TCM Wine Club Overview
The TCM Wine Club is actually a partnership between the TCM TV channel (Turner Classic Movies) and a wine club service provider, known as Laithwaites, that operates wine clubs for numerous other companies as well. The thing that makes TCM wine club unique is that TCM is actually very involved in the wine selection process and each shipment has wines that have been paired explicitly with movies that will be airing on TV in the next couple of months after members receive their wine shipments.
So whether you are a classic wine lover or just would like to have a wine club that has a bit extra to offer, this is an excellent option if you are looking for an excellent value-priced wine club.
Your first shipment of wines will include three bonus wines that are movie-themed. Those wines rotate on a regular basis and are not always the same ones.
Our top 3 favorite wines in the first shipment we received were as follows:
- Café Zoetrope: A rich Cabernet Sauvignon from the acclaimed estate of Francis Ford Coppola
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents: A deliciously spicy Zinfandel
- Orson Welles Signature Selection: A smooth, complex and delightful Merlot
These wines were all better than what we were expecting, and we particularly liked Café Zoetrope. Typically we find that wines from the parent company of TCM Wine Club are easier-drinking and fruit-forward than similar wines that come from Spain, South America, and California.
From the very first minute that you open your box, you are fully immersed with the classic movie genre already by the collection of movie posters that are included. This can really set the stage for what’s ahead for us classic movie lovers.
How do the movie and wine pairings work?
Along with the bonus bottles that come in the introductory shipment, the additional shipments all contain wines that are paired with certain TCM movies that will be airing over the next quarter (TCM Wine Club shipments come once a quarter). These pairings are thematic (Spanish wine is paired with Don Juan, a Coppola winery wine is paired with The Godfather, etc.). Here’s an example:
Ratings of the TCM Wine Club
When it comes to our star ratings system, we take a very objective approach. Our written reviews are very subjective and based on our more than 15 years of writing wine club reviews, along with our own ideas on what good value means and what good wine is. Our star ratings are based on 11 characteristics that we believed define hat wine clubs really should be. The following shows how TCM Wine Club rates on those attributes.
Note: The rating is an objective analysis of the satisfaction guarantee of the TCM Wine Club – and not an assessment on whether or not you are guaranteed to like their wines.
We consider the satisfaction guarantee offered by the TCM Wine Club to be a 5-star one, because if you don’t like a bottle of wine you received from them, they will replace it with something that you will like. How awesome is that?!
Their website states in their guarantee that if any of their bottles fail to delight you, no matter what the reason is, then you just need to let them know and they will give you a full refund for them.
Quality of Wine
In our shipment, we receive a mixture of white and red wine. We liked a majority of the wines and several of them we thought were above average quality. The Jean Harlow Petite Sirah 2015 is one we didn’t like, but many people do like it. We were especially impressed with their white wines in their price range, and also found that the other reds were either unobjectionable or enjoyable.
TCM Wine Club provides in-box information on each of the wines that you get and also details food pairing suggestions, the region, the vintage, and wine – along with why the wine was paired with a certain movie!
The wines from TCM Wine Club are selected from a big selection of wines that come from Laithwaites Wine. The TCM Wine Club, as much as possible, curates wine to pair with its movies, so somebody other than Laithwaites is choosing the specific wines for the club. The one thing that we really liked about this club is the extra scrutiny that went into the wine selections.
Customer Service Record
Laithwaites Wine, the wine club provider, doesn’t have a great customer service record. There are two main types of complaints. 1) People do not understand that they are signing up for a subscription when ordering the introduction case at $79 – what you are signing up for is an ongoing membership, and they will be automatically charging your credit card every quarter until you cancel. 2) People didn’t cancel until after being told that their next shipment had been billed and prepared, but when it comes to those issues the terms of service is actually very clear:
It says that you will receive a reminder before the payment method is charged automatically and you will have 10 days notice at least to delay, change or skip selections (by phone or online). You are also able to cancel your membership at any time by contacting their customer service department.
These problems we chalk up to people not carefully reading the fine print or attempting to get a deal that is too good to be true and ignoring some of the other details. However, what we cannot ignore is the number of individuals who complain about missed or delayed shipments, in addition to shipments that are pared and also billed following cancellations. It is true that we are seeing much fewer complaints than in the past, but they still are coming in.
Price of Wine
The prices on TCM Wine Club wines are hard to fairly assess. Almost all of the wines that we received are produced or imported by Laithewaites Wine – the service provider of the TCM Wine Club. Generally, the wines are available from other wine clubs run by Laithwaites at the same prices that the TCM Wine Club charges.
The uniqueness of this Wine Club
TCM Wine Club, in some respect, is not that unique as their wines are also available with other clubs that Laithwaites manages, however, this is the only wine club that we aware of that pairs movie with wines, which makes it unique in this way. It is a very fun experience having movies thematically paired with wine, and does add some extra enjoyment to your movie nights.
There are three areas that we look at when we evaluate the discount opportunities that the wine club offers. Does the introductory offer make the wine club too hard to pass up? Are any discounts available for purchasing more of the wines in your shipments that you love? Are there any special discounts that are only available to their wine club members?
The introductory offer from the TCM Wine Club is outstanding! You get 12 bottles of wine, plus 3 bonus bottles of wine worth $54.97, all for $79.99! That means each bottle of wine only costs $5.33! That’s an introductory offer that’s hard to pass up 🙂
The subscription’s regular pricing is presented as being 20% off of regular prices. However, it must be said that it is difficult for us to really verify retail pricing. Other wine clubs with Laithwaites allow you to buy wines from their online stores without having a membership and in those cases, members receive 20% off of a total case value on every shipment. For members of the TCM Wine Club, they can do the same on the TCM Wine Club website.
What is used to mean with a personalized wine club was you chose the color of your wines and how frequently you got your shipments. It still does mean that with the TCM Wine Club, except you cannot really change your frequency of shipments (if you want you are able to skip shipments).
They do a really good job of educating you on where the wines are from and how they are made and why they were chosen to be paired with a certain movie. You won’t be disappointed here.
All of the standard conveniences that you would expect from a subscription box service come with the TCM Wine Club.
When it comes to gifting, the TCM Wine Club is not that great since the only thing that they offer is an ongoing subscription and no pre-paid gifts. It can make a nice gift for somebody you live with (such as your spouse) where you will get reminders of upcoming shipments and be able to cancel when you want to. With that said though, you could give the first shipment as a gift, but then you would have to remember to cancel before the 2nd shipment comes up.