts
One of the things that I really like about the Gold Medal Wine Club is that they provide serious discounts for their existing members that wish to reorder some of the wines they’ve received in their monthly shipments. Here’s just one of those discount examples where they emailed me and offered me the opportunity to reorder for up to 53% off. How awesome is that?!
So What’s the Final Verdict?
While there were a couple of obvious warts, overall the good definitely outweighs the bad when it comes to the Gold Medal Wine Club. The sheer number of membership options are great, the opportunity to discover little-known wines or hidden gems is huge and it’s hard to argue with the serious attention they put into gift packaging and quick shipping. Adding in food lists and even recipes that go great with each wine was a really amazing touch. The information on each wine and the wineries that produced it were always a great and fun read.
The customer service lapse was severe, and we hope for better wine in the future quality wise (once again understanding the one month sample might have just been an off month) but all in all this is worth giving a serious look.
Gold Medal Wine Club Review
Gold Medal Wine Club Review
The Gold Medal Wine Club is one of the Top 10 best wine clubs of the year. As you can see in our review, the wines you receive as a member of this wine club are some of the best we've ever had. These are 90+ point bottles of wine and the price is just right for a new wine club member.